2010 was quite the year for Medium Troy – and for me as well. I first met MT this summer at the Oregon Country Fair; the band was my first interview for BestNewBands.com. Since then, I’ve interviewed artists such as Gogol Bordello and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, while the boys of Troy have toppled the West coast’s music scene with their “bohemian dub” beats, performing as locally as Eugene’s Whiteaker Block Party to the Northwest corners of the Vans Warped Tour. It’s been a pleasure watching this band grow so much in such a short time, and I’m glad I chose to ring in 2011 in their company, as well as some other wonderful Eugenenians.
Medium Troy’s New Year’s Eve show at the WOW Hall began a little after 8 p.m. with local talents KI and Undermind, who warmed up the modestly-sized crowd with hip-hop beats and freestyle raps. MT frontman Jojo Ferreira offered his thoughts on why so few people had shown up thus far: “They always say the show starts at 8… I think they should say 9 but reeeaaalllly it should be 10:30, ‘cause that’s when everybody shows up.”
Portland DJ Sporeganic followed suit and entertained the crowd for a couple hours with his special genre of “unicorn lazerstep” while Connah Jay, Medium Troy’s turntablist who was scheduled as another opening act, was double-booked at The Granary Pizza Co. Sporeganic returned to the stage after Medium Troy’s set, and put on one wicked dance party for those who weren’t quite ready to end the night after the show. He’ll be back on January 15th to play a set at Agate Alley alongside Eugene’s On the Tundra and Hamilton Beach.
Here’s a sample of Sporeganic’s “unicorn lazerstep,” as featured on his SoundCloud page:
I sat down with Jojo and his cousin/bandmate, Jesse Ferreira, and asked them a few questions before their set.
Monica: What were some of your favorite moments of 2010?
Jesse: The whole summer, but the OCF, playing the main stage – that’s as good as it gets for Oregon. [The Vans Warped Tour] was definitely fun. It was surprising how many people knew our songs, especially in Seattle. it was really good.
Monica: You guys started Medium Troy in 2006 – how has the band grown/progressed since then?
Jojo: we’ve gone through 10-15 musicians we’ve collaborated with, so we’ve had a lot of changes… We record and produce everything ourselves, so i think we’ve progressed a lot as far as that’s concerned. Leif [Burton]’s gotten really good at keyboard, and I’m… about the same on guitar. (laughs) Mainly, we just learned new things every day.
Jesse: We’ve opened up our options for what we’ve wanted to do, and now we have a solid string of musicians we work with.
Monica: Tell me about your new EP, Space Tree, which you released online.
Jojo: That was something we had for sale [while] on the Warped Tour… We had a couple electronic tracks that were in the works, but also sort of ready enough to show people – y’know, to give them something new – and then we had a bunch of live recorded music from the Country Fair, so we mixed them together and we burned it ourselves (we didn’t even get it professionally printed) and brought it as a new album.
Monica: Any new/emerging artists you’re into right now?
Monica: Where do you go to find new music?
Jojo: I don’t… enough… I guess? (laughs) I don’t have an iTunes collection, really, and I don’t have CDs… but I should listen to more new music – that’s a good new year’s resolution. Occasionally I go to the Internet – Youtube, blogs… There’s a blog I found, AfroMonk, that’s really cool…
Jesse: Umm… The WOW Hall (laughs) or the Internet.. That’s pretty much it. Sometimes I see live music at bars..
Monica: What else is coming up for Medium Troy?
Jesse: We’re gonna try to finish our [new] album, and come out with a music video… The Space Tree EP was just a taste of the new tracks, plus some live stuff… We have way more [unreleased] tracks.
Monica: Do you have any cool New Year’s resolutions?
Jojo: We’re going to try to play a lot in other areas next year… We want to establish a good [fan] base, so that’s what we’re gearing up to do – play big shows in other cities.
Jesse: Spread love – that’s a good one.
Medium Troy hit the stage around 11:30, just as a light snow started to fall over downtown Eugene. The crowd was just as eager to hear the main act play as they were to ring in 2011, which everyone did when MT paused their show at midnight. After that, the guys really got into the swing of things when they mixed old favorites such as “Dumb” and “Beautiful Day” with the newer “Space Tree” and other previously unreleased tracks. Fans were also treated to a little bellydancing onstage during the show.
The aptly-dubbed “Kings of the WOW Hall” certainly lived up to their title – not only did they reign over the crowd with reggae-infused dub, but they took care of their loyal subjects as well. Jojo and Jesse mingled with concertgoers while guitarist Corey Hatcher passed out bottled water inside the dancehall. Reeble Jar saxophonist James added extra flavor to MT’s set, his sultry notes mixing with with Jay’s mixing and Hatcher’s groovy guitar riffs. Medium Troy’s live performances almost put their recorded tracks to shame – the band’s ability to freestyle and jam on the spot is unbeatable, and a talent cherished by fans.
Here are the three aforementioned songs performed that night: