Writer, Interviewer, & Producer: Kelsey Baker
Other Side Drive Producer: Shannon Williams
Editor: Adam M. Cook
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
The Detroit duo met in 2009 and began as a basement project with few intensions of reaching the public. Three EP’s and two albums later, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has just wrapped up their fall tour opening for Atlas Genius and Family of the Year to promote The Speed of Things. Co-founder and singer Daniel Zott spoke with Other Side Drive in reflection of their fall tour and the unforeseen adornment that followed.
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So y’all just finished up your tour with Altas Genius and Family of the Year. How did that go for y’all?
Zott: It was a unique experience, we played to a lot younger crowd, and it a lot of screaming and clapping and wanting autographs and that was fun. It’s just you’re touching kids at a special moment where they’re starting to go to shows and decide what kind of music they like for themselves. I think it’s kind of cool to experience that.
You were just talking about the experiences going to shows and how that can make a huge impact on you as a younger kid. What live performance inspired you to pursue what you’re doing now?
Zott: I know there was one that I went to that stuck in my mind; not the best thing in the world. But do you remember the band Tonic? So I saw them on their first tour for their first record, it’s called Lemon Parade or something. I don’t remember even thinking it was that great of music, but it was really cool to see a band come out, and all the lights were off, and all I saw was the lead guitarist, that was the only light that you could see. And then you saw him, and then all of a sudden they just rocked right into the first song and all the lights came on. And I remember thinking, “Man that was so powerful. I wanna do things like that.” I thought it was the epitome of cool and music performance, but it was probably not even close. To think that maybe we have some of those moments for kids is a really special thing.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release, The Speed of Things?
Zott: We’re excited about this record, it came out in October. And I think it’s slowly building some momentum. We just released the second single called “Run”, and the music video just went online, and we think it’s the best thing we’ve made yet. We’re hoping that it’s for a good gradual growth. I think a lot of our success comes from our live shows, so hopefully when people see us they’ll start giving the record more and more of a chance.
You guys will be touring with Chad Valley starting in February. Will you guys be sharing any new material or just going to be promoting The Speed of Things and some other works in the past?
Zott: We actually are about to come out with a mix tape. We had some fun over the summer compiling some beats that we’ve made, and getting, whether it was R&B singers, or rappers, or anyone that we kind of always wanted to work with, we called them up and we said, “Hey, we’ve got a track.” So we ended up making a mix tape with a pretty decent list of rappers and old-school R&B singers. And I think we’re gonna try to play a couple of those on the road as well.
I know that starting in February y’all are going to be making your way down to Austin. Have y’all played in Austin before?
Zott: We actually stayed in Austin for a whole week, and we went to the Alamo Drafthouse where we got to pick out a movie and watch it with our fans. We found Jurassic Park on an actual film, and so we watched Jurassic Park and answered questions about why we love Jurassic Park. It was so much fun! I mean there’s so many things, like the weather, it’s so much better in Austin than in Detroit. There’s a lot of young people doing different things. It’s a city that has a lot of life to it. It’s probably my favorite city besides Detroit, to be honest. So it’s almost a home away from home for us.