Last night, Nashville-based music group, Kansas Bible Company, entertained Mennonite youth convention attendees. Before the show, I sat down with Jake Miller, Goshen, Ind., Michael Ruth, Archbold, Ohio, and Jeff Yoder, Bluffton, Ohio, to talk about the band, their concert and how a group of 12 men collaborate and celebrate musically.
The band was formed at Goshen College. Miller originally intended to form a small, local band with friends, and the band soon grew quite large. All three men agreed that it was difficult to include everyone’s ideas in a group so large. They are currently working on a new album which will include each member’s musical idea some way. They also hope to include at least one song written by each band member.
According to the band members, their core musical influence is rock and roll, but their sound also includes elements of punk, progressive, soul, and classical. Yoder describes the band as, “funky, psychedelic, rock and roll.” Although not all the band members majored in music, most were trained in classical theory and they play a variety of instruments, including a five-man horn line.
The performance at this year’s convention is notable because Miller said that they don’t normally play for youth, but were excited to do so and hoped to bring that energy to the teenagers in the crowd. Miller’s stated goal was to “make the walls sweat.”
Most of the band members grew up in the Mennonite culture and are excited and happy to perform for convention participants. The members agreed that they are thankful to able to give something back to the church, which has supported them in the past. Although they do not explicitly describe themselves as a Christian band, some of their songs contain biblical references.
Miller added that the band brings the same level of energy to their rehearsals and long-term goals. They practice four hours daily and their two-year goal is to play five nights a week internationally. –Kate Ellis (photos by Kerry Bush)