The Doktor is in

Doks Robotiks is celebrating its new, self-titled LP with a release show at the 7th Street Entry.

by Jared Hemming

Other than Facebook, it’s hard to think of large, focused collectives who started in a dorm.
Add Doks Robotiks to that list. The nine-piece jazz and hip-hop fusion powerhouse’s origin story starts with a hand-written note stuck to a dorm room at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
“One time, I got back to school after winter break, and on my door was just a Post-it note like, ‘Hey, I heard you rap. Let’s hang out,’ ” Stephen “Konstant Movement” Sutherland said.
From that note, keys and percussion player Andrew Bocher and drummer and percussionist Rick Haneman recruited Sutherland to rap for them as a trio — one that would expand to include three times as many members.
“When we first started out, we were just having some beers and playing music because we love [it],” Sutherland said. “Over time, we started having more people involved, and we started to feel we had a cool sound.”
Together, the band is celebrating their freestyle rap-jazz groove with a self-titled album and a release show at the 7th Street Entry on Thursday.
For their new album, Doks’ members — Haneman, Sutherland and Bocher, as well as rapper Adam Gumm, trumpet player Kristofer Bergh, trombonist Henry Bergmann, guitarist and percussionist Rob Hagen, bassist DeCarlo Jackson, and DJ Matt “Diatonic” Mulheran — channeled their creative energies into writing distinct yet complementary performances for each of their instruments.
It’s a more calculated effort compared to the funky jams on their last release, “Doks Robotiks Free Form EP.” Unusually, the band recorded their first EP completely live, vocals and all.
“We literally just mic’d up the whole living room and had the whole band in there,” Sutherland said about recording their 2014 release. “Adam and I, on the fly, we just did freestyles. … That’s why we called it ‘Free Form.’ ”
The recording session stayed true to its name — Doks Robotiks recorded their first EP within three days of meeting one another as a full band.
Initially, Gumm wasn’t a part of the group — by chance, he was visiting a friend at Haneman’s home while Doks was recording, so the band invited him to freestyle along with Sutherland.
After their LP release, Gumm said the band is considering adding more members to the Doks collective, incorporating other musicians and visual artists into their live performance.
“We want it to be a big community thing — Doks Family, a community of people who are all there to have fun,” Gumm said.
Though it’s tough to coordinate minute details like a rehearsal schedule between nine people, Gumm said the group’s mission is to appreciate life’s subtler joys, especially live music energy.
“The first word that comes to mind is sweaty — we just want to create music that everyone can vibe to,” Gumm said. “The benefit of having nine people is that we all bring our own energy, so that when there’s nine of us up there, it’s not like anything else.”
Doks Robotiks release party with Lydia Liza, Sayth, Liza Harper and sloslylove
Where 7th Street Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis
When 8 p.m. Thursday
Cost $6-8