christian (vocals), hart (bass), kyle (drums), florence (synth), alki (guitar)
Outfitted in all black and combat boots, a band picked up their instruments and started playing to a dark basement packed full of people. The crowd was captivated - drawn in by deep crooning vocals, catchy riffs, and a beat that makes you want to dance.
The Guests, a post-punk inspired band from Philadelphia came to Bloomington during their tour in early January. With two tapes, Red Scare ’15 and Red Scare ’16, this was the first tour for The Guests. Christian, Hart, Kyle, and Alki met while attending Purchase College in New York state. After moving to Philadelphia, they started The Guests about two and a half years ago. A year later, Florence joined on synth adding an extra element to the music.
the guests at jan's rooms in bloomington, indiana
“(The Guests) was the most classic sounding band name that wasn’t
already taken by that many existing bands,” Alki said. However he and
Christian explained that the name came from a variety of inspirations. “The Guests” was title in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Christian told us. Alki described the most significant influence, though, a Czechoslovak film from 1966 called “A Report on the Party and the Guests.” The Guests in this film were communists.
“I think of (the band) as a platform for us to basically create left wing propaganda,” Alki said. “There are a lot of machines and cultural forces that are churning out right wing propaganda, centrist capitalistic propaganda, or like, far-right cultural shit.” The political side of the band is important to Alki. He writes a lot of the guitar, drum, and bass parts, and he explained that his political ideals influence and inform the composition. In addition to this, Florence writes many of the synth parts, and Christian writes the lyrics.
“I think of (the band) as a platform for us to basically create left wing propaganda”
“I’m inspired by a lot of things,” Christian said about writing, “but recently I’ve been trying to be political and sort of reacting to all of
the horrible things happening in the world and this country.” He said he is also inspired by political leaders of the past. His main goal through his lyrics, though, is to portray the average working person, who he thinks of as most of his generation.
The band’s musical influences come from the “more jangle-y part of 80s post-punk.” They cited Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Cure, The Smiths, and Jesus and Mary Chain as some of their musical inspirations. They added that they’re inspired by a little bit of disco, too.
The Guests are currently working on recording a full length album, which they hope to have out by the summer.