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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    El Ten Eleven rocks Congress, kicking off US tour in Tucson

    Los Angeles-based band El Ten Eleven came to Hotel Congress on Wednesday night. They played at the club to kick off their U.S. tour promoting their 2015 album “Fast Forward.”

    The band headed up to Flagstaff on Thursday before starting its tour through the rest of the country.

    Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty make up the instrumental-rock duo. Dunn plays guitar and bass and Fogarty plays the drums.

    Don’t expect a traditional live set from the band—Dunn plays double-neck bass/guitar combo, fretless bass guitar and traditional bass guitar. Fogarty plays acoustic and electronic drums simultaneously.

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    The band plays its complex and layered instrumental music 100 percent live. In a past interview, Dunn said they “refuse to use pre-recorded tracks live.”

    Their ambitious live sets have earned them recognition. The Dallas Observer named El Ten Eleven the fourth-best instrumental band of the last 20 years.

    Gary Hustwit’s documentary series “The Design Trilogy” from the mid-2000s featured the band’s music. “Helvetica,” “Objectified” and “Urbanized” are iconic films in the design world. In 2008, “Helvetica” was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. The success of these films brought the band attention.

    “It certainly helped us get where we are now,” Dunn said about the documentaries.

    El Ten Eleven released its first mixtape at the end of July. The mixtape contains rare and unreleased songs. Many were puzzled as to why El Ten Eleven would release a mixtape rather than an EP or studio album.

    “There are so many songs that we think are worthy of being heard that never were, so … [we made a] mixtape,” Dunn said.

    One of the major themes on “Fast Forward,” their latest full-length album, is family. Fogarty’s father passed away during the recording of the album, and the implied triangles on the album’s cover art represent connection to family. El Ten Eleven played three new songs at their Hotel Congress show that revolved around this theme.

    “They are so new they don’t even have titles, but family [is] the theme,” Dunn said.

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    The band’s upcoming releases feature collaborations with vocalists, a change compared to the instrumental work it has already released.

    “It’s a little early to talk about it but we’ve worked with about a half a dozen singers and some are working out better than others,” Dunn said. “It’s taking much longer than anticipated but that’s because we want it to be great, not just pretty good.”

    Aside from the tour, the band members have plenty on their plate. Dunn is also working on a novel on the side.

    “It’s pretty much finished,” Dunn said. “I’m just waiting on the artwork. I was hoping to sell copies on this leg of the tour, but I’ll have to wait for the next. It will also be available digitally very cheaply.”

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