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Coming into the studio, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. held a visible energy from the rush of the recent release of their second full-length album, The Speed Of Things. The band always offers a fresh genre-bending sound on record, but the songs lend themselves to new experience live.
Band members Joshua Epstein, Daniel Zott, Mike Higgins, and Jon Visger offered three new songs, “Dark Water,” “Knock Louder,” and “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor),” giving the station a listen to this full, yet delicate, take on the new tracks. As the set began with “Dark Water,” Visger’s voice wavered with heartfelt flow through the chorus and the harmonies that followed. Hearing the backing vocals chime with the rich layer of piano was something that lent this soulful organic feel.
As Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. continue to piece together such unique melds of rhythm and melody, the band credits much of the musical style to the influence of their home city, Detroit. “It’s not pressure; it’s a pride thing. That has influenced us to have the confidence to do whatever we want to do and to not feel like you have to fit in. It also influences the songs that we write in a melodic sense, coming from Motown where everything is melodic, beautiful, and well crafted, it’s a high goal for us, and we can’t escape it, to make that because it is what we listened to growing up and we’re from there,” Zott said.
The band also takes their performance as an opportunity for a conscious creative outlet. Their movements while playing tend to be a little more animated than most, and amidst Dale Earnhardt’s set at WERS, members Daniel Zott and Jon Visger traded their positions on drums and piano. The alternation between instruments is actually a big component of the band’s philosophy as performers. Care is taken into consideration of every aspect of their show.
“We’re very intentional about this part being played by this person, so that people can see you playing it and we want it to be very interactive, we want it to be visual in a lot of ways and not just us standing up there getting through it. We want it to be engaging. We think about that a lot,” Zott said.
Between the style and band member’s perspective of each song, the music is personal and intricate, but there is always humor taken with it all. “When you make music, it can be a different part of your brain and body when you’re creating it, but I think a lot of what happens when with us when we go off to play is we interact with a different part of our brain aside because you need to be entertaining, you need to put on a show. It’s not good enough just to make the music that people are going to come see you play, so we use playing out as a platform to be more fun and not so serious.”