What: School Knights
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: UMS Main Stage, 21 S. Broadway, Denver
Cost: Single-day pass $25, four-day pass $35
The Underground Music Showcase will host about 320 local bands in Denver this weekend, and for two of them, it will be a final bow.
One of them is School Knights — a band that has tweaked its lineup and genre a few times but will end as Ben Donehower, Morris Kolontyrsky, Cam Rottner and Michael Stein playing the “party rock” of the band’s earlier EP. But if you listen to Lethargy, the band’s last record, you’ll hear them slowing down and experimenting with very pretty results.
We talked with Stein to find out why the band is calling it quits. Long story short, they needed a change and have more than enough to do with their many other bands.
This will be your last show. I’m sorry to hear that.
Yeah, it’s fine. It’s not for any bad reasons.
Is this mostly to do with financial realities, or was it just time to move on?
We’re still in bands together and stuff like that. We’ve been in School Knights for coming up on three and a half years or something like that. We’ve changed genres like five times and switched members around a few times. … We’ve thought about changing the name. But we went to South by Southwest this past March and we saw a ton of bands that we were way more excited about than our own band, which is not a good thing. The last album we did, we were really stoked about. We just wanted to start a new project.
It sounds like it didn’t have anything to do with being out of place in a jam-heavy scene then.
We’ve all lived out here for at least four years now. We’ve never really identified ourselves as a specifically Colorado band. We all met in Boulder and didn’t want to be a Boulder band, and I think at the same time that we moved out here, a lot of bands that we liked moved away from Denver. Not to say that the scene is awful or anything. We totally enjoy it, but we’re all from out of state. We just want to be a band, not a regional thing.
You got to put out one last album right before wrapping up. Tell me about that.
Well, when it started out it was just a two-piece. It was me and a different drummer. It was my side project from the band I was in at the time. Then we kind of hit a wall with that, so we started adding people.
The EP that we put out before Lethargy — at the time we were really excited about it, but I think all of us grew up a lot since we put it out. It was kind of party rock or something, which is not what we wanna be about at all. Not in a bragging way, but we all knew we could do something more complicated than that. We decided we would say fuck it to all of that, the advice we were getting from people. We wanted to put out something pretty. That was our goal, but it was probably our least-well received. I feel like, since we didn’t change our name, it kind of alienated the small amount of people who gave a shit and the people we wanted to listen to it probably had preconceived notions and didn’t listen.
That last song, “And the Moon Descends Upon the Temple, Which Was,” is a doozy.
The reason it has that name — the classical composer DeBussy, the starting progression is taken from one of his songs. It’s the second movement of the Quartet in G Minor by him. I first stumbled on that a couple years ago from a friend who’s a cellist. I originally looped it for a sample I was working on. I never used it, but I really love that chord progression and we wanted to incorporate it in that song. We started doing it as a live thing way before we ever recorded it and we wanted it as a transition between songs. That’s why it’s kind of spacey for the first half. For better or for worse we got into this style for the last album. We didn’t want to repeat anything so we started writing in this linear manner and just let it come to and end.
Are you planning to go out in any spectacular fashion on Friday?
We’re only gonna play the first songs that we wrote, so it’s going to be more of the party rock stuff. Not too many people got into the last album and shit, so since it’s our last show we figured we’ll play all the stuff we’ll never play again and have some fun.