On Friday, Aug. 22 at 10:30 p.m. PT/1:30 a.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Savoy's concert from the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA. Tune in HERE to watch!
Ben Eberdt, a producing member of the electronic rock trio Savoy, is still shocked about one of the group's concerts last January. The band, known for its free downloadable albums and EPs Self Predator, Three Against Nature, Personal Legend, and Supertrail, entertained a surprise guest: President Obama's eldest daughter, Malia.
"We were playing in Silver Springs, Maryland, where we never played before, at a fairly large venue. I think it was like 2,500 people," Eberdt tells Yahoo Music via phone, taking a break from test-driving new synthesizers at a music store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "We were at dinner before the show and our manager comes up and he's like, 'There's going to be a special guest. Basically, the promoter just told me' — this is within an hour of the show happening — he was like, 'Code word Rosebud. Rosebud is code word for Malia Obama. She's going to be there.'"
Eberdt, who is joined in the group by fellow producer Gray Smith and drummer Michael Kelly, didn't know what to expect. But he was amazed to see the number of Secret Service agents assigned to the scene. "They kept making rounds and dropping off Secret Service agents to not have, like, 15 guys coming in," he remembers. "We kept seeing all these dudes kinda posted around the venue, and they're all wearing baseball hats, and instead of like typical communication devices, they're all wearing like iPod earbuds. So we started seeing a couple of them wearing strange backpacks that were apparently sniper rifles. We were talking to them and they were pretty brief; they've got a very important job to do."
It wasn't until after the show that they realized what a buzz Malia's unannounced attendance sparked. "After the show it was pretty crazy," Eberdt says. "We started seeing pictures. She's at our show wearing a homemade YOLO T-shirt. Somebody tells us there were snipers right above us on the stage where we were playing. So they were definitely blending in pretty inconspicuously. But from what I hear, they were absolutely everywhere, keeping the First Daughter as safe as possible. I definitely called my parents. I was like, 'You guys would not believe what just happened.'"
If Malia enjoyed Savoy's "Get Lazer'd" show eight months ago, she'll love the group's "Mo Lasers Mo Problems" set even more. Concertgoers can expect at least "double" the special effects, and more live elements, Eberdt says. "We thought we would push it further in addition to the live drums and live electronics," he reveals. "We're going to be bringing live vocals with our girl Heather Bright and with me too. It's going to bring it up to notch 11, which is what we've been searching for the whole time. We're in the EDM scene, but when people ask us how do we describe our sound, we say electronic rock 'n' roll."
Though Savoy has been influenced by the likes of Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, and Notorious B.I.G. (hence why their tour's name is a play on Biggie's "Mo Money Mo Problems" song title), they continue to find inspiration in fellow electronic musicians Daft Punk. They were big fans years before the group won the 2014 Album of the Year and Record of the Year Grammy Awards for Random Access Memories and "Get Lucky," respectively.
"One of the career-changing moments for us was actually seeing their live performance in 2007, their tour," Eberdt says about the French techno duo. "Honestly, electronic music in the United States wasn't anything near as big as it is today. I remember we were DJing in clubs, playing like dance music, four-on-the-floor beats, and people were like, 'What the hell is this?' And then Daft Punk comes through with their massive stage production. Now, we see these big festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, and touring acts coming with these incredible stage productions, but that did not happen before then. Daft Punk was the innovator of all that, the throbbing dance show with all the visuals. For us, it was, 'Oh, man. OK. I know what we have to work towards.'"
Eberdt, Smith, and Kelly have been on a unified mission since they met during their freshman year at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Eberdt is from North Carolina, Smith is from Chicago, and Kelly is from New York. Eberdt and Kelly bonded on their first day in the dorms. "The first night I got there, there was a [Grateful Dead cover band] concert I wanted to go to, so I said, 'Who's going with me? We're in college, let's party,'" Eberdt remembers. Kelly, who stayed two rooms down the hall, was the first to respond. "Mike said, 'I'll go with you.'" Another day on campus, Eberdt saw Smith walking around with a guitar, suggested they jam together, and rushed back to his room to get his own guitar. "We started jamming in the quad," Eberdt says. "Before we knew it, 20 people were around us." Eberdt suggested that the three play together. "We all clicked instantly," he says," and pretty much played every day."
The fact that the trio plays instruments is something that distinguishes Savoy from the average EDM act that only DJs. "We started as a band," Eberdt says. "We've gone through different phases, but the one thing we've been solid about is having Mike playing live drums with us. We pride ourselves in making the live experience different than what you get when you buy the track. When you listen to your iPod, we want to take that to the next level with the live show."
We wonder if the "Mo Lasers Mo Problems" tour will gain a new synth from Eberdt's equipment shopping expedition.
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