A year ago guitarist Stu Sauce, drummer Cody Orange, and bassist Rod Reiter were strangers. After a few Craig's List ads and a meeting of the minds at a Starbucks, the Deerfield Beach trio quickly united to form the funk band Xotic Yeyo. Though their influences ranged from jam bands like Phish to Motown and '90s R&B, it was when they played a Jamiroquai song that they knew they had a future. "'Canned Heat' was the first song we played together," Stu Sauce remembered during a joint interview. "That's when we knew it was on because we didn't have a keyboard, which is a major part of that song, yet we still made it sound pretty nice."
It took a little while to come up with the distinctive name, Reiter said. "Xotic Yeyo breaks down into X and Y, which was sort of a description of the members of the band, being that part of the band is generation X and the other part generation Y. We went through several lame iterations of XY, XY Rebels being one of them. We wanted it to tie in to Miami, and nothing screams Miami like Yeyo."
The cocaine reference makes for a nice inside joke, Orange added. "A lot of people don't know what Yeyo means, but it's memorable all the same. And it's funny to see the reactions of the people who do know. The name still gives me a tingle, and it's fun to watch people wearing our shirts with our logo 'Xotic Yeyo' proudly beaming on their chest."
To celebrate one year of people wearing Xotic Yeyo shirts, the band decided to organize Fort Lauderdale New Music Fest, a two-night musical extravaganza featuring 20 bands on four stages. It's also serving as a release party for their EP Down 2 Funk. "Can I talk about 'Disco Zombies'? That is one heck of a song!" Orange said about his favorite track. "Stu once said that 'Disco Zombies' is the response to 'Thriller,' and that resonated so well with me."
As the band heads into its second year, Reiter promises Xotic Yeyo will continue the funk. "Our music video for 'Mothership' will be released soon. We are going to enter every contest available to us in 2017. We want to play all the Florida music festivals. We are only releasing a few of our songs on this EP. We have a lot more; those will be recorded as well."
Fort Lauderdale New Music Fest with Xotic Yeyo and others. 8 p.m. Friday, November 4, and Saturday, November 5, at Two&, 1517 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 305-303-3976; facebook.com. Admission costs $10.