Posts Tagged ‘Music Festivals’

Musical Risk | An Interview with Jason Hann of EOTO

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Musical Risk – An Interview with Jason Hann of EOTO

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward []


Thanks to Danny Lithin for the photograph!  Your work is amazing stuff!

Crisscrossing the country like an out-of-control game of cat’s cradle, EOTO, fronted by String Cheese Incident dynamic-duo Michael Travis (bass/guitar/keyboards) and Jason Hann (drums/percussion), is a live all-improvisational electronica project in pursuit of making obstacles into opportunities within a genre vastly diluted and often over-saturated.

Coming to fruition during late-night experimental jam sessions at Travis’ humble abode, the idea soon snowballed amid a youthful curiosity each had with the latest technology and pioneering acts emerging from the depths of the underground scene.

With over 600 start-from-scratch performances under their belt during the last four years, Travis and Hann still found enough time to release three studio albums (Elephants Only Talk Occasionally (2006), Razed (2008), Fire the Lazers!!! (2009)) and two compilations (K-Turns & U-Turns Vol. 1: Fall Tour Complilation 2008 (2009), K-Turns & U-Turns Vol. 2: Best of 2009 (2010)).

Baring witness to them recently at the Nateva Music Festival, I was awestruck: “The calming, yet claustrophobic electronica presence of EOTO pulls eyes wide open, in awe of a glimpse of not only possibility and grandeur, but also the evolution of mankind. Their futuristic beats, paying homage to our ancestors, echo off sacred land with a howl to creation and its greatest assets- humanity, rhythm, and dance.

Garret K. Woodward: What is EOTO?

Jason Hann: An all-live and all-improvised electronica band made up of [myself] and Michael Travis. We play electronic club music, going through styles such as dubstep, electro, and house.

GKW: What does improvisational music mean to you?

JH: The musical equivalent of jumping off a cliff and seeing where you end up. Musical risk.

GKW: What was your first encounter with improvisational music? When was the first time you yourself played improvisational music?

JH: I’ve seen my dad play improvised music since I was able to comprehend stuff. I was around 11 when I remember trying to make anything up in the context of a performance.

GKW: What influence did electonica have on the String Cheese Incident?

JH: Seems like it’s been around since Kang and Travis have been going to Burning Man. That was some of the inspiration for introducing acts like STS9 and Bassnectar to a larger jam-band audience. There are definitely some SCI songs like “Rivertrance”, “Valley of the Jig”, and “Bump and Reel” that are electronic inspired. Many jams from songs like “Big Shoes” and “Desert Dawn” lean towards an electronica vibe.

GKW: What influence does the String Cheese Incident have on EOTO?

JH: Creating an atmosphere where people from all different backgrounds can gather to rage it together.

GKW: What lured you towards an electronica project? What do you love about electronica?

JH: When we would do late-night jams at Travis’ house, we set up all sorts of different things to play as a duo and just have fun. Eventually Travis started using some looping pedals that he had and it felt better to play electronic grooves against them. I suggested this program called Ableton Live, which gives you so much control over each looped track. Once we started diving into that, it gave us inspiration to try and play as a live project.

GKW: How does the dynamic of only two members affect the band’s approach? Will it always be two members?

JH: It will always be two members. It works so good having Travis be in charge of the harmonic information and me being in charge of the rhythmic information. We don’t have to signal each other for key changes or groove changes, only tempo changes. This lets us listen to each other while diving into our own worlds of gear and moving on to new themes at a good pace. It’s all about the pace.

GKW: EOTO started as a side project, but now has taken on a life of its own. Did you intent for it to get as big and as hectic of a never-ending tour as its become?

JH: We were hurting when we first played out. We weren’t very good and we didn’t have a distinct sound. We tried to imitate acts like STS9, Tipper, and Bassnectar as we liked their music and that was the scene we wanted to reach out to. When we first played, there weren’t that many people that showed up to check us out. Of those people, lots of them were curious SCI fans that were turned off by seeing a laptop on stage, and, again, we weren’t very good. We didn’t have our publicity together so we weren’t getting the word out very well eithter. We knew that the only way for us to get better and create our own crowd was to just keep touring and play every night. 600 plus shows later, in four years, we feel like we found our sound and our audience and still have a hunger to get better and keep evolving.

