“This is William the Accountant’s house,” Kevin Luce said, nodding across the suburban basement where his genre-defying band rehearses. “Literally, my dad, William, the accountant, lives here.”
Behind the drum set, a banner read “Ars longa, vita brevis,” Latin for “Art is long, life is short.” (You crazy for this one, Hippocrates!) There was also an amazing lamp whose shade functioned as a bouncing, multicolored volume meter while they played. It’s kind of garish, but William the Accountant isn’t trying to be fashionable.
“We didn’t come together and say, ‘Let’s be this,’” Luce said. “We came together, and we brought what we brought.”
When Luce was a junior at Wittenberg in 2005, he won a singing contest that landed him a gig at the campus music festival. The following year, he formed a band called Kevin Luce and the Townies and convinced the festival organizer to book him again. They opened for Better Than Ezra.
Luce dissolved the band and headed to Virginia Tech for grad school. When he moved to Columbus two years later, he got the group back together under the name William the Accountant. In 2009, they started recording an album at Relay Recording, but momentum kept stalling out thanks to a revolving door membership. By 2011, they finally solidified the lineup and finished the record.
“It was just a tumbleweed picking up people along the way,” Luce said.
Strophes, released last spring, is built from shards of various energized, rhythmic combos, from Talking Heads to Primus to Toubab Krewe. It’s physical music meant to evoke experiences (“I’ll Help You Understand” recalls Toubab Krewe playing through a power outage) and ideas (“134” is about being unaware of your surroundings).
The current ensemble — with Zach Tamplin, Andrew Hahn, Kevin Bednar and Chris “The Duke” Murphy — has overseen expansion across Columbus and the Midwest. This weekend, they’ll gather groups from around the region for the intentionally timed Back Tax Music Festival at Woodlands Tavern.
Besides showcasing acts including Les Claypool associate Mike Dillon and Columbus groups like Post Coma Network, it’s a benefit for the Autism Society; several band members work with autistic children. Furthermore, it’s an attempt to conjure a sense of community among performers and audience alike.
“When you’re here,” Luce said, “you’re a part of it.”