Interview & Photos by Scott Preston
Kopecky Family Band
Appearing at Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati, OH on 7/13 at 4:15pm
“Family” is a word that encompasses a variety of definitions. With that in mind, let this introduction to Kopecky Family Band be taken with an open mind and with a grain of salt. This family is connected not by blood or by heritage, but by circumstance. This is a family bound by the miles on their odometer and by the songs they have crafted over the years. These six young musicians have created a family through their commitment to each other and to their craft. Crack open your dictionary, if you need to.
The Kopecky Family Band – a non-traditional family, at that – is dynamic, and they wield an equally dynamic slew of instruments. Their thoughtful songwriting is supported by a diverse backdrop of sound. And the musical canvas is covered with broad brushstrokes – ranging from clanging tambourines and guitars, booming percussion, intelligent string arrangements, and triumphant horns. These six bandmates – siblings, if you will – swap their musical tools without a second thought, creating an emotive, adventurous, and energetic environment onstage.
In late 2007, founding members Kelsey Kopecky and Gabriel Simon became united with four friends who shared a mutual vision. They planted seeds that have been nurtured for the past five years through persistent touring and recording – and those seeds are rapidly reaching maturity. With thousands of miles traveled, and surely thousands to come, the Kopecky Family Band is only just beginning their adventure – and they want to bring you along for the ride. (from kopeckyfamilyband.com)
Cincy Groove: How did the band first get together?
Steven Holmes: We all sort of fell into each other’s lives while attending Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I think it really started with Gabe and Kelsey’s meeting. One thing led to another and they ended up doing some writing together… and the rest is history.
Cincy Groove: Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
Steven Holmes: Absolutely. It actually was only a few months ago! I was driving home with one of my roommates (Who, coincidentally, is also a bandmate), and we were discussing the whole “radio play” thing. Neither of us had actually heard any of our music on the radio until that point, yet we both would often get calls or text messages from friends telling us that we had just come on their favorite station. Long story short, we decided to throw caution to the wind and check our local station… you know, just in case. Seems to good to be true, but not even a minute after turning the radio on, or song “Are You Listening” began. Serendipitous.
Cincy Groove: Tell me about the new record you are currently working on, are you approaching this one any differently compared to previous ones?
Steven Holmes: I think we have grown up a lot in the past couple of years, as individuals and as musicians… and just as a band. So we are definitely approaching this record differently, but it feels really natural. We aren’t forcing anything with the production or with the songwriting. If we like something, we keep it and try to make it as great as we can. If we don’t like a part, we either toss it, or change it around until we fall in love with it. We want to make a record that people can fall in love with.
Cincy Groove: What is the songwriting process like for the band?
Steven Holmes: Extremely dynamic! It is always changing. Sometimes a song will be born through all of us sitting around in my basement jamming something out, and sometimes a band member will bring an idea in, and we will work on it one piece at a time. I think writing this way keeps us all on our toes… we try not to ever get too comfortable with our processes.
Cincy Groove: I know it was a while ago, but what was it like to be on the Tonight Show?
Steven Holmes: It was a dream. I don’t even know where to begin! I still have a hard time believing that it really happened.
Cincy Groove: What do members of the band do to pass the time on the road?
Steven Holmes: Read books, watch movies, sleep! There are only so many things that can be done in our vehicle, but if it can be done, we will certainly give it a shot. Feel free to send any creative suggestions our way!
Cincy Groove: Have you performed with anyone you were in awe of?
Steven Holmes: Oh yes. Most recently, a band out of Canada called Alvvays. They are a new favorite for me, and for several others in the band.
Cincy Groove: What is the strangest or most unique thing you have experienced while on tour?
Steven Holmes: There is no shortage of strange and/or unique experiences out on the open road. However, the first thing that came to mind was meeting Owen Wilson at a random party at SXSW in Austin, TX a year or so ago. Our tour manager and I flipped a coin to determine who would have to buy and present him with a Shiner Bock (beer). I won the toss, so I just got to smile and shake his hand. He was kind, but we were pretty awkward, so I think he may have been thrown a bit.
Cincy Groove: What advice would you give to a band just starting out?
Steven Holmes: If playing music is what you really, truly want to do for a living, don’t give up. It is a lot of hard work, and nothing is going to happen overnight. And when things do start happening, it will still take time and more hard work. It is the most beautiful and most rewarding job in the world (to me!), but it comes with a lot of blood sweat and tears.