The Story of the Killer Bees

By December 1, 2015COWORKING

How coworking inspired the formation of a rock band
Interview by Hive Member ClaireZane Murphy

brodie logo“Music is undeniably a healing force, it makes me come alive. The world needs more folks doing what makes them come alive. If I have any talent with music, I want to give it away, for other people’s hearts.” – Brodie Kinder

Brodie Kinder & the Killer Bees at Mountain Harvest Festival 2015

Brodie Kinder & the Killer Bees at Mountain Harvest Festival 2015

Brodie Kinder and the Killer Bees, a homegrown Paonia band, are creating quite a buzz in town. Before ever seeing the band live I heard stories about their stage presence, and at this year’s Mountain Harvest Festival I witnessed the band’s powerful connection with their community first hand. This is a one-on-one interview with bandleader and Hive Member Brodie Kinder, taking us behind the scenes of his group’s formation (at the Hive!) and the intention behind their big sound.

CZM: So first of all, can you start with a brief history of the band?

BK: We formed here in town, December of 2014. I’d played in bands before but I had been performing as a solo artist for over a year, with a few duo/trio collaborations, and that winter I felt it was finally time. I wanted a BIG sound. So I started secretly auditioning friends around town. “Hanging out and jamming” was code for, “do you got the chops for my band?” It was a pretty fun process to find the right folks.

 

CZM: How did you ask them?

BK: Haha, do you want the long or the short version? Well, the first one was Dakin Henderson. He was a Hive member and the videographer of Lost Cabin Productions, and I heard he played keyboard. So we jammed at his house and he was killing it! Later that day I worked up the courage to ask him, “Do you wanna be in my band?” And then same thing with Chris Faison. We would always pass by each other in the halls at the Hive – come to find out he’s a stellar saxophone player! He is the real deal. He melts faces. In fact, a lot of the covers we chose were based on the fact that he could shred on sax. Chris King was also a friendly face walking around the Hive, working for Shadescapes. I found out he was a drummer through Andrew Cranson, who eventually became our bass player and happens to be one of the funniest dudes and best hunting guides on the western slope. And present throughout the whole process was Melanie Jean, my sweetheart, harmony singer, co-writer and now current bass player. She and I met in the spring of 2014 and have played as a duo wherever there’s an opportunity. She only picked up bass last November, but worked hard to fill in for Andrew since he’s guiding this time of year. We miss him dearly. Then lastly, to fill in our horn section, we inquired with the ubiquitous Dave Noe, the man with the Purple Trombone. Turns out he’s one of the sweetest guys and really had what we were looking for. Yeah, so that’s kind of the long of it all. But we got started at the Hive and one day in practice we were trying to figure out our name and someone was like “The Killer Bees” and we were like, “Done. That’s the one.”

CZM: Is that paying homage to the Hive?

BK: Totally. That’s where it all began.

CZM: That’s pretty cool. So a theme that was coming up for me as I was doing some research on your band was that it’s connected with community. Could you speak to how the Paonia community impacts your band? Having your home here — is there a difference when you’re playing in Paonia since people in the community know you in different capacities?

BK: Yeah, it has been quite the community affair. Do you believe in the power of affirmation?

CZM: Totally.

BK: I believe that Paonia is kind of like this laser-focused network of intention and manifestation. If humans were stars, Paonia would be a tight, bright constellation. So it’s been cool to see the community show up to help manifest those dreams and intentions. We were gifted the practice space we have now, in the garage of this AMAZING family’s home. They’ve got a gaggle of kids and it’s been so cool to hang out with them and be welcomed into the family essentially.

I believe music is a form of deep expression that communicates a message. Ever since traveling in this group called Up with People I’ve been wanting to make music that connects people in a positive way. I traveled around with 100 young people from 20 different countries, and after being at a place for about a week doing community service, we performed this big show as a thank you. The message was one of peace, hope, and understanding. So for me, I love seeing the impact of music and being able to give people permission to “shake what yo momma gave ya!” Music is undeniably a healing force; it makes me come alive. The world needs more folks doing what makes them come alive. If I have any talent with music, I want to give it away, for other people’s hearts.

CM: That partially answers one of my next questions, which is, do you have a hope or an intention for the audience to have an experience or connection while listening to the band?

