When thinking about Detroit music, its legend lives in the realm of Motown. Younger generations, however, were first acquainted with the sonic city through newer artists like Jack White and Eminem in the early aughts. In more recent years, the city has faced an unfair amount of economic turmoil, and sensational media has convinced outsiders that it has reached a state of paralysis. But as history has shown us, with great despair comes even greater creativity. A byproduct of this young and thriving Detroit music scene is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., a group who released their sophomore album The Speed Of Things onto the world back in October. We caught up with the duo of Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott during our recent session shoot, and learned of the great influence their home city has had on their latest musical creations.
The diversity of Detroit's musical history has had an enormous impact on the culture of its current community. "One of the things coming from Detroit is a confidence that seeps into the music when you're being creative," explained Zott. "You don't really care what anyone else thinks because there's no cool scene to fit into, so you can exist in your own little world in Detroit."
In having their own 'little world' Epstein and Zott have successfully created their own unique sound. It's an incomparable mingling of multiple classic genres that when combined form something entirely original; a characteristic that's rarely attributed to modern pop music. And revolutionizing pop is precisely what Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. aspires to do.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff in the pop world but there's also a lot of fabricated," said Epstein. " It's always been that way but if we could be part of a movement that brings songs with more meaning back into the pop lexicon, that would have been the best we could have ever hoped for in our careers."
According to the music being released by this duo, a pop song's meaning and greatness rests in a harmonious partnership of polarized emotions. As they've shown us on both records, even a song with a saddened lyrical theme is packaged with moments of inspirational musical breakthroughs, it's a quality that urges you to explore deeper into the psyches of your favorite records. "I think there can be a balance between fun and meaning," explained Epstein. "We all walk that line every day. You could have the happiest morning and the saddest night and to try and make something that's one or the other is inauthentic." This realist and optimistic mentality that the darkness will eventually bloom into brilliance is embedded throughout Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s latest record, and its one that's highly contagious.
We invite you to catch their brightness bug in our latest session with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. as well as our one-on-two interview where they further discussed the making of The Speed Of Things, Paul Simon's production notes, and of course, Bob Seger's butt cheeks.