The Way Live Should Be

Your source for show and CD reviews, festival previews, and interviews with your favorite artists playing around New England and beyond!

Interview with Jason Hann of EOTO!

“Consisting of Michael Travis and Jason Hann, the duo mixes the organic sounds of live drums, bass and guitar through a variety of programs and gadgets to create a style of music that is more likely found in a dance club, than a live music theater. What sets EOTO apart from other artists in this emerging genre is how the music is created. While some artists may spend hours pre-mixing samples and elements of music for their live show, EOTO uses nothing pre-recorded, giving them the ability to approach each song with on-the-spot spontaneity and 100% live improvisation.”
Above was taken from EOTO’s publicity website: http: http://www.tsunamipublicity.com/epk08/EOTO/eoto_epk_08.html

“If I suspended disbelief, I could damn near believe this duo was a conduit for divine energies, holding down some seriously sacred vibes while still getting me deeper in my own embodied groove”
-Michael Garfield, Colorado Music Board CD Review, January 2010

EOTO will be gracing us with their presence at The Dime in Old Town, ME on May 9th! When we received the news, we figured it was a good idea to take a closer look at what EOTO is all about…

WLSB: So, how did you ease into the transition from the rootsy bluegrass and jamband style of String Cheese Incident into the electro-type scene?

Jason Hann: Well, it wasn’t easy, and honestly was a bit difficult and painful. String Cheese had such a huge following, and that type of following was really one of the best. When we first started playing shows as EOTO, it was for much smaller crowds. People were coming out basically because it was a String Cheese side-project, everyone was wondering what we were going to do. Myspace was still kind of a big thing at the time, so we were hoping that it would take off on there, but that didn’t really happen. We then started to focus in on really promoting to the electronic audience. It definitely took a while but we’ve gathered a larger, more diverse crowd over time. The age group we tend to attract is from 17-22.

WLSB: How long have you and Travis been playing together in this style?

JH: It started a while back as basically something to do after String Cheese practice. Travis and I would set various instruments up after practice and would end up playing until 4 or 5 in the morning. It was just fun and there was no pressure. Travis then started working with looping pedals to make things more interesting. We started feeling that the electronic grooves really worked out for what we were doing, and it kind of just went from there.

WLSB: What instruments and devices are typically used up on stage?

JH: We’ll generally have bass, guitar, percussion, keys, vocals, drums, electronic percussion, and we both have laptops to control a lot of what’s going on. We also use the computer program Ableton Live.

WLSB: How does the strictly improvisational factor of your music work out? Do you practice improv?

JH: We don’t really practice anymore, mainly because we are playing so often. But there are different sounds that we’ll experiment with, and if we like it, we’ll usually work it out at home before we take it on the stage.

WLSB: Do you end songs, or is it more of a constant flow throughout the evening?

JH: The show is a lot like seeing a DJ set, so you generally get one thing into the next. At the very end of the show though, we try to slow it down a bit and ease into an ending and close out the evening.

WLSB: Does your improv style ever lead to any covers? If so, do you shy away from it or go with it?

JH: We might hint at songs sometimes, but never really do full out covers. Jump by Van Halen has come up a couple times, but that’s one of the few songs that we’ll jam on for a bit.

WLSB: Does EOTO typically do any on stage collaborations with other bands or performers?

JH: We’ve had a lot of guests up on stage with us. The guys from Umphrey’s Mcgee have sat in with us before. We’ve had anything from cello players to rappers, as well as a couple of the guys from String Cheese Incident, and the percussionist from Stomp.

WLSB: How long until you guys felt comfortable just going up and doing your thing?

JH: It was probably about a year before we took it live. But our first show was like that. There was a lot to work out, so the next couple years were spent working things out and getting a feel for all the technology we were using.

WLSB: How would you describe your relationship with Travis up on stage? Did it take a lot of work to get to this point musically?

JH: When we started off, we would kind of talk to each other and use hand signals to let the other know what we wanted to do stylistically, faster or slower tempo, or what’s next. By now we’ve played over 600+ shows, so we can usually hear what the other person’s doing and read body language pretty well.

WLSB: What are some of your current influences?

JH: SPL, DJ Tipper, Rusko, Shpongle, and Bassnectar to name a few.

WLSB: Has EOTO ever played a seated show?

JH: We did a workshop at High Sierra, and played places with seats or had people sitting on the ground, but never a full out seated show. That’s a whole other world..

WLSB: Do you tend to tap into the vibe of the audience, and does that affect the styles in which you play?

JH: It’s definitely a bit of give and take in that regard. If we feel the audience is craving the dubstep, we try to give them that. We give it some time, and then when we think the audience is comfortable with what we’re doing we tend to take the lead, going from genre to genre.

WLSB: How does EOTO keep it sounding new and different? Do you tend to naturally fall back into certain grooves with beats and sounds you each prefer?

JH: There are certain sounds that seem to keep coming up in our shows, but the nature that we’re improvising everything kind of weeds it out. There are certain themes that will come up during shows. We have a drum themed thing we like to do, and some other one’s as well.

WLSB: What do you think this type of music has to offer to the music scene as a whole?

JH: Oh, wow. Let’s see…I’d say it’s really about dancing as much as possible, as hard as you can. You don’t have to be the most urbanite, the most hippie, or any of that. It’s really light in that regard, and everyone can share the same space and just get down together. It shows what improvisational music can really be. We’re just doing our own thing and that overall experience covers a lot of ground.

Thanks again to Jason Hann for putting aside some time for us! For those who haven’t had the chance to listen to EOTO, you can check out some of their shows at http://www.livedownloads.com
Get your tickets for EOTO May 9th at The Dime Bar! It’s going to be one crazy dance party.

Keep in mind, local musicians Lost Between Sound will be opening downstairs from 7-9, and Lqd Chrch upstairs from 9-10 before EOTO!

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