Our hardest year together, but still plenty left to give thanks for, we’ve carried each other and we’ve had enough providence to get through. This year unloaded all kinds of new battles we’ve never fought before. But we’ll give thanks for the love and hope that only comes from God and family and y’all cause it certainly doesn’t always well up within. Happy thanksgiving ya turkeys, go love on somebody…
Indie Rock/Pop outfit, Abandon Kansas, have a more polished sound than your average band found on our Showcase feature. That is because the Wichita, Kansas trio is no stranger to the whole music business. Abandon Kansas recently left their label for the independent road of DIY-dom. Their brand of down-home spiked pop is infectious and organic. And while some other bands are turning their noses to the smaller scenes, Abandon Kansas have found their niche in living rooms across America. Give them a listen, pick up their new EP (for free!), and groove out to your new summer soundtrack.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Nick Patrick – bass, vocals
Brian Scheideman – drums, percussion
Jeremy Spring – vocals, guitar, keys
What’s your hometown (or what are your hometowns)?
How did the band come together? How long has it been?
The initial lineup formed out of Friends University, a private school in Wichita that Brian and I attended. We hit the road full time in 2008 after our first independent full length came out. We’ve been full time for 5 years now, signed a record deal in 2009 and just recently left Gotee Records earlier this year. Our lineup also recently changed again, with our long time lead guitarist, Brad Foster, stepping down to get married and head back to school.
Why should people listen to your band?
That’s an interesting question. We’re from Kansas, we’ve been a band for 7 years, we spent 4 years on Gotee Records but now we’ve walked away to try the next album independently. Our sound is a unique combination of groove and straightforward songwriting with interesting chord progressions. The hooks are catchy, but the lyrics aren’t two dimensional, and the live show is genuine.
How have you grown since you started?
We have grown as men, writers, musicians, travelers, and businessmen. We’ve figured out efficient ways to enjoy road life but at the same time, come home with some money in our pocket. I think our songwriting has improved and the live show has matured. When we were younger we would be jumping and dancing around all over the stage, with energy just for the sake of energy. I think we’ve grown up by adjusting to some of the harsh realities of the music business, and we’ve made it through lineup changes and in and out of a record deal, so no doubt that has helped us grow.
What sets you apart from other bands?
Our sound and songwriting set us apart from other bands. I think the somewhat off the wall guitar work, groovy bass lines, loose drum style and straight forward mid-range vocals make for a unique combo sonically. Other than a few Christian radio songs that are catchy and bland, we have well thought out arrangements and lyrics that need to be heard several times to unpack the full meaning. I think calling Kansas home, booking and managing ourselves, and remaining debt free also sets AK apart from other bands.
Another thing that sets us apart is the living room tour we’ve done the last four years. This winter we’ll launch The Living Room Tour 5, a fan powered tour, booked by fans in their living rooms full of family and friends. It’s one of the most exhausting and rewarding tours we do and it’s become a signature part of the end of each year on the road. Our fan base isn’t massive, but they are faithful, always taking care of us when we’re in need. I think our fans can tell we really do care about them and have given up a lot in our own lives to make music to add some color to their lives so when they give back to us it’s really encouraging! The living room tour is the perfect place to really meet them where they are at and make lifelong friends.
What’s the best part about being in your band?
The best part of being in this band is the laughs we share; whether it’s watching a movie in the van, pranking another band, or recalling old tour stories. We have endured so much together, good and bad, and we have a story to go along with a lot of those memories. No matter how rough it is in the middle, it always makes for a good story later that we can laugh about and I’m glad we can reminisce together. I’m glad we don’t take ourselves too seriously and keep things in perspective. We’re still grateful we get to play music full time.
NEW AK: “A MIDWEST SUMMER” JUNE 2013
We’re independently releasing your next project from AK. We have a full length written, and a grandiose story to go with it. We’re going to share part of this story in June with a shorter project entitled “A Midwest Summer” so you guys know where we’re headed. We’re back in the studio with producer Dustin Burnett. You know him from his production on Turn It To Gold, and production/mix on Do You Hear What I Hear. These are jams that we can only picture having the most unforgettable summer of our lives to, so we had to get them out in time for your playlists by the pool and on road trips to music festivals. These new songs don’t sound like any of our releases yet, we’re starting something new, which has made for a difficult process of moving past what we’ve done up until now.
Listen to a full interview with Jeremy on @RadioU! Follow link below for a bundle of exclusive news and explanations on why we left the label and more changes to come: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/abandon-kansas/id212079316?i=137874164&mt=2
It’s not an April Fools’ prank, we promise. Only reason for the ironic timing is because April 2nd Gotee Records is releasing an EP with Turn It To Gold, Chariot, rare b-sides and a new song too. We’re proud of the songs on that EP, and you should download it from iTunes or here on Amazon: http://bit.ly/akgoldep when it comes out, because these songs won’t be on our next album. Support the songs we wrote and recorded, and support Gotee, we had 4 great years over there.
We don’t hit the road again until the end of May in support of the new material and until then we’re going to be keeping to ourselves, off the grid as much as possible. There’s 7 years of pent up inspiration and frustration going into this project and we think you’re going to love it. But we’re paying for this one ourselves so there’s a lot that needs to be taken care of and planned out. We would like to avoid doing a fundraiser as much as you guys would. You guys are smart music fans, and we can put out a successful release with you behind us. Here in a month or so we’re going to need you to be paying attention closely though. Start talkin! Now is when it get’s exciting…
I’m completely confident that God blessed me with a few doses of talent to perform music through years of frugal living in a van to prepare me for missions. I love soaking in the sounds and landscapes all over America and enjoy the diversity of Western culture. A touring artist must be adaptable. You never know where you will sleep, who you will meet, what or when you will get to eat, and safety is never guaranteed. With this in mind, I was excited to go India and get down on some curry.
