ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Joshua Epstein can’t wait to get out of Detroit and head on tour. It’s not that he doesn’t love the area, the weather has just been brutally cold.
“I’m looking forward to going to warmer places,” he says during an interview from his Detroit home. “We’ve done our first two shows and they have been great. We’re just ready to get out and see the country.”
Epstein is one-half of the indie pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. The band was formed by Epstein and Daniel Zott and is touring in support of its 2013 album “The Speed of Things” and its recently released mixtape, “Produce.”
Epstein says the band is influenced by hip-hop, and wanted to release some new music featuring hip-hop artists. It was able to pull in Slim of 112, Murs, SelfSays, Asher Roth and Quelle Chris for collaborations.
“We were very fortunate in getting these artists to help us out with the songs,” he says. “I’ve always listened to indie rock and rap. It’s no secret that hip-hop is part of our musical identity.”
Epstein says “Produce” is a perfect example of how genres in music are blurring in today’s industry.
“I think that we’re part of this first generation of musicians who grew up getting their music on the Internet,” he says. “There is access that we have that those who came before us didn’t have. We have this immediacy of getting music out to people.”
Epstein says the band started as just a way for the two guys to perform together. After a few years making music and taking it on the road, he says the band was meant to be.
“Being in a band is like being in a relationship. It takes work,” he says. “It’s hard to imagine hanging out with someone all the time. Dan and I have this unique relationship where we balance each other out. Where I am weak, he makes up and vice versa. Put us together and we’re almost a perfect human being.”