The Dharma Initiative / Press

“The Dharma Initiative lands a spot at LOCKN Festival -The Dharma Initiative, one of the Peninsula's most popular bands, has earned a spot at the prestigious Lockn Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, Va., this summer. The Central Virginia festival, from Aug. 25-28, is headlined by acts such as Phish, My Morning Jacket and Ween. Organizers always arrange for regional acts to earn spots on the bill through online voting and "battle of the bands" competitions. The Dharma Initiative, a jam band from Hampton, took first place in the "Rockn to Lockn" competition, and Richmond's DJ Williams Projekt took second. Both will perform at the festival in August. "Rockn to Lockn" was based on fan voting, followed by the acts performing at an event on the festival grounds last Saturday.”

“Defined by jam-band inspirations, the Dharma Initiative’s pluralistic approach strives to awaken your inner hippie. The group’s free-floating grooves waft in the air with folk, rock and reggae weaving in and out of each other to achieve a heightened and prolonged state of mellow. Fronted by Zach Moats and Megan Sloggie, the husband-and-wife duo leads the Hampton Roads-based quartet through a song-based survey of pre-and-post Phishisms. Tunes such as the jazzed-up fusion of “Grass is Green” and the Bob Marley-inspired “Hold Your Head Up” are good examples of the group’s need to express multilayered positivity.”

“The Dharma Initiative, finalists [in the Rock'n to LOCKN competition] who represented the Hampton Roads region. With two keyboard players in the band, they brought a tight, nonstop energy to the stage. Extensive jams, with touches of reggae thrown in, really showed the audience that they were giving every ounce of awesome they had at this performance.”

“Playing an entire album in sequence is not an ordinary gameplan. But then, The Dharma Initiative is no ordinary band. The group has an experimental sound that frequently goes off on loose improvisational side trips on stage. That style has built a strong local fan base on the Peninsula that has begun to spread to South Hampton Roads and Richmond. Not long ago, The Dharma Initiative filmed its video for "Grass is Green," the new album's lead track, at the Taphouse. "I enjoy hosting them and the crowd they bring," says Peter Pittman, owner of the Taphouse. "There's a vibe that they generate that's different from anyone else. It's a gathering of sorts – people come out, and it's a place where they can rally and come together." That's the ultimate goal, Moats says, when the band members compose their tunes. "What remains foremost in our heads is to create music that will be amazing to see live...We want a big dance party that gets people moving."”

“Since releasing The Constant in 2011, Zach and Megan Moats have been the hardest working musicians in Coastal Virginia. The duo got married in 2012, launched their side project The Lovecats in 2013, made several lineup changes to The Dharma Initiative, and played hundreds of shows along the way. It’s hard to pin down what makes Dharma and the Lovecats such great bands, but whatever it is it works and the couple show no signs of slowing down. The easiest label for the Dharma Initiative is jamband, but that term (like so many others) loses its utility as you dig deeper into the group’s playing. To my ear the band’s greatness is its ability to sound like ten different bands in any given night. When they play reggae they sound like a band that plays reggae all night long. When they venture into the EDM side of bands like STS9 and Big Gigantic, they sound like an untz untz band. And when they slow it down and sing a song they sound like the good old Grateful Dead.”

“Voted "Best World Beat" Band in the 2012 AND 2013 Veer Magazine Local Music Awards!”

“How do you categorize The Dharma Initiative? Electronica. Reggae. Pop. Dance. Trance. Dub. Jam. Experimental. It's all swirling around in the sonic stew. The trio of keyboardists/singers Zach Moats and Megan Sloggie along with drummer Michael Harvey likes to mix it up and keep you guessing. Even more than on the band's debut disc, this live album showcases Dharma Initiative's lust for blurring lines and bending minds. The disc includes jammy, extended versions of previously released D.I. tunes as well as "Easy Love," a song from Moats' old reggae/dub band The Prisoners. The three new songs, though, are a revelation. "Always/Never" takes the band straight into the heart of electronic dance music. "Palpitate," with thundering drums and sweeping, orchestral synth washes, is intense and emotional. It feels epic, like music for the climax of a frightening, psychoactive movie..They're headed for a brave, new world.”

"With the final show of their tour landing in Norfolk, VA, I needed to experience what Conspirator had to offer these days. They’ve been evolving for a while now, and tonight’s show proved that the evolution will continue...The opening band...Dharma Initiative ...were a good showing of the talent available in eastern Virginia. The three piece (two vocalists on keys and a drummer) of Dharma Initiative was a treat of finger flurries wrapped around the vocal harmonies of the soon-to-be-married keyboard duo..."

“Great harmonies between Zach and Megan with an oddly appealing melody....Way cool vibes.”

“Williamsburg musicians Zach Moats and Megan Sloggie perform locally as The Dharma Initiative, a unique group that mixes reggae, keyboard pop and electronic music into a cohesive whole. The band recently released "The Constant," an 11-track disc that's full of fine playing, good writing and tasty vintage keyboard sounds. Sloggie and Moats are both keyboardists and they share vocal responsibilities -- taking turns singing lead and harmony. To make "The Constant," Sloggie and Moats headed to Pecan Hill, a Gloucester-area studio run by Bill Sommerville. Drummer Michael Harvey joined them. The resulting album shows off The Dharma Initiative's talent for strong melodies and unusual, mildly trippy soundscapes. "It was just the two keyboards and drums, with me playing the bass parts with a synth," Moats said. "We did only minor overdubs. We wanted to get the live sound on the record as much as possible."”

“As previously reported in Sound Check, Jeff Maisey's Veer Magazine is reviving the tradition of a local music awards ceremony, with winners picked by Internet voting. This version of the old tradition includes a few new wrinkles. This time out, Maisey invited a long list of Hampton Roads music watchers -- myself included -- to submit nominees. The prizes will be presented Feb. 15 at the Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk. I'm happy to report that the list of finalists reported in the current issue of Veer includes plenty of performers from the Peninsula... ...The Dharma Initiative from Williamsburg was picked as a nominee in the Song of the Year category for "Confidence Man," joining Annie Johnson Band and Uglyography, among others... ...Awards like these naturally breed cynicism, but I'd say the list above is a pretty good overview of musical creativity on the Peninsula. Did everybody who deserved a mention get covered? Of course not. But this is a respectable group of names.”