Kill Vargas Expands Sound, Lineup With 'Laugh It Off'

May 2, 2019

Wichita's Kill Vargas celebrates the release of its new album, Laugh It Off, on Friday, May 3, at Norton's Brewing Company with a free, all-ages show. The concert also sees the band kicking off the West Coast leg of its latest tour with dates that will carry the quartet to San Diego, Portland and Salt Lake City by mid-month.

Formed by brothers Logan (drums) and Griffin Bush (guitar/vocals) as well as their childhood friend, Austin Engler (bass), the outfit has recently expanded to include guitarist Trent Gaddie.

The Bush brothers recently spoke with KMUW about the new album and the group's continued evolution.

Interview Highlights

Is there stuff on this record that you would not have tried in the past?

Griffin Bush: We have a song that is a lot more groove-y I guess on the record. It's called "Don't Remind Me." We would have never even thought of trying [that in the past] or we would have tried it but it wouldn't have worked the way it turned out now. Another weird song is the closer. It's called "Overdramatic." It's this short, little summary track. I almost like to think of it as the end credits of the album.

You're [releasing] an album and there's that school of thought right now that says, "Why would you bother? People don't listen to them." Yet here you are doing it, which, personally, I think is a great thing. Can you talk a little bit about that decision to go ahead and buck the trend?

Logan Bush: I think that's how it is now, it is bucking the trend. I don't think we've ever based our band off what the musical climate is. We wanted to put out a full-length record, so that's our plan.

GB: I tried to make it pretty hard-hitting. I didn't want it to be too long. We have 10 tracks on it. There's not a lot of downtime in between tracks. It's song-to-song-to-song-to-song. We even have some transitions between songs. Knowing that it's so easy for people to listen to a song here and there, we really tried to force them to listen to the whole thing. In the end, I think, for us, and just for bands in general, they know that they have to put out good records any more to get people to listen to them.

This time out you introduced Trent Gaddie into the band. Prior to this, it had been the three of you forever and ever. Some people say, "Change the lineup, change the chemistry." Was there any trepidation about inviting him in?

GB: Not really with him. There was a tour a while back where Austin couldn't make it. We'd been good friends with Trent and the Tideway guys and we'd been on the road with them. So when Austin couldn't make it, [we said], "Let's see if Trent can learn five songs. We can take him on this week-long thing." It went great. We were getting along really well. It already felt good. So, when we brought up the idea that we needed another guitarist because these songs were getting too complex to do with three people, we immediately went back to Trent. He was more than happy to [help us out]. It's been going great ever since.

LB: It makes it sound like more of a band, the full-formed Kill Vargas once we added Trent.

Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.