Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. crosses genres and hones their production chops in the process.
Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have been busy. The duo, that comprises Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., have released two albums, three EPs and one “mixtape,” since they appeared on the indie-pop seen in July 2010. With more facets to display and sounds to explore, they’re no where near through.
“We make music constantly,” says Zott. “In our recent release, we wanted to reach other fans and others artists.”
Produce Volume 1 was released last week for free download and streaming on Orange Mixtapes.com. It features several rappers and swirls samples of 60s and 90s eras tunes with voices of 80’s films past.
“We want to put our name out their as producers, in addition to songwriters,” proclaims Zott, “and we had some ideas of people we wanted to work with.”
Among their collaborators is 90s R&B crooner Slim, formerly of 112. Produce Volume 1 marks Jr. Jr.’s trek from dreamy pop into lush hip hop.
“A lot of our songs are beat driven,” Zott adds. “It wasn’t like all of a sudden we wanted to do hip-hop. It felt like a natural progression, and we figured we’d continue to produce different tracks and let different rappers and singers join.”
Although they might be in a new sandbox, the Detroit duo are still playing with the same toysÂ and expressing their influence from intricately balanced pop productions, like The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.
“There’s this line [The Beach Boys] walk,” he explains. “They used simple chords, but with complex key signatures and time changes. And people attached themselves to the lyrics and melody. How did they balance that? It’s something we want to bring back.”
After the challenge of deciphering their influencers’ tricks, the next obstacle to overcome was translating the energy of their albums to a live performance. New components in drummer, Mike Higgens and bassist, Jon Visger added another layer to a sound they’re excited to bring to fans.
“We spent a lot of time on it. Between [Higgens and Visger], Josh and myself, we sound bigger andÂ we’ve mastered the intensity of our records.”
The embarkment to producer level doesn’t mean a trickled down, karaoke performance, but using that knowledge and technology to put on the best show possible.
“We’re animated and we want people to see us making these beats and loopsÂ – it’s what makes us unique.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. plays at The Grog Shop onÂ Thursday, February 13.
Check out their website atÂ www.DaleEarnhardtJrJr.com.