The Story Thus Far... In late 2005 gravity started to pull four very different but passionate artists together. Steve Slesser having played for several bands (Chelseys Wode, Molly Mcguiers, and Jove to name a few) started to feel an insatiable itch to join forces with his brother and lead guitarist Keith. They both had dreams since youth of being in a band together. After they united, bassist and mad scientist Rob Nye, having recently come off the road with "Space Station Integration" felt a similar itch to join with Steve. As he described it, he felt a pull to be a part of a project with him. The three men began to practice songs they each had written and realized that something very special was brewing. During this time Aaron Gagne, who had played toured and released several albums with bands "Rainchildren" and "Reveal" was practicing drum kit daily in the hopes of eventually getting back into music. As the spirit would draw, these three passionate players and song writers ventured out to a local spot, The Alley Kat where they had been honing their craft at an open mic session weekly. Gagne happened to wander in there for a pint and some food. The three guys walked through the doors and the rest is history. The four brothers had an instant and some what indescribable connection. After performing together a couple years and releasing a five song EP, Kyle Kettering joined the band bringing his horn and keyboard skills to add spice to this already flavorful group! For five years "Kheris", as they later became known have been building a grass roots following in the Central PA and beyond. Hailing from Lancaster, PA, a town that has birthed some greats... Live, Innocence Mission, Denison Witmer, The Ocean Blue, the list could continue... Kheris has been building momentum and branching out to new territories. The recent Dewey Beach Music Festival and Conference united this young band to a further passion. In an area that is fortunate to have a wealth of talent, Kheris wishes to push boundaries and draw on a scene that has been going in waves for years...Stay tuned as Kheris' story develops...
Steve Slesser: guitar,vocals
Keith Slesser: guitar, vocals
Rob Nye: bass
Aaron Gagne: drums,vocals
Kyle Kettering: horns, keybord, vocals
Kheris(EP) 5 tracks
Release Date:May 6,2007
"Relapse" a single from the ep received airplay on the following radio stations: WXPN out of Philadelphia, 105.7 the X & 90.3 WJTL...
The album is available here http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/kheris-ep/id274868717
The World Outside: 10 track digital release.
Release Date: August 2 2010
A single "Kiss" is currently in rotation on FM 90.3 WJTL in Lancaster PA
The album is available here...
[+ Show ]
To many people, “pop” is a dirty word. It invokes an image of a pre-packaged, overproduced pap too g...To many people, “pop” is a dirty word. It invokes an image of a pre-packaged, overproduced pap too geared towards mass appeal to actually connect with any one individual.
Kheris, however, effuses a pop sensibility that acts as a vehicle to reach people on an authentic level. In this sense, popular doesn’t mean watered down, or crafted to meet the standards of a test group. As guitarist Keith Slesser describes, while Kheris’ songs have a traditional structure, the band “allows each song to take its own course naturally.”
What amounts from that natural course is a musical tour de force that encompasses every aspect of the band, from the unyielding rhythm of percussionist Aaron Gagne to lead vocalist and primary songwriter Steve Slesser’s soulful melodies, which are evocative without being sappy, powerful without being overbearing, combining the emotional urgency of Robert Smith and the epic grandeur of Bono.
But while the members count stadium rockers U2,
Radiohead and Led Zeppelin among their prominent influences, for this Lancaster-based band, it’s all about relationships. “We just want to connect …” Steve says, “to each other, to the audience and to the individual listener.” This concern with connectivity permeates everything the band does. From festival shows (Purple Door, Freedom Fest) to intimate coffeehouse gigs to interviews, Kheris infuses its performances with well-crafted pop songs that are accessible without being pandering.
A live performance with Kheris is a master class in layering and careful (almost compulsive) arrangement. No one musician in Kheris takes the lion’s share of the sound of any song; in other words, there’s no star, no possible way to achieve the “song” without everyone putting his unique part into the mix. It’s a sound that has a constantly evolving, “can’t put your finger on it” transcendence that has to be experienced to be understood.
