zillaZilla is a Colorado based trio of musicians with the live experience in mind. A 100% organic, improvised experience, each Zilla concert proves to be a completely new occurrence, with even the band members having no idea where the music will take them night after night. Relying on their uncanny ability to listen and incorporate their individual talents into a group focused brand of live electronic dance music, Zilla is sweeping the country by storm with their rare breed of beats, bass and uncontrollable musical fury making each performance exactly what live music is all about: spontaneity, grooves, and a damn good dance party.

Forming in Boulder, CO, Zilla began as a quintet before changing to it’s current three man roster comprised of acclaimed musicians: Michael Travis, Aaron Holstein, and Jamie Janover.

Michael Travis (drums, percussion, keyboards) has spent over a decade as the driving percussive force in the nationally popular String Cheese Incident. Travis continues to be an innovator of improvisational drumming, managing to play hand percussion while simultaneously keeping incredible rhythm with a kit.

zillaAaron Holstein (guitar, bass, sampler) has had a long and lush musical history, playing guitar with bands such as Boogie Shoes and The Vibe Squad. Holstein’s progression has transformed him from the notion of a typical guitar player, to an applauded adapter leaving behind the traditional notions of what it is to “jam” with a guitar or bass. His playing focuses on the whole of the sound, rather than the individual instrument.

Jamie Janover (hammered dulcimer, mini-kit, percussion, sampler, electric kalimba, electric sitar, mini-electric kalimba) is a world renowned hammered dulcimer wizard whose list of band credits is more than impressive. One time hammered dulcimer Player of the Year, Janover continues to expand the limits of his instruments, creating a fusion between the timeless sounds of the dulcimer and the pertinent call of today’s modern dance scene.

While each individual’s accomplishments are impressive, the group identity theory behind Zilla is what truly makes the band unique. The constant focus of the group is to create a whole, complete sound devoid of noodles, wanking, solos and other characteristics that plaque improvisational music today. The music strives to serve all participating, including the audience. No one in the band has any idea what is going to happen a nanosecond ahead of time; they rely on their instincts and musical history together to create a sound that rarely strives from its intended direction. The collective whole is truly the dominant force in this band.

zillaThe music itself is a plethora of grooves, beats, and highly percussive breaks which cause the listener to become engulfed within the sonic vortex of sounds encompassing them. The band plays on pure emotion, so each night is different and varied, and no song is ever the same. ZIlla is about being as aware as humanly possible when you’re in the moment. The band plays, the crowd reacts, the band reacts and so on and so on. A cyclical paradigm is created in which everyone plays a part. It’s a whole new form of tension-release music in which the music never has to resolve itself in order to sustain the mood. It merely adapts and heads in whatever direction dictated by the experience.

Essentially, Zilla is the ultimate live experience. Many bands try to accomplish the amount of music communication that these three musicians employ their entire careers. This band is all about the music first, which is how it should be. The music plays the band, and not the other way around. Their infectious energy has crowds across the nation dancing up a storm to a completely new band of musical experience.



Michael Travis is a pioneer in the art of modern improvisational jam-rock drumming. He is especially known for his groundbreaking work on playing both hand drums and the drum kit simultaneously. As the drummer for the highly accomplished band, The String Cheese Incident, he has developed a unique style that is very supportive of a free jam aesthetic while still always laying it down. He further develops that approach in Zilla by being super solid to the point of emulating grooves that some of the best programmers and DJs would create, except with that elusive human feel. Travis has played along side some of the worlds greatest drummers while playing with String Cheese including Trilok Gurtu, Babatunde Olatunji and Bill Kreutzman and he has collaborated with many other artists including Keller Williams, Karl Denson, Warren Haynes and Bela Fleck. With Zilla, he gets to stretch-out into brand-new territory by playing drums, percussion, sampler and keyboards at the same time during the show.


Jamie Janover is recognized one of the most innovative hammered dulcimer players playing today. His technique on this ancient percussion stringed instrument is revolutionary in both its technical approach and its stylistic range. Janover’s intuitive sense of compositional flow and his impeccable timing helped him to win the 2002-2003 National Hammered Dulcimer Championship.

In addition to recording with Zilla, he has recorded 8 hammered dulcimer albums and plays adventurous solo shows. Jamie is the originator of a style of music he calls "Dulcitronica". Jamie plays with several other bands including Meeting of The Minds, Everyone Orchestra, Mo Realms and Vibe Squad and he is a veteran of countless live guest appearances with artists including Phish, Stanley Jordan, Bela Fleck, G. Love, Umphrey's McGee, New Monsoon, Keller Williams, Garaj Mahal, String Cheese Incident and The Slip. Jamie invented a musical vehicle called the "Realmsmobile", on which is mounted the small but huge sounding "mini-kit", another of Jamie's original creations.



Aaron Holstein’s joy for playing music is simply infectious. His face tells the story of the music in a way that is so appealing that everyone gets behind him as he creates his magic. Aaron is a talented multi-instrumentalist. He plays, bass, keyboards/samplers, guitar, drums/percussion, and sings.

A veteran of many bands including Future Jazz Project, Vibe Squad and Boogie Shoes, he has also written, recorded and produced many records of his own music. Aaron’s record label called Vibesquad Recordings carries his latest project, an album for kids called "Kids Are Funky Too". Aaron is also known as a talented Electronic Music Producer/DJ under the name VibeSquad, Pudding People, and other rediculous monikers. Some of Aaron's personal musical adventures can be heard here:

Aaron gets to showcase his diverse musical facets in Zilla by playing practically everything on stage: bass, keyboards/sampler, and singing/scatting or beat-boxing... Often, doing all of these things simultaneously.