When Fall Line Fest announced their line-up for their inaugural event, there were tons of good bands on the list like Cold Cave and Richmond’s own No BS!
When Fall Line Fest announced their line-up for their inaugural event, there were tons of good bands on the list like Cold Cave and Richmond’s own No BS! Brass Band, but there was just one band I had to see: Kopecky Family Band. Their debut album, Kids Raising Kids, was re-released earlier this year exposing many, myself included thanks to the insistence of my wife, to their music for the first time.
Check out some of Kopecky Family Band’s music while you read:
It’s hard not to put the album on repeat for a whole week with its great harmonies, lush melodies, and fantastic energy that comes from the six-person band from Nashville. If you release a best song list of 2013 and exclude “Heartbeat, Hope,” or even “My Way,” it’d be painfully obvious you skipped over this record. As people quickly started filling up The Camel before their set, it seemed I wasn’t alone with knowing they were a true band to watch out for. Stephen Lecky, from Venture Richmond and the one in charge of Fall Line Fest at The Camel, seemed to agree. “They were the one band I just had to get. We booked them before they appeared on Leno so it was great to be able to get them before they really blow up. I can’t wait for them to go on.” Eagerly awaiting the set, I caught drummer David Krohn outside The Camel before their show. Just by himself with a beer in hand, he was more than gracious to talk to me before his band closed out Fall Line Fest’s first night with an uncanny set.
So is this normally what you like to do before shows: just hang out?
Yeah, I mean, a lot of times, I’ll just go off by myself. I’m a lone wolf I guess. I’ll just wander out and try to explore the city I’m in. Obviously I can’t get too far, but sometimes, I’ll find a hole-in-the-wall bar, have a drink, and just kind of take it all in. Occasionally, I’ll have conversations with some people at the bar, you know those guys who just hang out by themselves and are already drunk. They’re just some of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had.
Do you think wanting to go off by yourself comes from being crammed in that bus for so long?
No, I don’t think so. We built bunks in it so the six of us, Evan [tour manager], and June [vocalist/guitarist Gabe Simon’s wife] can all really have our own space without being crammed in. We haven’t had it long, but it’s a lot better than the van we used to have. We mounted a screen inside for movies or video games too so that’s an added plus. It’s just another thing to make me think we’re getting spoiled.
Note: A car and a city bus later clipped their new bus and took off a mirror. Richmond says sorry!
What else is spoiling you?
People showing up to our shows! We’ve played for crowds of about ten people for more times than I can remember. Just the venue staff and maybe like a few others. Having a good sized crowd show up just to hear your music is definitely something different. It takes some getting used to.
So how weird is to see your name on posters like for Fall Line Fest?
Oh, incredibly. If we played a festival, we were either not on the poster or like that last line of bands you’ve never heard of. Now, we’re on the second line from the top for tonight’s show. It took us a long time, but it’s definitely cool to see our band name getting more and more promoted.
So have you ever been to Richmond before?
Umm, apparently? I was told that we had been here about four years ago, but I honestly can’t remember that show. All the shows were such a blur back then.
Note: Singer Kelsey Kopecky said during their set that the show was at Alley Katz, now known as The Kingdom.
Is that blur getting worse at all as you’re getting more and more well-known?
No, actually it’s slowing down a lot. I think I’m getting more used to the lifestyle which is a good and bad thing.
What are your thoughts about Fall Line Fest?
I don’t know a lot about this festival, but it’s got a real good energy. There seems to be a lot going on and people coming & going. I imagine it’s what SXSW was like the first year.
You’ve played SXSW before, right?
Yeah, we do it every year. We’ve played the past five years.
How would you say it’s changed since you guys first did it?
Well, honestly, each year I think it gets bigger & bigger which is better for fans and worse for musicians. I mean, you’re doing like 10 shows in the span of a few days so the bigger the event gets, that stuff is just going to grow. It just gets to be a lot. Like they close off streets so you’re hauling gear for blocks and blocks it seems just to get to the next venue which definitely wears on you. But for music fans, it’s great because it’s only get bigger with more bands and better bands.
How’s this tour been so far?
It’s been really long. We’ve taken some breaks like we just came from Nashville, our home town, where we just hung out for a few days. Really though, we’ve just been touring straight since January. Right after this, we’re getting ready to go on tour supporting Michael Franti [& Spearhead] so that’s good too. My mom loves Michael Franti so it was nice to be able to tell her that. It’s just weird because you’re travelling and doing all these things just to prepare for your half-hour or hour set late at night. We’re taking a nice long break off towards the end of September or early October so we’ll have several weeks to be at home. Of course, we’re still going out and playing on the weekends so it’s not fully time off, but I’m looking forward to it.
What are you looking forward to do when you get home?
Do laundry, cook actual meals, enjoy the outdoors; you know, just remember what it’s like to be an actual human being.
Any plans for the next album?
We have some tentative stuff planned. I think our plan is to get in the studio early next year, probably in January. We’ve got three songs that are just about ready to go, but it’s just hard. We’re writing songs mostly at sound check before the shows so sometimes, we’re trying stuff out for maybe an hour and other times it’s less than fifteen minutes. It makes the process a lot harder, but we’re getting there.
Do you know any of the other bands playing tonight here?
I love James Wallace & The Naked Light. They’re my favorite band from Nashville and I remember the first time I saw them, I was blown away not only from their music but from the fact that I didn’t know them! I went to college in Nashville for music business and my professor told me that Nashville’s a great place because you’re going to know every single person in the music scene since it’s so close-knit. He was totally right too: you just know everyone. When I saw James Wallace, it just blew me away that he was from Nashville and we hadn’t met yet.
College for music business?
All of us in the band have actually gone to college for it.
Have you gotten to use a lot of it in your career so far?
I mean, yeah. The thing about our classes on music business is that they give you all the vocabulary you need, but don’t ever tell you how to use it. It’s hard to explain, but it definitely helped us in the beginning when we would do everything ourselves.
Okay, final question, what’s your favorite song to play live?
Umm, actually a cover. We do this cover of a Fleetwood Mac song, “Tusk.” For the longest time, our manager would be on us saying, “You got to play a cover! It will get the crowd really into it.” We started doing “Tusk” and we just love it. It’s really cool to see the crowd react as they start to realize what it is because it takes you a while to get to the big part of the song. It’s funny though because that New York Times article compared us to Fleetwood Mac and some people get really protective of their bands. Like saying “if you like Fleetwood Mac, try us” means that we’re just as good or better than them which is not what we’re saying. But yeah, I love playing “Tusk.” Such a great song.
Thanks so much for your time, David.