Written by Lindsay Hargrave
Photos by Josh Zegans
Take five Boyer students, goofy lyrics, comprehensive improvisation and influences ranging from Sun Ra to Phish, and that only begins to describe Temple’s own fusion jam band, dot.gov.
The band, consisting of sophomore jazz performance majors Dave D’Arville on guitar, Scott Edmunds on keyboard and Gabe Miller on violinfreshman jazz performance major Pete Dennis on bass and sophomore classical performance major Andrew Malonis on drums, describes themselves as danceable, improvised fusion with a rock energy. “We make music that is fun but also intellectually engaging,” Dennis said.
dot.gov formed at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester and played their first house show in December. “Right now our biggest focus is original music,” said violinist Gabe Miller.
Most of their influences come from jazz and other improvised music. These influences include John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Sun Ra, Paul Bley, Phish and the Grateful Dead.
However, dot.gov is definitely not just another college jam band. Their love of jazz and improvisation reaches far beyond academics and professional work and heavily influences their creative endeavors on a more personal level. This band is not just a way for serious music students to let loose and not worry about their playing; it’s a way to incorporate the other types of music that they listen to and play for a different type of audience than they would play for at a typical jazz gig. “The audience is important, because they’re having as much fun as we are,” keyboardist Scott Edmunds said. “The only thing we know how to do is have fun.”
That said, dot.gov’s style, both in their music and their interactions with one another, is undeniably fun, but there is no doubt that the music comes first. The environment is laid-back but always professional. These are friends, not just bandmates and colleagues, that much is for sure. They say things like “funkadelic” and “Phishy,” and one time they opened a set with the Wayne’s World theme (replacing the words “Wayne’s World” with “dot.gov,” of course). But in rehearsal, while jokes are occasionally intermingled with musical discourse, the majority of their work is serious and professional. They take this band just as seriously as any professional group they might play in. “It’s a different type of expression,” guitarist Dave D’Arville said, but the quality of the music and professionalism are just as important.
At their live shows, the hard work certainly pays off: everyone in the crowd bobs up and down collectively, singing along and feeling every groove just as hard as the band is. Friends and fans who have seen them before know what’s coming and bounce along to what they know will be a set of good vibes and great playing. Anyone who hasn’t seen them gets the treat of hearing them blow the roof off of whatever space they’re playing in for the first time. For old and new friends alike, dot.gov always succeeds in playing a set that brings everyone together for a great time.
It’s live shows like that which show how dot.gov exemplifies one of the greatest things about music: it’s an academic and intellectual language. It’s one of the most creatively versatile art forms. It’s one of the oldest ways to have fun and socialize, whether you’re playing it or seeing it live or just listening to the radio.Dot.gov embraces the best of all of these things, and the product is a serious treat for anyone that gets to hear them play. They love what they play and they play what they love, and that makes it all the sweeter.