With a bellowing sound resonating through a development in suburban Virginia, an alterative band might not be the most welcome of neighbors.
But it’s okay – the D.C.-based band Kill Lincoln has grown accustomed to being left outside the inner circle.
“There’s a really thriving underground punk and hardcore scene, but it almost feels like a party we weren’t invited to,” guitarist Mike Sosinski, a 2009 graduate, said. “It’s all people born and raised here and they start punk bands and all their friends know and play at each others houses…we’ll play anywhere, anytime.”
Kill Lincoln hasn’t let their exclusion deter them from breaking out into the District and beyond.
The five-member band – made up of two trombonists, a guitarist, bassist and drummer – has played venues throughout D.C. and the East Coast while on a summer mini-tour.
Guitarist and supplier of the band’s boisterous vocals, Sosinski, began jamming with trombonist and 2010 graduate Matthew Hotez his sophomore year, after meeting through Emocapella, an a cappella group. Drummer Tyler Rodgers, a 2008 graduate, met Sosinski through an online Street Light Manifesto forum and began practicing together along with Hotez.
Sosinski says practice space was hard to find at GW and because they had no ties to the music department they couldn’t utilize the department’s practice spaces. He described playing in a weird room in Mitchell Hall, entertaining the housekeeping staff on their breaks, in Ivory Tower and on the Mount Vernon Campus.
The eclectic group turned to the Internet to find their final member Alan Moore, the only non-GW band member, by searching on Craig’s List.
Although Sosinksi and Hotez have been playing together for years, the band said it has only been in the last year and a half to two years that they got serious about their music.
The band’s sound falls into a multitude of genres.
“We try to blend lots of different styles – we do reggae, we do hardcore, we do some metal breakdown stuff and experiment in hip hop occasionally,” said Sosinski.
Hotez, their trombonist, even adds in an occasional free-style rap.
The band’s name is another testament to their quirky, witty humor that only seems to disappear when talking about their dedication to music.
“I always thought Kill Lincoln would be a sweet band name and every band that I was ever in rejected it,“ Rodgers said.
“And we were the saps that fell for it,” said Sosinski with a smile.
The name references the rival high school in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” For homecoming, the Ridgemont Wolves made shirts saying “Kill Lincoln” and Rodgers carried it over to brand their music.
The band laments that only maybe three out of 100 people get the cinematic reference.
“If we hear one more John Wilkes Booth joke, I’m gonna puke,” Sosinski said.
Despite the ambiguous name, Kill Lincoln has built a fan base made up friends and other ska fans who pack the house at their shows both around D.C and in Baltimore.
“One thing that has always been really cool for me as a band is when we play shows at bars and the bartenders will be like ‘You guys are awesome!’” Rodgers said. “These are people that hear 20 to 30 bands a week – they’ve seen the crappiest bands ever – and they’ve sat through really bad bands, so for them to compliment us, that’s always pretty cool to me.”
The band has worked earnestly to garner attention and recognition, recording demos to unlock entrance into local venues, and they will soon release their first record, half of which was recorded at GW.
Martin MacAlister, a 2011 graduate, has been a huge asset to the band, not only playing bass, but also bringing talents from his day job as a sound engineer to create music that the band feels is finally, exactly what they want.
“This is super cheesy, but honestly as a band a couple years ago, if I had heard what we produced now, I would never believe that was us,” said Rodgers. “If we finished the record and that was our last day as a band, like that was our capstone, I’d be cool with that.”
With a new record and upcoming shows at Ottobar in Baltimore and Velvet Lounge in D.C., the band will also direct their attention to finding outlets for album distribution, artwork and packaging.
At the end of the day, apart from day jobs, recording sessions and tours, Kill Lincoln is still five friends hanging out in their basement playing music.
“I don’t do this for anyone but myself or for us. It’s fun for me and if nobody likes the music, that sucks, but I’m having a good time,” said Sosinski.