With an electrifying new album and turbo-charged release party, Doogatron doesn’t miss a beat.
The Ypsilanti techno trio is celebrating a jam-packed day with the arrival of their self-titled debut album and an 8 p.m. release party tonight at Ziggy’s.
DoogaTron’s Stevie Tee and Kyle will perform together and host separate DJ sets while two of Yspilanti’s finest producers and DJs, Jason Hogans aka :brownstudy and Sleezy Hamilton, and DJ Sean Brocash will round out the release party.
Tonight’s release party serves as the ideal environment for hearing and experiencing Doogatron’s debut album live through a robust sound system built on a mix of analog and digital synthesizers and technology. Their techno sound encompasses heady machine-funk combined with synth freak-outs.
“We’re getting to a point where we can open up the idea of what we’re doing with DJing and playing our stuff. We can do a whole night like that,” Tee said. “We’re going to do the first couple of hours, and then we’re going to turn it over to our friends and have fun and party with people afterward.”
Today’s album drop and release party have been nearly four years in the making. Together, Tee (bass synths, additional textures, samples and occasional vocals) and Kyle (drum machines/samples) DJed as Doogatron for about two years before switching to a live PA setup. At the same time, Tee recorded techno music with Mike (lead/synth pads) as part of a separate project called Chill Spector.
“My role was similar in both groups, and it eventually became clear that Kyle and Mike’s skills that complemented mine complemented each other’s as well,” said Tee, who’s influenced by Nine Inch Nails, Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin. “Kyle had been a drummer and made our beats. Mike was playing keyboards and experimenting with effects having also had a background in guitar.”
By 2014, Tee’s two projects merged into a techno trio that recorded and performed a series of live shows together locally. During the next three years, Doogatron compiled several recordings, revisited early arrangements and formed the raw tracks that would become their self-titled debut album.
“Throughout 2017, we shared more than an album’s worth of tracks to give an indication of the direction of productions were going in. However, we held on to a lot of our most exciting material for additional treatment with the idea of proper releases in mind,” Tee said. “This album is 100 percent our creation. Written, arranged, recorded, produced, mixed and against all advice, mastered by Doogatron in various basements, bedrooms and living rooms of our homes.”
What resulted is a nine-track disorienting synth-prog jam that’s built on techno rhythms from the disciples of Detroit’s electronic music. As Doogatron, they use improvisation to put the human touch in various strains of dance music. With old school analog synthesizers and new school digital technology, they acknowledge the past while aiming for the future of techno music.
“Electronic music makes it possible for people to make music on their own, and it allows people to produce stuff totally by themselves. You can hear that in a lot of music because some it is more loop-based,” Tee said. “For us, it’s always been about getting together in a room and playing off each other, which I think is different from a good chunk of what electronic music is now.”
Doogatron’s first single and video, “Death Hacks,” features fast-paced galactic beats against booming synths spiraling into a techno space fantasy. It serves as a beautiful electronic framework for a four-minute sonic escape wrapped in extraterrestrial enchantment.
“That track was definitely one of the first ones that emerged out of what I was going through, and it was the first one where I knew we were on to something original,” said Tee, who grew up in Canton. “It’s a total outlier, and it’s way faster than anything.”
A fluid production collective that has performed as a trio, duo and solo DJ sets, Doogatron is always seeking to collaborate and expand into new formations. Destined to be underappreciated in their own time, they’ll be a hip new discovery of trendy reissue labels 20 to 30 years from now.
Luckily, Doogatron will continue to serve as disciples of Detroit’s electronic music and redefine the burgeoning techno sound for future generations.
“The experience is different, you can have these sorts of hypnotic experiences at these shows or while listening to this music,” Tee said. “It can be a release or a celebration, there’s something sort of primal about it, the idea of people gathering around repeating music.”
8 p.m. tonight
206 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti
Event is free, but donations are welcome.