What I didn’t expect were hundreds of temples and shrines dedicated to gods all over the country. The city of Visakhapatnam was littered with trash, cows having the right of way in the street, complete poverty bound by the caste system, and ugly elephant or monkey statues sitting in colorful temples. We went to the beach one day and a woman ran at me with an actual monkey she used to either bless people or have them pray to it or whatever. All I knew is that I freaked out and nearly knocked both her and the monkey out. It was engrossing to see a beautiful race worship these animal gods. We saw an actual chicken sacrifice executed with deep reverence and were told that some tribes still perform child sacrifices to the gods. Fascination and heartache is what I believe my group felt for these people who put their hope in statues made of animals that play with their own waste.
Through investigation and reflection, it didn’t take long to began to breakdown the gods of American culture, specifically ourselves. Born consumers, we are grown using material things to manipulate the forces of our surroundings in hopes of constructing a certain perception for the world to applaud us. If not praise us, then to make others around us feel inferior either through physical means (such as fashion, beach bodies, and cars) or through intellectual methods. I don’t think I will disassemble my argument due to the fact that I’m not a popular blogger but being what scripture calls a “scoffer” is a method that can be used to belittle others and is carried out easily through blogs. You worship your own ability to retain information and use it to argue with others or display your unapproachable “uniqueness,” namely through right teaching. In an age where sarcasm, irony, and quarreling are praised through blogs, I can’t help but notice that scripture labels scoffers as fools who make themselves the standard of authority and find their pleasure through antagonism.
An area of struggle for me is self-expression. Through music, one is commended for “being a true artist that doesn’t sell out” but in the end what you get is a prideful artist who competes with everyone else and strives to prove their worth. All of these examples are avenues through which we exploit good things to parade around with our bodies, minds, and American toys to serve our desires.
I’m sitting in an empty classroom where young people filter in and out in frantic search for happiness. I can’t help but see young boys with no responsibility who can master video games, whine when its time to do work, and chase vulnerable girls in pursuit of satisfying physical desires. Moreover, young ladies trust their hearts and bodies with these little boys to feel treasured because daddy didn’t do it. Perhaps its not too much of a stretch to say that parents pursuit of promising careers leading to child neglect is a form of child sacrifice? Heartbreak is a broken record in these classrooms because these young people keep shoving finite material where only eternity will fit…
to be continued…
I WENT TO INDIA A FEW WEEKS AGO.
Landscapes, sounds, scents, and faces will soon transition to memories but there are a few blessed moments that God marked as surreal for me in India. Standing upon the rooftops of the orphanage overlooking the city I found a great place of solace where I could retreat to pray, reflect, and partake in thanking God for the beautiful scenery I couldn’t help but drink in daily. A dirty rooftop where the ladies of the orphanage would hang out their clothes to dry and where the little girls would run around and play is where God showed me a glimpse of something eternal. Reflecting our experiences with a few friends one morning under the heat of the Indian sun, I was besieged by a band of beautiful little brown girls hugging on my arms. “Dance with me brother! Chase me brother!” is what I could make out of the eager excitement. Of course the girls heard that I could dance a little like Michael Jackson so I busted out some moves for these girls and they all wanted me to show them how to dance. I tried to teach a handful of these girls how to spin and naturally they would mess up and fall over but every time they would pick themselves back up fervently and look up to me in hopes of nodded approval. As might be expected, my heart rose in attachment to these girls who sought to be delighted in through engaging laughter, song, and dance. Another little orphan girl just wanted to be chased and caught over and over again. Every time I caught her she exploded in laughter and though I grew weary of our little game of tag, her joy escalated as I begged for a chance to catch my breath. Simultaneously, another girl ran up and asked me to dance again and in my minute of exhaustion I pleaded “you dance for me.” There she closed her tiny eyes, raised her bony arms, tilted her crown back and gracefully began twirling in sheer smiles. Joining in unison, the rest of the girls stole my heart as they began twirling under a canopy of smog in a country over populated and filled with untouchables.
I came undone. Every sensibility of mine was violently attacked with the promises of the Gospel here in these unguarded moments I could never recreate. I saw myself in these orphaned girls as they twirled together beautifully weak, needy, hungry, vulnerable, and chosen. I heard…
”You see these orphans? I made them. You see how they long to be cherished, loved, and wanted? That is you before me every day of your life in your famished search for freedom, satisfaction and place of identity. I see you, know you, chase you, woo you, and love you stronger than you could ever feel for these children of mine. Sons, daughters, cowards, and failures find their perfect father in me.”
In their starving for affection, these fragile girls were a direct reflection of my soul’s position before God. If my thirst for elation is directed anywhere else then I dehumanize myself and thus become my own god using every relationship and circumstance to serve my self. Similar to the savoring of the Indian landscapes, our souls were fashioned to indulge in the rivers of living waters that God promises. Our soul needs are to be satisfied only in the offer the Gospel promises. The richest American and this helpless twirling orphan were created to run on the same stuff and to be filled with joy forever through the Gospel.
"Give and Take" live from Florence, South Carolina on The Living Room Tour 4. This song means a lot to our band and we’ve never had a live video capture the vibe of this song like this one. Brought to you by our friends over at Radio Free Florence.