At noon Thursday, a 3-year-old band with strong ties to Jessamine County will take the stage for a second year at the Christian festival in their own backyard.
Absalom Absalom began in March 2009 when Stephen Gallutia, Andrew Foster and Gideon Maki teamed up with Ben Rogers. The four met up in Rogers’ living room with three acoustic guitars and an acoustic bass.
“Ben was like, ‘Somebody’s gotta sing,’” Gallutia said, “and my mom sang a lot and my dad sang a lot in college, so I was like, ‘I’ll try.’”
Gallutia, now 20 and a graduate of West Jessamine High School, has fronted the indie/post-rock band since. Rogers left to attend college at Western Kentucky University, and Foster and Maki remain as the band’s guitarists. Stephen Gallutia’s younger brother, 17-year-old Daniel, drums and will be a senior at West High next year; Wilmore’s 18-year-old Colin Cook mans the bass.
The band has matured a lot from a time when it included trumpet, trombone and accordion and what Gallutia termed “a lot of artistic theatrics without in-tune dynamics.”
“We used to be very experimental and do a lot of group shouting and be a little bit more theatrical,” said Maki, a 19-year-old originally from Wisconsin who was home-schooled in Wilmore for six years. “We’ve grown up a lot in the sound.”
The band’s name comes from a William Faulkner novel but also draws frequent questions about ties to David’s son in the Bible. They don’t label themselves a Christian band but said the influence of their faith inspires a lot of their music.
“The Christian element most definitely comes in through the music,” Maki said. “We try to display it in a very creative way, not so contemporary ... we display our belief system through different stories that have happened to us, especially this upcoming album.”
Absalom Absalom spent eight days in northern Kentucky last week recording their first full-length album, “Movers & Shakers,” which they hope to release in August on CD and cassette tapes with download codes inside.
“(Recording) gave us insight into where we wanted to take it and what we like about our music and what we respect about our own music, but a lot of us looked at it subjectively with good analytical criticism about our own music,” Stephen Gallutia said. “It was really healthy for us.”
This week’s performance on the Edge stage at Ichthus will be the second for all the band’s members except Cook, who attended Absalom’s concert last year at Ichthus but didn’t join the band until this year.
“I think I’ve gone to Ichthus basically every year since I moved here,” Cook said. “It’ll be interesting to be the one on stage instead of the one in the crowd.”
“A lot of bands that I still listen to played on that stage way back in the day,” Maki said, “so just thinking, ‘Oh, we get to play on that stage where I saw some of my favorite bands,’ it was a really encouraging feeling, for sure.”
Foster, a 22-year-old who lives in Jessamine County, said he prefers small, intimate shows but appreciates the chance to reach a new crowd at Ichthus.
“At the end of the day, a stage is still a stage. I’m not as sentimental about it, I suppose,” he said. “... If we can be used in some way to inspire people or encourage people, then so be it.”
Touring is difficult as with all the members in school, but they hope to coordinate some weekend tours in July.
“We’re just a band, and anybody can do what we’re doing,” Maki said. “We’re nothing extremely special; we just really love playing music and presenting who we are in Christ through the music and just our creative attitudes. That’s kind of the motivation.”
For more on the band, visit Absalom Absalom’s Facebook page and www.absalomabsalom.bandcamp.com, where you can purchase their merchandise.