“Do you all [The Record] still do Inside Outside Voices?” someone asked in the hazy green room under Ignition Garage. “I loved that – we called in all the time. I hope the Record is still that good.”
Kansas Bible Company is a seven-person band that started at Goshen College, back in the days when they still prank-called the Record funnies phone line. Their big-band sound has captured a large following, with their new album out on Spotify and making the “America Viral Top 50” playlist. On Monday, Oct. 31, the band came back to Goshen to play at Ignition Garage to a Halloween crowd.
The band members are all Goshen College graduates: Jake Miller, Jeff Yoder, Nathan Morrow, Michael Ruth, James Green, Jake Snyder and Charles Frederick. The band’s fame started from humble beginnings, including free ‘shows’ on campus.
“We practiced on the fourth floor of Coffman while we were here [at GC],” Miller said, the band’s lead guitarist.
“With the windows open,” Green added.
“Exactly—with the windows open so people heading to the Rott could hear our stuff,” Miller said.
The band has evolved since then, reforming in 2010 after most members had graduated from Goshen College. While still in Goshen, they released their first self-produced album “Ad Astra Per Aspera” in 2010. They then released “Surf Rock Trilogy EP” in 2011, followed by their second full length album “Hotel Chicamauga” in November of 2012. “Dad’s Day” was released in 2014, a four song EP featuring the talents of four different songwriters in the group.
“Paper Moon” was released this past summer, in June. The title of the album is the same as the 1973 movie that gave Kansas Bible Company its name. The album features three different writers and four singers, expanding the sound of KBC beyond the scope of the first two full albums.
“Our sound is constantly alive and constantly changing,” Miller said. “This album was a bit different because we came to the table with a lot of our stuff very polished. We worked with a producer who was great at finding solutions to the tough calls so we could focus on making the best music.”
The production was higher quality for this album, an aspect that the band enjoyed as it evolved the depth of the vocals on the album.
“When we went into the studio, into the vocal room, there were seven or so different microphones set up,” Miller said. “Each microphone was different – either older or newer or different types – and each gave a different sound. We matched each of the vocalist voices with a microphone that enhanced that sound.”
This new sound helped produce an album that the band enjoys playing and that has brought them acclaim as they have toured the country – from Florida to the Upper Peninsula to Goshen to Chicago to New York.
“We played in Key West at the Green Parrot for a few days,” Miller said. “That was a pretty memorable spot. It was definitely cool to hang out with the locals down there.”
“Also the Black Cat in D.C. was really cool,” Green said. “A lot of people came out to that show, and it was a really cool American rock-and-roll vibe.”
Contributing to that rock-and-roll vibe are songs from KBC’s new album. When asked which of these new songs are fun to perform, each person seemed to have at least three.
“We really like playing ‘Oh Michael’, because it’s really high energy and there’s a lot of awesome guitar shredding,” Miller said. “‘Back in the Day’ is also really cool because of the dynamics – and Charlie [Frederick] sings that one. Dark July is also really… ok, we like to play them all.”
The group is closing out their tour with eight more spots in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana – their last stop in Indianapolis at Radio Radio. The band is keeping busy, however, with some new music in the works.
“We have a cassette tape coming in December titled 2019 – it’s a split with the Go Rounds with two songs for each band and 16 minutes of American rock-and-roll,” Miller said. After a pause, he added, “Also keep your eyes and ears open in 2017 for ‘Saturn’s Return.’”