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SPM Acoustics: Kachina

SPM Acoustics: Kachina from The State Press on Vimeo.

For the members of Tempe-local band Kachina, life is grounded in music and their band is based on friendship.

“I’ve been in different types of bands with different types of people, and all I’ve ever wanted was to be in a band with my best friends,” says Kachina’s frontman and founder Cole Kiburz. “All these guys are so talented that I almost didn’t even ask them because I didn’t know they would want to be a part of it. It turns out they really believed in the idea for the band.”

Having studied electronic media and creative writing at the University of Iowa, Kiburz began Kachina over three years ago when he met Zachary Fischenich who now leads in guitar and the mandolin and contributes to backup vocals.

They met at a party Kiburz threw at his home, now referred to as Fort Wanderlust (it now hosts their bands shows). They ended the night by dancing to ‘80s music together.

“From their, our friendship blossomed,” Fischenich says. “We ended up forming Kachina after we had another band together called Channel, and it basically arose from us sitting around and playing songs together.”

Although Kachina was formed then, Kiburz says, “It’s really only been in the last year that we’ve really started to figure out who we are as a band.”

Bassist Matthew Gilbert and pianist and percussionist Bradley Cluff belonged to another band called Poem before joining Kachina. Gilbert and Adam Morgan on viola joined the band over a year ago, with Cluff joining about eight months ago, solidifying the band as a whole.

Each member adopted music before they even met each other, going into the field since childhood.

Lead singer Kiburz began playing music since he was 12.

“I always wanted to play music, I always had a fascination for it,” Kiburz says. “I had this innate desire to play music.”

Cluff began playing the piano as a child when five or six, while Morgan and Fischenich began playing the viola and violin, respectively, in elementary school.

“When both these guys [Matthew and Bradley] asked to join the band, it was almost like the cute girl approaching you at the Sadie Hawkins dance,” Kiburz says as he tries to hold back laughter and does his best impression of the shy boy. “It was like, ‘You wanna be in my band?’”

Cluff joined Kachina after getting the chance to see them perform live at Long Wongs in Tempe.

“I just loved their set,” Cluff says. “After the show, I went up to them and said, ‘Hey, can I be in your band?’ and he [Kiburz] immediately said yes. And from that moment on I was in Kachina.

Kachina members find their passion in friendship and music. Photo by Noemi Gonzalez Kachina members find their passion in friendship and music.
Photo by Noemi Gonzalez

Sitting amidst the hiking trails of Papago Park, Kiburz says about Cluff, “I don’t know how we were a band without him.”

Writer Jonathan Falcone for Filter Magazine wrote in the 42 Issue, “It is becoming harder and harder for bands to build solid careers.” Although Falcone references the successful band The Concretes, local Arizona bands striving for a breakthrough face the struggle of making their music a career while juggling full-time jobs and family obligations.

“We’re not all full-time musicians, so you kind of battle back and forth in your head,” Kiburz says.

But the guys incorporate music into their daily lives with Gilbert striving to attain a degree in music therapy and Cluff leading a different project he calls Bradley and the Materials.

“We all spend a lot of time working and learning,” Gilbert says. “I think that’s the most important part. And whatever we work for is being able to do [Kachina], and what we learn we use in this.”

Kachina aims to record a full-length album by the ends of November. The goal is to be able to produce something tangible the band can give out at local shows to the audience.

“If Matthew or Bradley are like John Lennon, Zach is the George Harrison, and I would be the Paul McCartney,” Kiburz says sitting in Cartel coffee shop days after the SPM Acoustics. “Sort of.”

The band is currently waiting to find its own Ringo Starr, in what they call a long line of drummers. The last drummer was picked up by another local band Authority Zero.

“Kachina is my major outlet,” Fischenich says. “I don’t know where I would be without the band. It just means a lot to me to be able to play with talented musicians.”

For more on Kachina, visit its Facebook page.

SPM Acoustics: Kachina's Sleeeeeep from The State Press on Vimeo.

Reach the writer at or via Twitter @NoemiPossible

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