BK: Yes and there has been a lot of positive feedback resonating those intentions. My aim is for people to feel some levity in their life, some celebration, some joy and excitement. After the Mountain Harvest Festival show everyone was buzzing about how good they felt. It was like a group high. I feel like when I’m performing with the band we’re channeling energy. Something magical happens in front of a live audience. You can feel it in the room.

killerbeesCM: Something I noticed is that you have a lot of audience interaction. You’re really playful and you seem really present. What is it like for you to be up in front of an audience and how has that evolved for you?

BK: I don’t necessarily intend for my shows to be funny but there ends up being a comedic aspect because you know, life is pretty funny. And stuff happens. So I try to be really present with what happens. I think it is necessary to interact with the audience. The show is a communion. I could perform to an audience of two people or a thousand, and if I don’t ever acknowledge them through a joke or some interaction then what am I doing? I feel so alive when I’m interacting with the audience. Have you ever seen the Blue Man Group?

CZM: Not live

BK: Well there’s a part where they teach the audience how to rock out. So it’s like first put the fist up, then do the head bang. . . very often, even in the duo shows, we’ll do a song where we make the audience have to do a karate chop. So imagine there’s a pile of bricks in front of you and you have to “HUH!!” (motions karate chop) at a particular spot in the song. It’s a playful thing but the audience gets to be as much a part of the song as the musicians are. There is a magical aspect that turns on when we’re up there. It’s so much bigger than me or the band. It’s pretty cool.

CZM: In the book The Artist’s Way (http://juliacameronlive.com/) the author talks about connecting with spirituality in your creative process. In what way did participating in the Artist’s Way workshop impact your creative process with your band members and perhaps with just yourself as a musician?

BK: Something that I’m still figuring out is my writing process. I think I’m pretty decent at performing and leading a band, but the writing aspect, before I can call forth the intention, that’s where I’m still learning to trust myself. So you know, now I’ve given myself permission to make crappy music until I figure it out! My friend once said that it takes some poop to make a garden (laughter). It gave me permission to suck (laughter).

CZM: Failure is compost right?

BK: Totally. And the morning pages have been a great outlet for that “poop” that can clog your creative flow. Giving yourself the permission to turn off the critic for your own artistic process.

CZM: Awesome. What are some of the most influential teachers who have impacted your creative process?

BK: Being raised in the Unity church — which is more of a practical spiritual community than a religion — definitely influenced me (unity.org). Within the Sunday school curriculum we would meditate and be mindful, being accountable for the thoughts and the feelings that we have. We learned that we could actually change our reality through positive affirmation and meditation. And as a teenager you’re like “That’s cool, whatever, this is kind of boring, these girls are cute. . .” but actually the lessons really started sinking in, and I’m so grateful for that. One of my originals, “222,” is an affirmation song. It’s an honest catchy tune and if you embody the lyrics it’s a pretty powerful tool. A simple melody mixed with a mantra makes an impact and a great dance tune (big smile), lyrics with intention.

Another influence growing up was Leroy White, this beautiful old Rastafarian with a long dreaded beard. At our Unity retreats he would perform spirit-evoking tunes with live looping and ambiance. He would sing into my soul, making me feel bigger on the inside. There’s a song I’ve been meaning to cover that he does, “I know what Love is”, as I know it, (singing) “I know exactly what love is, love is both tender and true. Love is a feeling my heart has when I’m being held close by you” (singing ends). It takes you through this whole journey and I just remember bawling my eyes out as a kid.

CZM: Beautiful. Wow, lots of activism, lots of community, lots of connection. It’s really cool.

BK: Same team huh?

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Brodie Kinder Live at the Hive, May 2015, Photo by Joanna Calabrese

CZM: Yeah. It’s almost like you belong in Paonia (laughter). So is there anything coming up in the future that you want people to know about? Any cool things happening touring in the next few months that you want to mention?

BK: We’ll be posting more videos from Mountain Harvest Festival, and then there’s a few things happening on the Front Range in Denver. We may squeeze in another show here in town around New Years as well.

CZM: Is there anything that you hope will happen in the future of your band’s story? Any big vision that you have?

BK: Well, there’s one thing that always comes to mind. It would be a dream to be able to play at Red Rocks and hold the microphone out to the audience as they’re singing back the words I wrote at full volume. That would be so cool.

CZM: Wow, what a reflection that would be. Anything else you want people to know about your band that they might not know already?

BK: We may be rock stars in Paonia, but we started out in my single-wide trailer kitchen. Humble beginnings.

Interview by Hive Member ClaireZane Murphy 

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