Bucknell Spotlight: Andrew Kilman

Killman.jpg

Andrew “Drew” Kilman is certainly a face to know around Bucknell University.  His likeable personality keeps the girls coming, and his musical talent keeps everyone gushing.  Drew is a self-taught guitarist, his instrument of choice for his duo band with Jake Perlmutter, named Thought Police. What most people don’t know about Drew is that he claims to be much better at piano than guitar.  I personally put this claim to the test when I sat down with him this week in the Weis Center music rooms. After asking him to play piano for a few minutes, I now rest assured that he can rock and improvise a Billy Joel jam for days.

So I asked him when did all of this musical talent start?  “When I was in seventh grade, I started playing piano and guitar very casually.  Yeah, I thought guitar was pretty chill, and a couple of my friends were playing so I always wanted to jam with them.”  Drew was adamant at the fact that he never considered his singing abilities to his forte.  Of course, one of the reasons why Drew is such a standout guy at Bucknell is because of his participation in the Bison Chips, an all-male a cappella group.  Drew says he had never formally sung in a choir or chorus during high school, but the desire to join a musical group on campus pushed him into trying out for the “Chips”.  Drew tells me that his almost two full years in the “Chips” have seriously improved his voice.  “I really ended up loving the Chips.. and it’s helped my singing abilities more than I could had ever hoped for.  You know, I went into the whole thing without that much experience, and now after only a year later I feel like my voice and understanding of it has completely changed.” 

While the stunning voice has been a relatively new addition to Drew’s musical repertoire, Drew has a history with playing instruments in bands.  In 8thand 9th grade, Drew played in a heavy metal band with a few friends.  He played rhythm guitar for the band they named “Mpyr” (he never disclosed what that actually stood for).  Drew attests that the time playing the “Mpyr” had seriously jumpstarted his love for, knowledge of, and skill with the guitar.  He also put the piano talent to work by playing for his high school’s jazz combo for all four years.  While he was the usual suspect behind the jazz piano, he could also be spotted playing a jazz organ from time to time for the group.

Our conversation topic steered quickly towards the music scene at Bucknell.   Having been a performer for years and in many different venues and concerts, Drew was unhappy to tell me that musicians at Bucknell need more places to perform.  “Seventh Street is really the only place for students to play in a concert venue.  Right now my band is trying to book Uptown, and kind of take advantage of existing student spaces to promote music.”  He complained about troubles with booking Uptown because the staff doesn’t know what to do about booking one night performances.  “Uptown is a good venue for a lot of bands like mine, a small and closed space where you can set up your volume levels before hand, unlike Seventh Street.  It is frustrating that they have not been able to book us yet.”  He asked me as a part of Campus Vinyl BucknellU to perhaps lend a hand in order to speed that process up to help out his band, Thought Police, and others like it.

At the end of our conversation, just for fun, I asked him about his favorite band right now and maybe one to lookout for in the future.  “Favorite artist right now… I would say John Mayer, just because of his style and performance technique that is something that no one really else has… and a band for the future, Foster the People, all the way.   I know that people only know them from Pumped up Kicks, but the album Torches is all really good, and they’re talented musicians with great sound.”

Drew has added a lot to the music community at Bucknell ever since arriving as a freshman.  From getting his voice out there with the Bison Chips to writing and performing in the band Thought Police, Drew has done much more for the music community at Bucknell in his first two years than most people can say for all four.