Broom Closet Beer Club profile
Their dedication also comes through in their experience. Most members have been playing their instruments for at least five years, some, like vocalist and saxophonist Kurt Kahle and guitarist and sound mixer Sean Bomher, since elementary school.
The Broom Closet Beer Club officially formed in 2009, when all of the members were freshman on the second floor of Lee House. Bomher was seeking bandmates for a musical orientation event.
“Someone pointed me towards Kurt, and I just knocked on his door,” Bomher said.
As the year progressed, they continued playing together, when Annelies DeVos, a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, stumbled upon them and asked to join in. The other three members, bassist DJ Gross, Sarah Buchardt, vocalist and keyboardist, and Pooja Sohoni, drummer, were added throughout the next two years. Due to the time it took to assemble the full six-member set, as well as interruptions for studying abroad, “[t]his is the first year we’ve all been together,” says Buchardt.
The name of the band, like the band itself, was derived from those freshman floor experiences. Kahle recalls how they came up with their unique moniker: “We would all hang out and have parties…and sometimes some of them would just not be there…we looked all around and went to the basement and found them in the broom closet, hanging out with some cleaning supplies and drinking.”
Since their formation, they haven’t only added members but have also matured as a musical group. All the members joke that freshman year, the only song they played was Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville,” but they now have an extensive repertoire. They have played everything from Maroon 5 to Muse as well as a host of original songs, courtesy of DeVos.
DeVos enjoys writing for a six-piece band, remarking, “It’s fun to write for three different voices; you can make harmonies that are more intricate,” and appreciates that her bandmates are always up for complex arrangements. She describes her writing process as “entering into a headspace,” though sometimes she has been working on other things when she hears music and thinks “that sounds like something I should write down.”
“It’s a stream of musical vomit in my head,” she joked, and Bomher is quick to add that, should they ever have a side project, Musical Vomit will be its name.
Their musical repertoire is not the only improvement they have made since freshman year. Bomher notes that band rehearsals are “not just practicing the music but practicing what you look like on stage,” which was something with which all of the members struggled.
“It’s about finding your own way to perform,” Sohoni said. “That’s also a good metaphor for life.”
The members of The Broom Closet Beer Club wish they had more opportunities to perform for their peers.
“You have WUStock [for student bands], but that’s about it,” Bomher said. “I think it would be great if they reopened the bar on campus…there is so much musical talent [here] it’s disappointing that there isn’t a stronger musical scene.”
Nevertheless, they make do with the opportunities available. Two years ago, they opened for Matt and Kim at WUStock and since have performed both on campus and off. They have been featured several times at Ursa’s Stageside and have also headlined at Cicero’s on the Delmar Loop. On March 26, they will perform at The Demo on Manchester Boulevard and are hoping to open at WUStock once again this March.
While their list of performances is extensive and their talent has improved since freshman year, it’s apparent, sitting in their living room, that some things haven’t changed. Maybe they no longer sneak into the Lee basement to drink their beer, but they still have bottles with them at rehearsal, and they remain as tight-knit as the group that was once squished together in the small confines of a broom closet.
For more information on The Broom Closet Beer Club or to access the group’s recordings, visit its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/broomclosetbeerclub. New songs, courtesy of the Danforth University Center’s free recording studio, will be posted soon.