Living the good life
THERE ARE A FEW GOOD MEN AROUND. Meet brothers Reeco and Reemon Butcher and bandmate Kyle Cole.
With their boyish charms and infectious laughs, it is apparent that the friendship shared extends beyond playing in a band: the three grew up in the same St Philip district, went to the same church, played in the same church band and are now all at the University of the West Indies, with Reeco studying law; Reemon, accounts; and Kyle, finance.
All the guys are talented musically, with Kyle playing drums for the past 13 years, Reeco a former Teen Talent king trained in piano, and Reemon now launching into rap.
With the band a year old, the three share the biggest challenge they face in being a gospel band.
Did you know you always wanted to do music or you had a different career path in mind?
Reeco: I was born to do music. I can’t help it. My mother and sisters always tell me that I was very musical since four years old.
Reemon: I have always loved music, but could never see it as a possible career. I was going after a career in accounts, but my brother and management believed in me and saw something in me that I didn’t see and awakened something new. Now . . . . I don’t only love music but I’m passionate about following a career in this industry.
Kyle: Same here. It was hard to see it as a career. I was following a career in banking and finance, but always loved music and maybe fantasized about the idea, but being in development and working with team and the band showed me the possibilities of it becoming a career and I took my craft as a musician much more seriously. It goes to show you should really never shut down your dreams.
Why did you all form this group and how did you meet?
AFGM: Reeco was going after a solo music career but he thought the idea of a band would be more fun. The development team thought that Reemon, Kyle and then Jonathan would make a great addition and they did. Since then, Jonathan felt he needed to follow his dream of becoming a chef and left the band. We all live in the same neighbourhood and go to the same church so we all knew each other already.
Did your parents support your interest in the music industry?
AFGM: Our parents are very supportive. They believe in what we do and support us in following our dream. They also believe that education is very important so we’re finishing up university while we pursue our musical dreams.
Which artiste inspires you?
AFGM: So many artists inspire us – Kirk Franklin because he pushed the boundaries in gospel music when he first came up with Stomp.
He’s also one of the top-selling gospel artists and one of the most influential. We have mad respect for him.
We also just love his energy!!!
We also love John Legend because of the smooth soulful vocals and we love the style, fashion and the fresh perspective of Outkast. They always brought something different to the table.
Your look is very preppy. What is the idea behind that?
Reeco: Reemon is the band stylist and we have also worked with other stylists including Ministry of. We never went out to have a preppy look. We never sat and decided this will be our look but they are certain things that we’re drawn to like the “nerds” [glasses], scarves, jackets, bow ties, skinny ties. I guess it turned out to be preppy.
What is the message you guys want to send as a Christian band? And one with a rapper?
AFGM: Our main message is that Christianity is where it’s at!!! It’s fun, it’s true freedom! It’s enjoyable, not boring, not “for old people”. You can be young and love Jesus and enjoy life too.
Who is the songwriter in the group or do you all write?
Kyle: Reeco is the main writer, but we all write, sometimes we even write with our producers. We like to collaborate.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge doing gospel music?
AFGM: Acceptance would be the hardest challenge as we’re in a genre which is heavily grounded in tradition. We’re not a traditional gospel band. We’re bringing the word in a way that’s relatable to people our age and so it might seem unconventional, but the message is still straight gospel.
Do you have any funny/crazy/weird experience during any performances?
Reemon: We had a performance where my mic stopped working and so Reeco decided to jump in the crowd with the Troopers to finish the set. We had a blast. At another my cordless mic stopped working. And so we had to use a corded mic. Then the cable for that fell out. It was madness, but we still had fun. This just goes to show that this career choice isn’t filled with perfect and all we can do is control the things we can and make best of the things we can’t.
What are your personal tastes in music?
Kyle: I am an avid country music lover. Give me Rascal Flatts any day.
Reemon: My favourite song is How To Save A Life by The Frays.
Reeco: Any and all John Legend.
How do you use the social media?
AFGM: As we speak we are on Twitter. We constantly update and connect with our fans. Facebook, Youtube we also use. When we rehearse like two to three times a week, depending on our gigs, we even use the social networks to ask our fans for ideas.
Any musical accomplishments you care to mention?
AFGM: We recently won a couple awards with Pulse Radio 365 for Song of the Year and Artist of the Year. Pulse Radio is one of our biggest supporters!
Do you put pressure on yourself in terms of your music and what you give to the fans?
AFGM: A good pressure! We want to produce quality music that we love and can relate to and that we believe in and at the same time we have a responsibility to the Troopers [our fans] and want to make sure they like what we put out also. It’s a delicate balance for every artist because at the end of the day we make music for you – to enjoy, to be ministered to, to be touched.
You are nominated for the Flame awards. What was your reaction when you heard it?
AFGM: We were grateful for the acknowledgement and really thankful to everyone who nominated us for these categories. It’s exciting. We’ve been out for just one year and we have been received well from the public so far.