When the neighbor’s cat began showing up to band practice, four Ball State students couldn’t help but attribute their name to their biggest fan. The cat has since moved away, but his legacy lives on in Porch Kat’s name.
Comprised of Kilmer on bass and lead vocals, Brandon Gick on drums and Tyler Padgett and Matthew Keyser on guitar, Porch Kat describes themselves as a “rock, jazz and psychedelic jam band.” However, they don’t like to categorize their sound.
“It’s hard to classify the music you hear in your head as one thing,” Keyser said. “One of our songs is half country shuffle, half trippy spaced out jam.”
Porch Kat also improvises a lot of their music, playing off one another’s sound.
“Sometimes the drummer doesn’t want to end the song yet,” Keyser said, “So, you just have to figure it out from there.”
Who: Porch Kat
When: 8:00 p.m. Oct. 19
Where: Be Here Now
Tickets are $10 for those 18-20 and $5 for those 21 and over
Being able to improvise with each other takes a level of communication that Kilmer said Porch Kat is lucky to have.
“Our musical language with each other is really strong,” Kilmer said. “It’s astounding, it’s a language of its own, and the way we communicate together with it is so fun.”
Because of their great communication, the group’s writing process for songs is very collaborative.
Beginning with a melody, the members of Porch Kat come together and build the song musically before the lyrics are written.
“We’re working on one right now that way, which I think is kind of geared up to be our best,” Kilmer said. “That one started when Matt came to me with a lick, and I was like, ‘That’s really cool. Let’s change the time signatures and make them really strange.’”
Within the collaborative process, most members individually work on their own ideas before deciding to bring them to the group.
“We come together and mash them together and make really cool works of art,” Kilmer said.
While this process works for the band, it is also time consuming. It can take Porch Kat two weeks to have a song ready to play in front of an audience, and even then the song may not be finished.
“We just kind of test the waters in front of an audience,” Kilmer said. “Then we go back and tweak things and let the song just kind of write itself sometimes, and polish itself playing it live.”
Porch Kat currently has a single on SoundCloud and has two recording dates set up in October to create their first extended play record, EP. Keyser said they plan to name the EP “With a K” in reference to the band name since there is a band named “Porch Cat” based in Washington.
“We’re trying to get bigger than them, so we changed it to a ‘K’,” Keyser said. “‘K’ is better.”
In August, Porch Kat opened for Afroman as their fourth show as a band.
“Our first show was a Free Music Monday at Be Here Now, and like 40 or 50 people showed up, and that doesn’t happen at Free Music Monday,” Keyser said. “That’s how we got the Afroman show.”
Since the band just started in March this year, Keyser said performing as one of Afroman’s opening bands at Be Here Now was a proud moment, but he wants to keep moving up from there.
“I certainly hope we do more in the near future,” Keyser said. “I don’t want that to be the top of the list of things I’ve done in my life. For right now, I’m fine with that. That’s a really big show in Muncie.”
However, the Afroman show introduced Porch Kat to a lot of new people who hadn’t heard of them before.
“Since [the Afroman show], it’s been kind of weird because people I don’t know are like, ‘Hey, you opened for Afroman, how was that?’” Keyser said.
In the future, the band plans to make a living from playing music together. Currently, any money Porch Kat makes from their shows goes into a fund for merchandise and future shows. Keyser said their goal is to be able to sustain themselves with the band.
“Right now we’re just making music and having fun,” Kilmer said. “As long as we’re doing that, that’s all that matters.”
Contact Lauren Owens with comments at email@example.com.