Jason Hann on EOTO’s Bass Invaders Tour
The launch of EOTO’s newly designed interactive digital lotus stage for the band’s just launched “Bass Invaders” tour elevates electronic music stage shows to a whole new level. EOTO sprang forth eight years ago as a fully improvised hybrid of electronic / live instrument side project between String Cheese Incident’s Jason Hann and Michael Travis. We had a chance to catch up with drummer & percussionist Jason Hann in advance of EOTO’s north american tour and asked about the breathtaking new stage design and gain a little insight into the inner workings of this groundbreaking musical duo.
Dutch Seyfarth: Has the music equipment that EOTO uses on stage changed over the years?
Jason Hann: Yes, quite a bit. When we first started, we only used one computer; Travis had one micro Korg keyboard and a guitar – now he has three keyboards, guitar, bass, and several MIDI controllers. I started with an acoustic drum set, a djembe, and a small MIDI drum controller – now I have three touch screens and a vocal microphone. We both have added many custom effects to our software, and now there are four computers onstage to handle the work load. One for Travis, one for me (both running Ableton Live and MIDI synced together), Travis uses another one to run Reason, and we use the fourth one to record every show.
DS: Mac or PC? And why?
JH: Mac all the way. I’ve been using them since 1995 and their performance has been stellar on stage. We haven’t really had a reason to try anything else.
DS: How dependent on computers and software is an EOTO live show?
JH: It is how we do what we do. It is our main instrument. Our ability to play into it, record ourselves live, mix ourselves on the fly, monitor our sound on stage, and customize our sound is all because of the computer and software. To be a two person band and improvise every night and create a big sound is really made possible by being good at playing our instruments and playing the computer like another instrument.
DS: Both of you hail from live instrument backgrounds with String Cheese Incident so why the decision to explore electronically created music?
JH: It continues the journey of playing live, and allows us to improvise even more in front of a new generation of music lovers who find electronic music to be the music of their generation. Some people think that because we play electronic music that we’ve abandoned playing live. If anything, we play way more live and in the moment, as we’re forced to entertain the audience by having to make up all of our music on the spot. We don’t have any songs to fall back on. We just jump into it, feed off of the energy of the audience, and see what happens.
DS: How integral is the new digitally lighted Lotus Flower stage set with the music for the upcoming tour?
JH: It is a fully encompassing show for the senses. We play inside of the Lotus structure and the audience is treated to an amazing visual feast of textures and animation to go along with our sonic playground. Our VJ, Zebbler (of Shpongletron fame) has bunches of scenes that he can play with as the music goes by. Throughout the night, the Lotus takes on all different kinds of characteristics – ice, alien skin, humans trying to break out of it, underwater submarine, transparent space craft. He also has it set up so that there are certain visuals that react with our music in the moment. Most other shows will sync to prerecorded music and maybe just change the order of the songs night to night. Zebbler reacts to our nightly improvisational quest and changes his show every night to fit what we’re doing at the time.
DS: It’s one thing to dream up a stage that resembles a lotus flower but I’m sure a whole other thing to actually build one. Who gets credit for taking the new stage design from drawing board to reality?
JH: Blake Courtney out of Boston. We knew how high we wanted it, and he took the drawing into his fortress and dove in. He’s responsible for making a lot of the sculptures out a Burning Man and has made custom stages there, and at Ultra Music fest for acts like Bassnectar.
DS: If you could play a show anywhere in the world on this upcoming tour, where would that be and why?
JH: The underwater city of Atlantis (not the resort in the Bahamas). An audience of dolphins, squids, whales, and water breathing humanoids? F**k yeah!!
EOTO’s Bass Invaders Tour
3/24/2012 El Ray Theatre Los Angeles, CA W/ Bluetech and Pumpkin
3/31/2012 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA W/ Shpongle and Phutureprimitive
4/1/2012 Mr. Smalls Theatre Millvale, PA W/ Kraddy
4/2/2012 Vogue Theatre Indianapolis, IN W/ Kraddy
4/3/2012 The Canopy Club Urbana, IL W/ Kraddy
4/4/2012 Exit/In Nashville, TN W/ Kraddy
4/5/2012 Track 29 Chattanooga, TN W/ Kraddy
4/6/2012 Georgia Theatre Athens, GA W/ Kraddy
4/7/2012 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte, NC W/ Kraddy
4/9/2012 The Jefferson Theatre Charlottesville, VA W/ Kraddy
4/10/2012 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC W/ Kraddy
4/11/2012 Music Farm Charleston, SC W/ Kraddy
4/12/2012 The Orange Peel Asheville, NC W/ Kraddy
4/13/2012 The Jewish Mother Virginia Beach, VA W/ Kraddy
4/14/2012 McDowell Mountain Music Fest Phoenix, AZ
4/17/2012 The Blind Tiger Greensboro, NC W/ Kraddy
4/18/2012 9:30 Club Washington, DC W/ Shpongle and Phutureprimitive
4/19/2012 Wanee Festival Live Oak, FL
4/19/2012 The State Theatre State College, PA W/ Kraddy
4/20/2012 Roseland Ballroom New York, NY With Shpongle
4/22/2012 The Clazel Theater Bowling Green, OH W/ Kraddy
4/23/2012 Headliners Music Hall Louisville, KY W/ Kraddy
4/24/2012 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH W/ Kraddy
4/25/2012 The Kent Stage Kent, OH W/ Kraddy
4/26/2012 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY W/ Kraddy
4/27/2012 Nocturnal Wonderland Rockdale, TX
4/28/2012 The National Richmond, VA W/ Kraddy
5/1/2012 Revolution Music Room Little Rock, AR W/ Kraddy
5/2/2012 Zydeco Birmingham, AL W/ Kraddy
5/3/2012 Republic New Orleans, LA W/ Kraddy
5/4/2012 THe Lyric Oxford Oxford, MS W/ Kraddy
5/5/2012 The Manifestation Celebration Dallas, TX
5/6/2012 Will Rogers Theater Oklahoma City, OK W/ Kraddy
5/25/2012 Summer Camp Music Festival Chillicothe, IL
5/31/2012 Wakarusa Music Festival Ozark, AR
5/31/2012 Mountain Jam Hunter Mountain, NY
6/28/2012 Electric Forest Music Festival Rothbury, MI
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