GKW: It seems you will play anywhere, anytime. I look at the tour itinerary and it’s literally every venue from coast to coast. Why do you prefer a tour schedule like that? What do you like about playing these little known or off-the-beaten-path venues?

JH: We realize we evolve faster the more we play. After two weeks of playing every night, we’re going to sound different. Many people comment after seeing us at the beginning of a tour and at the end of a tour and notice all of the new things we’ve incorporated into our sound. Playing the off-the-beaten-path venues are great because it becomes an x-factor for us. Usually those places don’t have bands come through all of the time, so the people that know about it are more excited to spread the word so that some kind of scene can come from the opportunity. That usually creates an explosive vibe from note one. Playing places like Aberdeen, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota and Oklahoma City and Key West have been some of our most frenzied shows.

GKW: What do you like about playing a small venue? What about playing a late-night set at a festival?

JH: Small venues with a decent sound system is more the category we like. When the sound is good, it doesn’t matter where we’re playing, we’re usually able to get off on that. Late-night festival action is just such a party waiting to happen. People have been raging but the late-night is where they get everything else out. That’s usually where they empty the tank before sleeping. If you do a good show, it comes back to you tenfold.

GKW: What’s on the horizon for you guys?

JH: New recordings and hopefully expanding our regular tour scenario oversees to Japan, Europe, and South America.

GKW: What affect does EOTO have on the future of the String Cheese Incident?

JH: Not as much from the touring standpoint. From a musical standpoint, some of the jams may want to go into some of the styles that we cover in EOTO. Not like we’re trying to do more of it in the course of a a night, but when we do, it may take on a different flavor.

GKW: How do you stay relevant in the electronica industry, an industry which is often overrun and sometimes a very diluted genre?

JH: That’s the best part about improvising live. Electronic music is pretty disposable. There are very few songs that retain a life of more than a few years or even a few months. When we’re improvising, we’re putting out music in a rapid fire way that is inspired by what we’re listening to at the time. When we first heard dubstep, we tried it the next show we played. As long as we keep our ears open and keep developing our own sound, we stay more relevant than a producer who may not feel comfortable producing anything out of his or her style at the time.

GKW: What’s going through your head when your onstage, in that sweaty, chaotically climatic musical moment?

JH: I’m thinking, “What’s the next thing we can do to make the people dance harder?”, “What’s the next transition that’s going make people lose their minds?”, “What’s the next groove that’s gonna keep the people going?”.

GKW: What’s you state of mind right now?

JH: Anticipation

PITCHFORK Music Festival

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival Announces Lineup Updates and Festival Activities; Sunday Tickets Almost Gone!

The 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival, celebrating its 5th Anniversary, is being held July 16 – July 18 at Chicago’s Union Park, and this year is primed to be the best ever. The festival is proud to announce the addition of the Jonathan Richman-inspired, summery pop of Sonny & The Sunsets, set to fill the spot left vacant by the unfortunate cancellation of jj.

Also, those who have not purchased their tickets yet should do so, as Sunday tickets are almost gone. To miss Pavement’s lone announced Chicago appearance could be a mistake that could haunt one for the rest of their days. Purchase single-day tickets here:

Those who have attended PMF in previous years can attest that the festival is never JUST about the music. Apart from being one of the most affordable and green-friendly festivals in the country, it also proudly acts as a showcase for some of Chicago’s best retailers and artisans.


– CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights

The Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) Record Fair & Other Delights is a can’t-miss event for music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts from around the country. Bringing you the best selection of vinyl and CDs to be found under one tent, vendors offer everything from rock and pop to psychedelia and folk, soul and jazz to country and international, house and hip-hop to rockabilly and R&B, and even more!

– Coterie

At Coterie Chicago, you will find handmade goods created by a skilled artisan workforce committed to providing cutting-edge art, style, and accessories that enhance your life. Buying directly from the maker creates a heightened sense of community, and now, more than ever, buying products from local artists and makers puts you at the forefront of real, lasting economic and creative stimulus.

