Finally. Some talent from New Jersey that does not revolve around a six pack with an orange glow.
Brothers Stephen and Dave Fowler, members of the band “Echo Movement,” bring a rare energy to their music. And sound like Sublime and Bob Marley had a baby.
Playing at Warped Tour ’09 as part of their first national tour, and sharing the stage with bands like Streetlight Manifesto, these Jersey boys certainly have a lot going for them.
The duo started as a cover band, “Indian Summer,” in high school.
Dave was on keyboards and backup vocals with Stephen on the drums and singing lead.
They would often rearrange songs by The Doors, Sublime and the Allman Brothers “through a process called ‘reggaefication,’ ” Stephen said.
“It was through this process we became inspired to write and arrange our first full album in 2006. Looking back it was really an unorganized collection of ideas, more experimental,” Stephen said.
By 2009, they evolved into a seven-piece band, with vocals, keyboards, guitar, drums, base, sax and trumpet.
“We have had many players and many changes, but we are very happy with the format now,” Stephen said. “The vibe on stage is perfect.”
As for the name “Echo Movement,” it’s another term for Generation Y, known as the approaching echo of the Baby Boomer generation.
“The pressure is on to measure up to everyone before us,” Dave said. “We didn’t create Echo Movement to change the world or any other cliché self-proclamation, but we did want it to make people feel good – about life, about themselves – and what ever metaphysical impact that has, cool.”
Sometimes, Stephen and Dave sit down in the studio and write together. But, often, Dave comes up with a song on his own to show Stephen and lets it evolve from there.
“Good ideas can come from anywhere, if you’re willing to embrace them. I’m usually driving when I think of a melody. Walking is better for concepts and lyrics,” Dave said. “When I’m writing for multiple songs (like an album), I have pockets full of notes … Sometimes it’s a very fluid process, and other times I feel like a blind guy fumbling with a Rubik’s Cube.”
As a “keyboard guy,” Dave said some musical influences of his are Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, The Beatles and The Kinks.
And, stylistically, as a vocalist, Stephen cites influences like Jim Morrison, Sting and Bob Marley.
“I found my own voice by first learning how to sing their songs,” Stephen said.
The band’s ultimate goal is to spread optimism to listeners and audiences through positive messages and ideas.
One song, “Brotherman,” which Dave wrote, is about helping other people and treating them like family in the process. The catchy chorus certainly helps the message stick.
“I often preface the song with a hard stance on equal rights when we perform it live,” Stephen said. “It is hard to believe we still treat people differently because of things like skin color or sexual orientation.”
The band’s blog, echomovement.blogspot.com, contains every story behind each song from their latest album, “In the Ocean.”
One political song, “I think God Smokes Weed,” could cause controversy, but the boys are prepared to defend themselves.
“So yeah, we ‘go there’ on our songs, but we back ourselves up in very responsible forums and open up really cool discussions with our fans on our Facebook page.” Dave said. “As for God Smokes Weed, my brother and I are free thinkers. Though we pick on ridiculous dogma of the Catholic Church in that song, the god we reference is nature.”
One of the band’s primary concerns with this new album was donating to an organization. SurfAid International, supported by artists like Jack Johnson, receives a portion of Echo Movement’s CD sales to help surf communities in need, like Indonesia.
Although the band loves playing in its home base at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J., it is venturing out to various east coast venues for its current tour. Stephen and Dave will play an upcoming show at The Space in Hamden on Nov. 24.
In the meantime, they’ll be plenty busy working to release their seven-track EP before summer 2011.
Check out Echo Movement’s page at facebook.com/echomovement and myspace.com/echomovement to hear tracks off their album.
Photos courtesy of Echo Movement