2016 has been a big year for Minnesota’s musical landscape. Of course there was the loss of our legend, Prince, but there has also been many success stories throughout the year. While artists/bands like Lizzo, Allan Kingdom, Finding Novyon, Bobby Raps, Tickle Torture and Hippo Campus (etc) have transcended to national levels; there is a fair amount of talent ready to fill the void.
It’s a particularly cold night in November as I pull up to Insight Brewing in northeast Minneapolis. Gumm & Konstant, Doks Robotik’s two vocalists, arrive shortly after shaking off the cold when they sit down. Doks is one of the most unique bands I’ve seen in quite some time, their 10-11 member outfit takes influences from funk, jazz, and hip hop among other genres, while remaining versatile in their approach. Whether it’s a house party, a small club or a large festival stage, these guys are known for bringing high energy alongside vibrant instrumentation.
One of the first things I wondered when I first listened to their album was,
“How the fuck do these guys write & record with so many people involved?”
The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” does not apply to Doks. The fact that most of the band members have been classically trained in music, and the fact that they are genuinely friends, helps to ease the writing and instrumentation process. Adam explains the way they create/write as more of a communal process as opposed to a situation where individuals are assigned tasks. If someone thinks a particular bass line or lyric sounds off, they are more than welcome to voice their opinion without feeling out of bounds. Admittedly, Steve mentions that sometimes this approach results in “not enough” constructive criticism among friends. This organic feeling translates to the stage when they perform, their performances are rarely the same, up until recently you might have been lucky to catch all of the members on one stage.
Originally assembling in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at first look their forming appeared to be pure luck, but upon further inspection it was derived out of determination and commitment….. As well as a few strokes of luck. The college friends all jammed and played with various bands prior to uniting, before long they numbered 9 members. Over the next year, the final pieces fell into place as the band perfected their sound. During all of this, the group began to transition from Eau Claire to Minneapolis, this transition was particularly tough when it came to live shows. At times they were forced to take a more bare bones approach employing only 5 members, other times they’d fill the gaps with special guests or friends that volunteered. Through it all they persevered releasing their debut album, Doks, earlier this year to critical acclaim. The nearly sold out release show at 7th Street Entry was electric to say the least, the event served as an official coming out party. A strong summer followed, but neither Adam nor Steve are satisfied with their current level of success, both citing more goals to be achieved.
2017 looks to be yet another good year for the Doks Robotiks crew, all of their members will soon live in the Twin Cities metro, opening a new chapter in their ability to fire on all cylinders. They’ve come a long way, but there isn’t much sign of complacency. When asked what’s the biggest thing they’ve learned along their way, both artists agree, “Whether the crowd is 15 people or 15,000, always give it your all.”
Check out there most recent album Doks below, they will be at Icehouse along with CRASHprez and Wealthy Relative on Wednesday, December 7th for those interested in seeing them live. Make sure to press play below and click the link for more info regarding their upcoming show.
CRASHprez – I Just Moved to Minnesota
Wealthy Relative “Timeshare”