– FLATSTOCK presented by API

The FLATSTOCK poster show series, presented by the American Poster Institute (API), is an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring the work of many of the most popular concert poster artists working today. The FLATSTOCK shows provide the public with opportunities to see fine poster art in person and to meet the artists who’ve created it, while showcasing the breadth of individual styles they represent. Since beginning in 2003, Flatstock has presented events in the U.S. and Europe and has become the epicenter of the current phenomenon in handmade poster art.

– Rock for Kids

Rock For Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free music instruction to underprivileged children in the Chicago area. The Rock For Kids booth features a variety of ways for concert goers to learn more about Rock For Kids and support their mission, including an auction of unique items from your favorite Pitchfork artists.

The 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival Lineup:


Modest Mouse

Broken Social Scene




The Tallest Man on Earth

Sharon Van Etten


LCD Soundsystem

Panda Bear

Wolf Parade

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion


Titus Andronicus



Real Estate

Bear In Heaven

Free Energy

The Smith Westerns


Kurt Vile

Freddie Gibbs

Sonny & The Sunsets **




Big Boi

Major Lazer

St. Vincent

Lightning Bolt

Beach House


Sleigh Bells

Neon Indian

Cass McCombs

Here We Go Magic

Surfer Blood

Local Natives

Washed Out

Best Coast



** new addition

Set times will be published mid-June.

About the Pitchfork Music Festival:

The Pitchfork Music Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year at Union Park in Chicago. The three-day event will once again showcase a variety of cutting-edge, global performers on three stages in one of the most comfortable and positive festival environments in the country, all brought to fans at a fraction of the price of any other nationally renowned music festival. In previous years, the Pitchfork Music Festival has provided a diverse audience the opportunity to see performances by some of the world’s most innovative and flourishing young acts, often acting as a barometer for what will be popular in the coming years, while also presenting a wide range of internationally renowned and beloved acts.

An independently run, consistently sold-out event, the Pitchfork Music Festival attracts 50,000 fans of all ages from 45 states and 11 countries. In addition to presenting an outstanding musical line-up at a reasonable price, the festival also offers a vast array of other activities for attendees to enjoy. With 50 individual vendors, as well as specialty fairs, the fest not only supports local businesses and the local economy, but also promotes the Chicago arts community as a whole.

Pitchfork Media is the premier destination for music criticism, news, features, and audio/video content. With more than 2 million unique readers per month and over 25 million page views, Pitchfork has earned one of the internet’s most loyal followings and a reputation as the music world’s primary tastemaker.

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt2 | RFWtv

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This is TheRFW.COM’s footage and interview archive from Rothbury Music Festival 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan. Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM and for the release off all the footage. We will be releasing a three part series consisting of two videos per part. This is part Two, including footage and interviews from The Dead, Toubab Krewe, Hill Country Review, Matisyahu, Martin Sexton and The Macpodz .  Each part of our Rothbury 2009 series totals at under one hour.  For that reason, below you can find the time markers of each particular performance and/or interview (you might want to fast forward :-)  Artists covered in the remaining parts include Ani DiFranco,  Gift of Gab , Cold War Kids, RRE, Future Rock and many more.

Please Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM for more releases ……

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt2 Time Markers

The Dead – 01:15

Toubab Krewe (Interview and Performance) – 13:20

Hill Country Review (Interview and Performance) -30:50

Matisyahu – 37:00

Martin Sexton -44:20

The Macpodz – 51:42

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt1(1/2)|RFWtv

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

This is TheRFW.COM’s footage and interview archive from Rothbury Music Festival 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan. Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM and for the release off all the footage. We will be releasing a three part series consisting of two videos per part. This is part 1/2 of One, including footage and interviews from Brett Dennen, Les Claypool and The Black Crowes. Artists covered in the remaining parts include Pretty Lights, Ani DiFranco, Matisyahu, Gift of Gab , Cold War Kids, RRE, Toubab Krewe, Future Rock and many more.

Please Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM for more releases ……


FUTURE ROCK at Camp Bisco 2008

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Originally published October 22, 2008

The band Future Rock talks with RFWtv about their sound, future and new album at the 2008 Camp Bisco music festival.