Drew Colcher, guitarist and vocalist with Wichita’s Soleb Theory cut his musical teeth on heavy metal while growing up in Garden City but later became enamored of funk rock, especially when he and original bassist Alejandro Alamos began playing together. Alamos’ percussive style of playing lent itself to funk music and that, coupled with Colcher’s interests set the template for Soleb Theory.
“I don’t know if we stated it openly but we wanted to have a band that was groovy and funky but also hard,” he says.
The pair eventually recruited Alamos’ brother Andres on drums; the three had their first gig in Santiago, Chile where they were living at the time. Before long they had returned to the U.S. and began playing weeknights at Kirby’s Beer Store and slowly building their fan base. Twenty fourteen has seen the trio—now without Alejandro in the fold—take to markets outside Wichita.
“This year in particular we made a point to play out of town as much as possible," Colcher says. "So we probably played 70 shows this year, the majority of which were out of town. Five or six shows in a row. It really helped our chops. It really helped us become more accurate in our playing and become more confident playing on stage.”
The band’s new self-titled album features songs honed in the live setting, though even diehard fans will hear new things on the album. Colcher points to one of the group’s earliest songs, “Of One,” which underwent an eleventh hour rewrite.
“The outro bass line, we wrote the day before we recorded it," he says. "I just wasn’t pleased with what was going on before. That’s probably a good example of an older song that has transformed entirely to the version that is recorded on the record.”
Another track, “Killing Fields,” almost didn’t make the cut. Colcher said he wanted to focus on the band’s earlier material but the song proved too good to leave off the album.
“It’s probably more indicative of the direction we’re trying to go in more recently, where it’s more of a progressive, experimental rock sound that’s still kind of funky rather than a funk and metal mashup,” he says.
With three Spanish speakers in the band, Soleb Theory couldn’t resist including the language in song with Alejandro Alamos’ “Spanglish” serving as a prime example.
“It’s kind of exemplary of the mixing of Spanish and English," Colcher says. "But also the lyrical style—the sort of diction that he has and the way he… it’s not exactly yelling and it’s not exactly screaming. It’s just his own idiosyncratic way of performing. It’s very humorous. People have always gotten a pretty good kick out of it. It’s a very fast, funky song."
The rhythms of the Spanish language also provides the trio with another unique tool—and challenge.
“It’s interesting to try to form rhyme schemes or rhythmic/lyrical lines a different language," he says. "There is something more inherently poetic about the Spanish language. You can say very plain things and they sound more musical.”
Soleb Theory celebrates the release of its new self-titled CD on Thursday night at Lucky’s Everyday.