– KELSEY LILLION. LEAD VOCALIST
Groove, Funk, Disco, Jam Rock
Members in band:
Kelsey Lillion, Ben Kays, Justin Behn, Justin Fisher, Logan Fogerty, Cooper Schou.
First paid gig:
Redstone Room, 2019
Favorite venue to play at:
Schweibert Park or Redstone Room @ Common Chord
Before gig/On tour Food choice:
‘Sippi’s Bar and Grill (As a whole band)
Justin Behn immediately responds with “Digging a ditch” as the whole band laughs.
Fish fires out “Same”. The laughter quiets.
Frog responds with, “I’d be doing something that involves traveling for work probably.”
Kelsey casually says, “I’d be doing puzzles in my living room.”
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PLAYING MUSIC IN THE QUAD CITIES?
Ben, “A couple local guys wanted to start something completely different years ago. They wanted funk/soul and asked me to come play keyboard and it kept evolving the more people we met. Wulfbriar opened for us one show and we asked “Frog” if he wanted to join. We started off a 3 piece, then a 4 piece, and then we wanted to be bigger than that, and scouted out. We found Justin Behn and JB introduced us to Fish. Kelsey, well she lived here. When the time came that we needed a singer we all knew Kelsey had the vocals, and I knew how talented of a writer she is and so it just made sense to have her take a swing and it ended up working out for the best!”
WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR A FIRST TIME FAN AT YOUR SHOW?
Fish, “I can answer this question! The very first time I saw these guys it was just something different and I had never seen/heard anything quite like it. It really sucked me in. I was never the type of person to be out on a dance floor, dancing especially in the crowd. Their grooves were on it, I mean overall the music was phenomenal.”
Kelsey, “I think it’s a surprising energy, people come, and they don’t know who we are and then we come out HOT, upbeat dancing with choreography off the bat and it’s contagious. So yeah, surprising contagious energy.”
Ben, “So we do these songwriting sessions, where each of us brings the sort of bare-bones of a song and then we usually finish them as a whole or get close to it, and then we hand it over to Kelsey. It’s cool because Kelsey will ask each of us questions like, what were you thinking when you started this, what kind of themes, or feelings did you have. She really puts herself into the headspace we were at when writing the progressions.”
Kelsey, “It’s really a group effort, these guys were inspired by something, whether it’s another song, or emotion and so I don’t want to take it and just run away in a different direction with it if they had a certain idea about it, and that helps inspire me and where I take it lyrically and melodically”.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS IN THE QC MUSIC SCENE?
Ben, “ We’re all really disciplined. You know, we practice a few times a week, and during those practices we’re all really focused on the music and sound. I hate wasting other peoples time and it means a lot that these guys are taking the time to learn certain songs or parts or choreography. On top of that we have our songwriting sessions. We’re just really focused and because of the respect and friendships it has helped made us better and better.”
Justin Behn, “There’s definitely a loyal group of people who are almost a guaranteed to be in the crowd, and they’re out in the crowd singing our original music! You know, that means a lot to me!”
Kelsey, “Our returning crowd holds a special place in my heart, it means a lot that they come to almost every show and sing our songs, seeing their faces really does have an impact on my performance.“
ARE THERE ANY REASONS YOU DON’T LIKE PLAYING IN THE QC AREA?
Kelsey, “Luckily all of us know how to run sound well but some places may not have a sound engineer, or proper equipment & so it’s up to the bands and that’s a cost factor these venues need to consider if they want a high-quality production of sound to be playing there.”
Ben, “One way to solve this is that the venue needs to view the band booking process as a partnership, you know they may have a stage but how are you helping these musicians besides that. We’re there to elevate the mood and make people have a great time and help bring sales and traffic into the venue. It’s a give-give situation, if we have a good experience through sound setup and assistance on anything we need, etc. then that in turn is going to reflect in our performance. One of my favorite times playing was in the parking lot of Coffee House, and they went as far as having a drink named after us and on their marketing materials, that meant alot to us and helped engage customers with our show as well. I’d say the venues just need to help promote the shows just as much for the love of our music community.”
Fish, “Don’t give up, if you’re jamming in your bedroom alone it doesn’t make your practicing invalid in comparison to a full band practicing. It’s about the music and the right people will come.”
Justin Behn, “Take every gig, no matter what! Whether you’re a guitar player, drummer, whatever, no matter what band or if you get asked to fill in or to join this band. Don’t turn anything down because every band, every gig is a learning experience. It may not feel like it in the beginning, but you will learn something from every gig and every musician you play with.”
Ben, “and to add to what JB said, take every gig seriously! Give it your all! From a preparation standpoint to an equipment stand point, to a performance & energy stand point. The crowd can definitely sense it ya know, I mean we played one of our best shows standing in a parking lot!”
Frog, “If you can’t find gear to play, our scene is amazingly supportive and chances are if you are serious and you ask around there are musicians and organizations dedicated to helping you and finding the resources you need.”
Fish, “The fun experience of our show, come out and see it for yourself!”
Kelsey, “It’s all about the energy and the elevation. We keep the atmosphere fun and we hope you leave feeling enlightened.”
Frog, “You’ll come in, you’ll get lost in the music, sucked into the gaze if you will. Time will move faster and you’ll have an out-of-this-world experience, HA!”
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