© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Deep friendship motivates On Fillmore's experimental music

Darin Gray and Glenn Kotche of On Fillmore
Courtesy of the band
Darin Gray and Glenn Kotche of On Fillmore

Intense friendship may not be the first thing that springs to mind when hearing the phrase “experimental music.” Yet according to founding member Darin Gray, shared personal connections motivate improvisational duo On Fillmore.

“Really the honest goal of this group, as corny as it can sound to others, is an exploration of Glenn and I’s friendship,” said Gray of musical partner Glenn Kotche. “It as a way for us to explore being friends as we grow older.”

Friday, On Fillmore play their first show in St. Louis since their inaugural performance sixteen years ago. Both Kotche and Gray are accomplished musicians. They perform as part of New Music Circle's 56th season. Gray recently returned home to his St. Louis after touring with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s new group Tweedy.  He previously worked with Loren Conners, Nels Cline, and NPR’s Radiolab.  Kotche toured extensively with Wilco and continues building a name as a composer. The two musicians met over twenty years ago while working on JimO’Rouke’s album Eureka in 1999. They instantly became friends.

“We had this immediate bond and connection musically that’s mysterious, frankly. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. I know it only happens a few times in a lifetime, you know?” said Gray.

Kotche and Gray have played together on and off as their friendship grew. On Fillmore has remained a consistent pursuit for both musicians despite their multiple accomplishments in both pop and experimental music.

‘We started this really saying to each other like if we’re going to do this lets do this, literally, the rest of our lives and see what comes of it,” said Gray.

Although the pair continues to maintain their musical and personal relationship for close to two decades, coming together to perform can produce certain anxieties.

“There’s always moments beforehand where our chests probably tighten up a little bit. Not right before the gig but the day before when we’re trying to figure out “what are we doing?” said Gray.

Sometimes that anxiety comes down to determining the equipment used on particular songs. The duo remains ever inventive which sometimes demands unique instruments for unique sounds.

Gray laughed while explaining the mental quest to remember different gear. “It’s funny but it’ll come down to gear, like ‘what do I play on this song? A chicken paddle?’” he said. Yet that shared connection always gets the music where it needs to be.

On Fillmore is currently working on their fifth album, a follow-up to their 2012 album https://vimeo.com/10783316" target="_blank">Extended Vacation

Where: The Stage at KDHX

When: Friday, April 3, 7:00

Tickets: $20.00