It’s been over four years since the guys first got together, thanks to a blizzard that hit Denver, CO in 2006. Jamie Janover pulled the stranded musicians together and they played their first impromptu show at Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom. “It feels like an annual event at this point,” says Hann, “and if our schedules are cleared around this time of the year we really try to make it happen.”
Formed by a force of nature seems fitting for these four musicians. And according to Hann, Colorado is the perfect place to carry out PRAANG’s fusion of sounds. “Out in Colorado [live music] is so all over the place. Everyone comes through here [and] it’s really crazy the way people here mobilize for a show. That’s one of the amazing parts about Colorado.” These words could not be truer as I watch Quixote’s True Blue, in Denver, CO, fill up with a variety of fans. From deadheads to WOMP seekers, the room becomes a microcosm to Colorado’s live music scene.
Both Hann and Travis are masterminds when it comes to laying the foundation down. Providing this support allows Kimock and Janover to take us on an incredible voyage through their instruments. “It’s really different than Eoto ,” says Hann, “with Steve and Jamie it’s more we’ve set up this song, this sort of texture area and if one of those guys are going to solo or play a melody now you listen for the journey and the story that they’re telling and follow that wherever it goes.”
Janover starts the show off, quickly transporting the crowd with his famed sound that pings off his dulcimer. Bodies are instantly grooving. Soon after, Kimock loops his guitar in and the sounds generated by these four begin to blend effortlessly together.
Soon, Kimock leads the musical excursion with a mesmerizing guitar solo. The other three get quiet, the crowd simmers and we all recognize the legendary talent playing right before us. Steve gets down low, closes his eyes and it’s almost as if he is transporting himself, and us, to the next level. As usual, Kimock’s guitar does all the talking.
PRAANG debunks any myth that electro house sounds cannot incorporate organic instruments. During PRAANG’s performance on Saturday night, Hann keeps the beat while looping a gargoylesque sound (freshly recorded from earlier in the show) made from the most primitive instrument – his vocal cords. Travis lends his support through bass, guitar, keyboards, and live mixing. Both Hann and Travis work damn hard throughout the show, building multiple layers of sound, while still maintaining the foundation for Kimock and Janover. Both Hann and Travis have a confidence that is only learned from improving live relentlessly. When it’s time to move on Hann says, “You recognize it and try to make something happen.”
The beautiful thing about PRAANG is the collaboration and respect these guys have for one another. They recognize each other’s strengths and are able to react with one another, along with the crowd, to bring a night full of movement and dance. Hann and Travis possess a magical ability to support the variety of sounds that incorporate Kimock’s psychedelic rock along with the rich, animated sounds that vibrate from Janover’s hammered dulcimer. These collective rhythms morph into the sound that is PRAANG. It’s about coming together to create a journey from their differences. “We’ve never done a three night show; we’ve done two nights before . . . we’ll see come Monday where we’re at.” From the crowd’s reaction on Saturday night, it seems they want this journey to be everlasting.
As for what the rest of 2011 looks like for Hann and Travis, “it’s already getting really busy.” EOTO starts their spring tour, which kicks off out west in Lake Tahoe, CA in February and runs through June 2 at the Wakarusa Music Festival. And what about summer plans for Cheese? “String Cheese is trying to do, you know, some different things, as [yet], to be revealed”, Hann offers out with a large grin. One thing is for sure, Hann doesn’t mind the busy schedule, and after all, “that’s what we do.”
Photos and Words by: Ashley Sawtelle
Photos and Words by: Ashley Sawtelle
January 22, 2011 – Quixotes Cafe – Denver, CO