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Social Cinema's rising star

Social Cinema is, left to right, Logan Bush, Austin Engler, Griffin Bush, Mari Crisler, Reed Tiwald
Justin Labadie
courtesy photo
Social Cinema is, left to right, Logan Bush, Austin Engler, Griffin Bush, Mari Crisler, Reed Tiwald

Social Cinema brings together former members of Wichita's Kill Vargas and Lincoln, Nebraska's Death Cow.

Social Cinema's five members are cast between two hometowns — Lincoln, Nebraska and Wichita, but that doesn't mean that the music isn't cohesive.

Drawing Mari Crisler and Reed Tiwald from Lincoln's acclaimed Death Cow and brothers Logan and Griffin Bush as well as Austin Engler from Wichita's Kill Vargas, Social Cinema proves that the musicians have lost none of the momentum or creativity heard in their previous outfits.

Like Johnny Rotten leaving behind the Sex Pistols to becomes John Lydon once more and start Public Image Limited, Social Cinema's music refines the uncompromising youthfulness of their previous outfits, melding it with sounds that are frequently subtler, more thoughtful and consistently reaching for musical heights.

Social Cinema will perform Thursday, August 18 at Norton's Brewing Company in Wichita as it celebrates the release of its second EP "Causing Scenes."

Drummer and co-founder Logan Bush recently spoke with KMUW about the band's journey to date.

Interview Highlights

Logan, I think the last time we talked the first Social Cinema single was out and now there's an EP and a second one on the way.

It was good to put something out as this new band, get a fresh start and have a new way to think about the band. It does feel different than all of our previous projects. All of our shows have been really good so far. It's hard to gauge the reaction to the EP because we haven't really played since we released it.

This is a new band and you all have history with other groups, but I would imagine that maybe there's some fans who didn't follow you and maybe some who aren't aware of the previous bands.

That was definitely a discussion we had for months before we started to start fresh. It had been two years since Kill Vargas of Death Cow had played any shows. So it felt like people would be open to a change anyway. Our deciding to just go for it was boost of confidence. Instead of saying, "Hey, remember us?" we just said, "Let's be a really good band and everything will work out."

MX: I've been in multiple bands in Lincoln and Omaha. So we've had fans that liked our music since we were 16 years old. They followed us through the years. It was really cool to see those people still follow Social Cinema. One thing Logan does really well is keep people engaged and he's done that.

You can hang out with people and be friends with them but creating art with them is something different. Was there a moment in the formation of the band when you all talked about whether it would actually work. Like, "Maybe the music won't be what we think it will be"?

Since we played so many shows together the chemistry was there; we didn't have to go through that awkward stage of how to play with each other because already had that down. That was why it was such a good fit. Before Mari, we tried a few people and it just didn't work out.

So we didn't really ever have a fear of not being able to play well and mesh together and create together. Because of like the long history we've had just playing with each other at shows and just like hanging out with each other and staying with each other and all that, like I feel like that is the important part of getting like a band chemistry together. I knew that we would hit the ground running.

I just went to my first show in two years a couple of weeks ago. And it was such a different environment. Not that I felt like people were obnoxious in the past, but it was more like people were really grateful to be there. They weren't going to spoil it. There was this self-policing element to it. Do you have, as performers, a sense of the difference between shows two years ago and now?

I definitely feel that same thing, what you're saying. People looked at shows and said, "OK, I can go to this or I can go to the next one. Because there's always going to be shows." Now there's a chance that it may not be that way. It's never been that way before. There's always been live music and rock shows. Now, I think, people say, "OK, we should really support this and try to go out while we have it." Other than that I don't really know that I notice much of a difference in the energy or the fan base. It's the same old rock show and the same good live energy but I think people are a little more stoked now because of such the long break in between.

I was talking with somebody another band earlier today, and they haven't played much in the way of all-ages shows. Ever. They've been a band for 15 years and they played maybe seven all-ages shows. So I'm curious because you all came up in the all-ages scene, do you I feel like there's like another wave of all ages happening where it's like there's more venues springing up and there's more venues that are not as interested in selling alcohol. Do you have a sense of people saying that this should be more inclusive, that music should be more inclusive, venues should be more inclusive.

I definitely feel that is a big angle that some people are taking after COVID. It's really important to make sure that the young kids are coming out because there's not that much time before the next group of kids will start putting on shows and doing stuff for themselves. Making sure that young kids are coming out to the show is crucial in terms of keep your scene alive.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.