Kansas Bible Company Talks Life as a 12-Man Band, Nashville Dancin' Gig

The Nashville band plans to release its third studio album in early 2015

Despite their name, the group known as the Kansas Bible Company is actually based in Nashville. That makes this Thursday’s appearance as part of  the downtown summer concert series Nashville Dancin’ (presented by Dollar General) all the more special.

Band member Michael Ruth tells The 615 of their performance:

“We’re particularly excited about it. We’re playing with Dumpstaphunk and Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, so it’s definitely an honor to share the bill with the both of them. We love playing outdoor shows like that. I think we really thrive in that setting, being such a large band. Getting to stay bigger stages and in front of more people, and translating what we do to that setting is something we’re looking forward to.”

When Ruth alludes to being a “large band,” it’s not an understatement. There are twelve members in Kansas Bible Company, which he admitted to Billboard can make for a crowded stage on occasion.

More from the 615:

“We always try to figure out a way to make it work – no matter what the scenario is. If that means we all cram on the stage really tightly, or we put a couple of guys on the floor or on the speaker, then that’s what we’ll do. We make it work every time, and it’s really a fun challenge, to be honest with you. People ask us about that all the time, but we really don’t think about that anymore. We’ll fit everyone up there somehow.”

Ruth said the band members were all pretty familiar with each other’s work, with several working together in different organizations. “We all went to college together in Northern Indiana – a school called Goshen College. Just about all of us were pretty good friends, and many of us had played music together in different contexts. Carl, our lead singer, started to bring more people into the picture, and by the end of college, we went from seven to eleven. We came up with the lineup, and everything started clicking and falling into place. So, we moved to Nashville.”

The band has released two discs already -- "Ad Astra Per Aspera" and "Hotel Chicamauga," -- and are working on a third, tentatively set for early 2015. How does Ruth describe their sound? “I usually say psychedelic rock and roll with a horns section. I guess that’s the best way to describe what we do. We all write together. It’s not like one person writes every song, the horn chart, and tells everyone else what to play. We all take a lot of craft and time into writing every single part of every song. One person will come with a song, shows it to the band, and everyone divides off into sections and throws their individual influences into what we’re doing. Between the twelve of us, that’s a massive section of influences. A lot of that ends up manifesting itself in small ways into the music. With twelve people writing together, it’s not like we’re drawing off of one thing. It’s just all over the map.”

One of the career highlights for the Kansas Bible Company so far – was the 2013 release of a video game that promoted their track “Jesus The Horse Thief.” Ruth says you can never tell where an idea will come from. “That was just a random idea that (member) Carl Violet had. When we had the song, it was a theatrical song where we could picture something like that happening to it. Then, we had a good buddy in college who makes his living doing independent video game design. So, we reached out to him, and asked him if he’d be interested making this video game using your own creative input about it based around this song. He took it and ran with it, and made it what it was. We all had input. But we give the credit to Michael Newman for making it what it was. It felt really cool having that. It hasn’t been done much, so it was definitely cool.”