Evanoff, a high-energy trio from Boulder, returns to Chaffee County after performing at the Vertex festival this summer. Named in The Untz’s “Top 10 Livetronica Acts on the Rise,” Evanoff combines classic rock with contemporary dance music, interweaving band leader JJ Evanoff’s soulful guitar solos with irresistible dance grooves laid down by Parker Oberholzer (bass/synth) and Jake Hall (drums). These guys are no strangers to the Upper Arkansas Valley, having performed at the 2015 Gentlemen of the Road festival in Salida and the 2016 Vertex festival in Buena Vista.
“The Gentlemen of the Road festival was a really great experience,” said band leader JJ Evanoff. “After that festival with Mumford and Sons in Salida, we came back through to play The Victoria Tavern over and over and created a good following down there. … When we saw that there was going to be a Madison House event in Buena Vista, we all knew that it would be nothing short of an epic event.”
Playing large festivals like Vertex, Electric Forest and Sonic Bloom demonstrates the level of success these young musicians have achieved, but JJ said they still appreciate the smaller bar scene: “Playing bar shows like The Lariat brings out a whole other side of the band, mostly because we have to play for 2-3 hours, in comparison to an hour festival set. So naturally it makes us explore our entire repertoire, and forces us to improvise more and extend our jams, which is always a blast. We love the Buena Vista crowd, they always vibe with us and make us feel like rock stars. It’s one of our favorite places to play.”
The band called one of its earlier tours Welcome to Dream-Rock, and the “dream rock” label has been used to describe their music ever since. So it seemed only natural to ask about the band members’ own dreams and aspirations.
JJ didn’t hesitate to answer, “Our main goal is play at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater,” including headlining a Red Rocks show within 5 years. “Also, we want to begin to take our music in a direction that is more accessible by a wider audience, something that jamtronica bands haven’t really been able to do as of yet. I love pop music because there is something to be said for making extremely catchy music that anyone can appreciate. So it would be amazing to be able to write songs that have enough commercial appeal to air on national radio while retaining our artistry.”
Given the band’s track record, commercial success shouldn’t be a problem for Evanoff, in part thanks to JJ’s production skills. “I’ve been producing music … since I was 14 and have always loved music production, which is why I go to college for it at the moment.”
And his work has paid off. He has mixed and mastered all of the band’s releases to date, achieving a clean, polished sound that does justice to the band members’ musical talents. Even though still in college, JJ and his band mates have experienced tremendous success, playing festivals like Electric Forest in the band’s first year of touring. His experiences have taught him to dream big, “way bigger than you ever think is possible. No opportunity is too far out of reach …. But the most important thing is to make sure everybody involved with the project is on the same page with the vision of where the band is going. As soon as one person isn’t in line, energetically and spiritually, things start to fall apart.”