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Dockument: Live First, Record Later.

October 16, 2013
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DockumentText by Beth Ann Downey. Images by G.W. Miller III.

The formation of electro-rock band Dockument was natural, almost anticipated. Frontman and guitarist Jarrett Zerrer, keyboard player Julian Wallace and bassist Patrick Lieberman have been jamming together since high school. They graduated from their childhood love of classic rock to a modern appreciation of EDM, now drawing on their background of playing guitar to create dance-friendly, improvisational, electronic-based music.

“We’re always saying, ‘Document that,’” Zerrer recalls as he and the other band members sit in a cozy booth at Spruce Hill’s Local 44. “That was kind of a running joke when we started with the band because we are such jammers. But a lot of our ideas just come on the fly like that and they’ve been getting fleshed out pretty well.”

What’s been unnatural is Dockument’s upbringing through the Philly music scene. They’ve already played such sought-after venues as Johnny Brenda’s, Milkboy and an inaugural show at Underground Arts – before releasing a single track online. It was apparent that new fans didn’t need to know the words to get down on the dance floor. They are far more than a plug-and-play type of electronic band.

“I pride myself on that because I can be more dynamic with these guys,” Wallace says about playing keys and doing some live computer work. “I can change key on the fly or do something crazy on the fly. A lot of DJs don’t do that, so I’m just more about playing from the heart.”

“Since our first show, we’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with our set,” Zerrer adds. “It’s gotten even more dynamic, more upbeat and even more dance-friendly. Everything is a lot more loose as far as us up on stage and the sound feels a lot more fine-tuned. Right now, since we don’t really have any music released, it’s good because we’re able to feel things out live and kind of see what people are digging right now. So, we’re kind of lucky in that element.”

Zerrer himself is becoming more comfortable with his first experience as a band frontman. Having spent more than two years as guitarist for electro-duo City Rain, Zerrer says he’s taking what he learned from that experience and having fun navigating a whole new vibe on stage.

“You can really just sense that we’ve been playing together for a while and that we all have similar styles and tastes in music,” Zerrer says of their live sets. “We kind of just have the creative freedom to go around in the recorded version, or in our live versions where we can do whatever we want. It’s funny because a bunch of people have come up to me already and been like, ‘I had no idea you had that style or that you were like, that comfortable coming out of your shell like that.’”

The dudes of Dockument plan to release a single soon. They are unsure whether or not they will follow that with an EP or a full-length.

“We have it,” Lieberman says. “It’s there. We just have to fine-tune it.”

In the meantime, the band is experimenting with a stripped-down version of their live set – potentially providing Dockument with a whole new dynamic.

“That will be going back to our roots,” Wallace says, “so it should be cool.”

“We could go into a radio station next week and play a stripped-down version and we’d be good,” Zerrer adds. “Even a couple months in, I can tell that we’d be comfortable with anything that comes our way.”

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