“On the eighth day, God looked down on his creation and cried. And so on the ninth day, he created Kheris,” muses Kyle Kettering, Kheris’ lovably intense horn player, waxing poetical about the band’s beginnings. While its actual start, which occurred three years earlier, was a bit more modest, it did have a certain epic quality. For the members in the band, there was something about coming together at that particular moment, with that particular lineup, that clicked from the outset. “It was faith that put the band together,” says Keith, “and that comes out when we play as a sense of purpose, both lyrically and musically.”
The name Kheris is derived from the Greek word meaning “grace.” While rightfully eschewing the “Christian” rock label, the guys in the band do share something that gives their music a grace and transcendence (transcendence of the often snide “pop” label, the hedonism of rock and roll, the day jobs that they have to work in order to make their music possible). It is as if their elegant, complex arrangements are the musical equivalent of a cathedral: a musical structure created to evoke a sense of wonder, a sense of almost striving to reach a goal that is so ethereal it can’t ever quite be attained.
Though Kheris puts faith firmly at the front of its purpose, the members are not ham-handed preachers. It’s just that when everyone in a band feels a certain way or has a similar outlook on life, it’s going to come out in the music they play. But in the way that nobody should label Rage Against The Machine as socialist rock because its members happen to agree about politics, people shouldn’t assume that because a band has “faith,” its every waking moment is spent infusing that faith into what it writes.
“Look,” Kettering says, “people write about what they know. A squirrel would write about trees and nuts.”
It is the harmonies, tooled and retooled by Steve, that give Kheris’ music such a soaring quality. “I have a sickness and obsession, really, with making sure everyone’s part is perfect, with rearranging the material endlessly,” he admits. Though this may frustrate his bandmates from time to time (judging by the muted eyerolls I got during the interview), the other guys all feel that the way they “strip apart and rebuild” songs is better in the long run.
Brothers Steve and Keith clearly share some filial relationship, but one that manifests itself more offstage than on. “I think we anticipate each other on a more personal level than musically,” Steve explains. But this certainly doesn’t mean that their personal relationship doesn’t blend into their musical performance. “The most fun shows for me are when I know my brother is having fun. If he’s over there having a great time, smiling,” Steve says, “then I know I’m doing something right.”
Flanking the brothers is a rhythm section odd-couple whose dynamic is worthy of an article in and of itself. Keith explains that Gagne has an “all pop, no indie” sensibility, while bassist Rob Nye leans towards “all indie, no pop.” But this bit of creative dissonance goes a long way in defining the band’s sound.
Kettering became the fifth member of Kheris after sitting in on a couple of sets. His presence, musically and physically, gives the band a vibe that is as unique as the man himself. Relatively quiet during the interview, Kettering inserted himself only to steer things back on course with one-liners that cut through like one of his signature horn lines.
What perhaps touched me most was the way in which the members of Kheris talk about their musical ambitions. In place of the typical rock and roll ambitions of fame, success and money, I found honest talk of “growing closer,” of “challenging each other” and “speaking to individuals on a personal level.” Instead of treating the phrase “music industry” with some kind of weighted reverence, Steve and the gang treat it at best indifferently, and at worst as a straitjacket for creativity. They began playing with the intention of bringing some new blood to a music scene that, to them, had lost its way, and continue playing with the goal of fighting stagnation (both their own and others’) and of bringing back the art of that elusive soft touch; creativity in motion; in other, words, grace.
Kheris, It’s Just A Misspelling of ‘Grace’
[+ Show ]
We hit the road this week to travel all the way to the west side of Lancaster city to record with th...We hit the road this week to travel all the way to the west side of Lancaster city to record with the band Kheris in their garage rehearsal studio. The release of their new album, The World Outside, coincides with the release of this episode of The Lancast.
The members of Kheris are Steve Slesser, Keith Slesser (Steve and Keith are brothers), Aaron Gagne, Rob Nye, and Kyle Kettering.
This episode includes a live performance (the poor mixing is our fault) and the studio version of “Angel” from their new album.
Fall On Me
In Your Hands
Our sets are usually 40-45min. sets. We do not do covers