Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Members: Kelsey Kopecky (vocals, keys), Gabe Simon (vocals/guitar), Corey Oxendine (bass), Markus Midkiff (cello), Steven Holmes (violin), David Krohn (drums)
Album: The Disaster EP
For Fans Of: Arcade Fire, Stars, Eisley
The Kopecky Family Band isn’t actually a family, whatever Google would have you think. Despite multiple search results for Gabe Kopecky, the vocalist and guitar player actually has the decidedly less Polish surname of Simon. The band’s namesake derives singularly from Kelsey Kopecky, a maternal-yet-feisty songstress who spends days off babysitting for her booking agent.
Still, the six-piece outfit is a close coterie of friends. In fact, Simon attributes their songwriting prowess to the ability to perform a Vulcan mind meld of sorts. “[Kelsey] and I have this natural ability to sing together and predict what each other will end up doing,” says Simon. “One time we were on this writing retreat and started signing the exact same melody at the exact same time. It wasn’t another song, it was something we both came up with,” he said.
The band formed at Belmont University, a place from which two of its members, including Simon, just graduated in May. Every six months they pack up, head to a cabin in either South Carolina or Kentucky and churn out songs with a clarity of mind that can’t be achieved when bogged down with the realities of daily life.
“We get there, we all go to the grocery store together and we spend half the time in our swim suits,” Kopecky says. “It’s the coolest time to write, at two in the morning.”
Each song is a collaboration of different sensibilities mapped out like a storyboard to a movie. One person will come up with a scene and the Family will riff on it, filling in lines and melodies. Each band member has distinct influences and musical obsessions ranging from Al Green to Radiohead, but the combination works. The band switches up its sound as frequently as its members exchange their instruments. With six people delivering such exuberant and joyful performances, comparisons to the Arcade Fire are inevitable. However, Gabe, who looks like Colin Meloy but sings nothing like him, is reluctant to compare Kopecky Family Band to any act out there. “We’re more inspired by each other than what we listen to,” he says.
Kopecky agrees, but adds that sometimes the amount of contributors can make the songwriting process a little chaotic. Their latest creation, the fantastic “My Way,” is an inside joke about that very process. The dialogue is between Kopecky and Simon, with the latter pleading his bandmates to see things from his perspective.
Whether the band will heed his request remains to be seen. Simon and Kopecky have been working on some less traditional creative projects as of late, including covering a Cole Porter song for an independent movie and helping a fan propose to his girlfriend during a dinner date. While the Family has four or five new demos and is working on four or five more, they don’t expect their debut full length to come until next year.
“We’re really focusing on touring and our live show right now,” Simon explains. “We want people to have a good representation of our band just seeing us play.”