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Six Pack of Pop: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

October 16, 2013, David Caraviello,

Pop group out of Detroit a cause of wonder within NASCAR fan base

Few musical acts arouse more curiosity within the NASCAR fan base than Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., a pop group out of Detroit founded by Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein. Beginning with a first EP recorded in Zott's basement -- and appropriately entitled "Horsepower" -- the duo has progressed to the release of their second full-length album, "The Speed of Things," which came out Oct. 8. Zott recently took a few minutes from the band's tour schedule to answer a few questions, including one so many NASCAR fans have always wondered about.

Q: First of all, the name. NASCAR fans are always curious about it. Where did it come from?

The name for us was just a way to identify our crazy new project that had no limitations. People have no idea how we are going to sound, and so it gives them a reason to actually take some time to listen to the music. 

Q: Have you guys ever met Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Is he cool with this?

We wrote him to tell him that we weren't intending it as a joke or anything. He was super kind about it, and wished us luck out on the road.

Q: You're from Detroit, the car capital of America, which also has a pretty legendary music scene that spans Motown to Jack White. How did growing up in the Motor City influence the kind of music you wanted to make?

Motown is the biggest influence on both Josh and myself. The melody of all those songs from that era is unmatchable. I think it always pushes us to make songs that feature our vocals and harmonies over everything else. We strive to make music that lasts.

Q: At the risk of using labels, your sound seems to be a little Beatles-eque psychedelia meets indie pop. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't been exposed to it yet?

To be called anything Beatles-y is fine by us. We really just want to make good pop music. Future karaoke.

Q: A question about cars: Any memorable clunkers from when you first started driving? Or, perhaps more appropriately, any tour buses held together with duct tape and wire?

Josh used to drive a PT Cruiser shrink-wrapped with a flower pattern to deliver flowers. I don't think it gets worse than that. My first car was actually a $500 station wagon that had duct tape on the back to hold the bumper on.

Q: The new album is called "The Speed of Things." Guessing we shouldn't be surprised a band that takes its name from Dale Jr. refers to speed in a title. What should we expect on the new disc? Fast songs, perhaps?

There are a number of songs that would work really well while driving fast, but we always mix it up. "The Speed of Things" more refers to the pace at which we live life.