What’s up Dok?

Local musicians fuse elements of jazz and hip hop on new record


MAKE SOME NOISE: Doks Robotiks, a group of university students and local musicians, combine jazz and hip hop. Submitted

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Sports Editor

It all started with a whiteboard. Last year, UW-Eau Claire juniors Rick Haneman and Andrew Bocher said they heard rumors fellow junior Stephen Sutherland made music. So one night, the two said they decided to leave their dorm floormate a note on his door’s whiteboard, hinting they all should make music together.

But what started out as regular jam sessions turned into a release under one name. Along with five other musicians, Doks Robotiks is finding their sound through funk, jazz and hip hop.

“All the things I know about music came from jazz,” Sutherland said. “Jazz is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, influence on our music, I would say.”

The group released their debut album, “Doks Robotiks Free Form,” April 25 along with a release show. Sutherland said some of the album’s notable tracks are “Bring it Down” and “Pavane.”

Along with handing out physical CD copies, the group has a bandcamp page which sells album downloads for  $4. Haneman said response to the music has been positive.

“Its been good and I was kind of thrown off actually,” Haneman said. “Honestly, I haven’t really gotten any negative remarks other than constructive criticism from other musicians.”

While each member has specific artists they pull inspiration from, Bocher said the group pulls sound from a ‘90s hip hop collective based out of Brooklyn, New York called Native Tongue. They featured artists like De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip and Digable Planets.

“They actually sampled a lot of jazz from the 50s and 60s, original Miles Davis and stuff like that,” Bocher said. “It wasn’t lost but its buried and we’re trying to dig it up.”

The group has done two live shows under Doks Robotiks, along with opening for Brother Ali last semester as well, one in the Twin Cities and one at The Mousetrap in Eau Claire. They plan to continue pushing their album for the next few months.

They are also looking to start collaborating with the many local and Twin Cities-based musicians. Even though the group will be mostly separated this summer with different schedules, Haneman said they plan to come together in August and start pulling together their newest project.