Written by Monica Christoffels
Hometown pride can make people do strange things: root for teams that lose every season, eat at the same diner every day, and ground future generations into family-upheld traditions. What distinguishes them, though, is the people’s unending support of the product of their community – this is the case of Eugene, Oregon’s Medium Troy, a millennial-generation band whose star has only just begun to rise.
Medium Troy consists of six college-age men: lead singer and guitarist Yonaton “JoJo” Ferreira, bassist Jesse Ferreira, keyboardist Leif Burton, turntablist Connor Sullivan, drummer Parker Cohen, and guitarist Corey Hatcher. They describe their sound as “bohemian dub,” a blend of alternative rock, reggae, funk, dub, electronica and hip-hop; unsurprisingly, it’s hard to compare this genre to any other band’s, but iTunes suggests MGMT and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as similar-sounding artists. The boys of Troy list Ratatat, The Beatles, Bob Marley and Flight of the Conchords as some of their musical influences.
On the band’s website, you can listen to a multitude of tracks from “Bohemian Dub,” MT’s debut album that was self-produced in 2007. Some of my favorite tracks include “Dumb,” a song that includes undeniably-accurate observations about the local drug culture, and “This is Me,” a comical track in which JoJo Ferreira raps about being a fashion-unconscious, smartass stoner (“I think I’ll smoke a bowl / ‘Cause that’s just how I roll / I rock pajamas ‘cause they’re oh-so-much more comfortable”). The MT player also features some unreleased songs: “Space Tree” is a great example of how much the band’s sound has evolved over the years, while “Run Run Run” includes colorful commentary on policemen (“Who took the bullies and gave them all guns / the world’s biggest gangs run on government funds”).
Formed in October 2006, Medium Troy had a lightning-fast rise to fame: within eight months the guys were opening for artists such as Lil’ Wayne, State Radio, The Abyssynians and Sean Kingston. Locally, MT’s cultivated such a strong following that the band’s most loyal fans and street promoters are known as the “Squirrel Crew” (“Kids are kind of squirrely,” JoJo Ferreira said in a March interview with the Register-Guard). Such devotion from Eugenians has earned them the title “Kings of the WOW Hall,” selling out an unprecedented number of shows at the venue and winning awards such as Favorite Local Band and Best Musical Performance of 2009.
Another reason for Medium Troy’s success could be credited to the members’ laidback, down-to-earth attitudes. Sure, these guys’ve been on the Vans Warped Tour twice (two shows in 2008, and three west coast dates this summer) but they sure don’t act like they could be “the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Sugar Beets or Floater” of their generation, as hailed by the Register-Guard. When I first met MT at the Oregon Country Fair in July, I was greeted with unadulterated kindness: Jesse Ferreira recognized me as a patron of Holy Cow Cafe (both his place of employment and one of MT’s local sponsors), Sullivan informed me of a mutual acquaintance (Oregon Daily Emerald photographer Nick Cote, who shot and wrote the band’s March feature), and Cohen handed me a beer before divulging the band’s history.
Perhaps it’s this small-town familiarity that keeps MT grounded, although this may not be the case for much longer: the band jokingly states on Facebook that they “expect to be rich and famous when [our next album] drops, so hit us up before the fame gets to our heads and we don’t write back.”
“Bohemian Dub” can be purchased on iTunes, and mp3’s of the band’s February 2009 WOW Hall performance can be downloaded for free through the band’s MySpace page. Medium Troy will play a free show, along with Portland indie band Water & Bodies, at 8 p.m. tonight at the University of Oregon.