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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

El Ten Eleven applies pop structure to instrumental music

California based post rock band El Ten Eleven will play at The Bishop on Tuesday.

Kristian Dunn said he has never really enjoyed or listened to post-rock music. He just happens to play it. At least, that’s how many people classify his band, he said.

“I’m confused as to why people think that’s what we are,” he said.

Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty make up the Los Angeles drum and bass duo El Ten Eleven, who will perform Tuesday at the Bishop Bar.

In fact, Dunn said he thinks of his songs more as pop music, with verses, a chorus and a bridge. El Ten Eleven may not be top 40 radio material, but the structure is the same.

The band has thrived for 15 years playing nothing but instrumental music. Dunn said they’ve never added vocals, partly because they’ve never felt the need, and partly because neither he nor Fogarty can sing.

“The greatest music of all time is instrumental music, you know, classical music,” Dunn said.

He’s always been a fan of the way classical music involves so many melodic complexities, he said.

“I really don’t like music that’s cliché,” he said. “Predictable music just bores me.”

Dunn said he’s always on the lookout for innovators in modern music but rarely finds them, which is why he and Fogarty try to make fresh music without making something completely foreign to listeners.

“We’re excited by stuff that’s kind of forward-looking, not backward-looking,” he said.

El Ten Eleven will add lyrics for the first time when they release an upcoming series of EPs featuring guest vocalists, he said.

The project was more of a coincidence than a calculated choice, but he said he’s looking forward to seeing what the collaborations bring.

“We’re kind of excited to have each others’ fans hopefully coming to the table,” 
he said.

Though El Ten Eleven is only two musicians, Dunn and Fogerty use lots of effects to create a full sound. Dunn said they use both electric and acoustic drums, looping pedals and even a doubleneck guitar.

The guitar features one six-stringed neck and one four-stringed neck.

He said he bought it on Ebay after growing weary of constantly unplugging his bass to plug in his guitar and vice versa.

The doubleneck has since become an attraction for audiences, he said.

“I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I kind of became known as the doubleneck guy,” he said.

Dunn said he doesn’t mind that some people come to his shows just to see the novelty of effects taking place in real time. The band prides itself on not using a laptop or pre-made tracks.

“I think what we do is really honest,” he said.

Still, he said he loves meeting people who come for the music without being aware of all the musicianship that goes into it.

“One of my favorite compliments I get when we’re on a tour is when someone comes up after the show and tells me they didn’t know that we were just a duo,” he said. “They assumed it was a five-piece band or something.”

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