While instrumental music continues to learn from the electronic genre, one band seems to be referenced almost constantly. With their improv-breakbeat-dubstep drum and bass, EOTO brings music goers together from a wide array of musical tastes and backgrounds.
EOTO got their start in 2006 when Jason Hann and Michael Travis began experimenting live with their love of electronic music. Both had met and been playing together since 1996 and both had previous fame as drummers for String Cheese Incident. As EOTO however, they took off and continue to be recognized for their fresh efforts, which are a step away from what they have been recognized for previously.
Somehow they fall into the category of electronic but every loop that is heard has been created on the stage by one of the two musicians, as they use no pre-recorded sounds during their shows. Live, EOTO is the party vibe of a DJ created by organic instruments and looping technology.
They continue to tour relentlessly around the country playing their live-tronica at festivals and packed clubs. Each show on its own is an experience that will musically only happen once, as what they do involves improvisation in almost every way.
EOTO plays everywhere and almost all the time and if you haven’t checked them out yet: you should probably check their schedule to figure out when you can see them. If you live near Aspen your next chance will be next Thursday March 14 at the Belly Up.
Their name is actually an acronym Travis came up with which stands for “End of Time Observatory.”
“The meaning just felt like a reflection of being in a world where there are so many other dimensions going on that you don’t even feel time as a separate dimension,” Hann told Independent Philly last month. “Accessing the time dimension seems trivial.”
The sound they are going for wants to approach these other dimensions. When they started jamming together they had no future goals to play together live but when they heard back what they sounded like when they were trying to emulate electronic dance music, they loved what they heard and felt their all night jam sessions would translate well to an electronic music scene.
On stage they play live drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals which then are mixed and remixed before being sampled all on the fly using state of the art looping programs to create funky electronic improv.
“It was just two of us but knowing that we could play for hours and hours on end, gave us the confidence to know that we could do that night after night and just make stuff up,” says Hann. “It was really hard at first, we didn’t fully realize what we were taking on, but we really learned how to work through any kind of writer’s block, or player’s block.”
While they have three studio albums and their last album came out way back in 2009, they do not have plans to release another album. They would rather spend the time focusing on their live shows and releasing those. They are afraid that with their busy schedules making an album would feel more forced than fluid.
“Live, we feel like we’re just exploring all the time so there’s a lot of satisfaction when we put out a live recording,” says Hann. “Where you can really see the enrichment of our development.”
Hann and Travis have not had much of a break in years because they have been either touring with String Cheese or EOTO on a never-ending schedule. Their signature is beats and bass when they play with EOTO and they are able to somehow stay unique in a genre that can often become repetitive.
John Zelazny is coming to terms with the fact that he can’t remember every article he has ever written. He appreciates your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org .