The Existential Gentlemen is the brainchild of Erich Zann and Kris kHz. Conceived in 2008, it began as a musical project between Erich and Kris, who would send files over the internet to write songs in a collaborative effort. When Erich moved back to his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009, the two added close friend Michael James to the fold and worked to transform the project into a full band. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the vision was fully realized, when a chance meeting between Kris and Jonathan Keilback meant that the band had completed its lineup, and The Existential Gentlemen was ready to take the stage.
Between November 2013 and March 2014, the band recorded its debut EP, a 6-track offering titled “Ethos,” and released it on May 17, 2014. In conjunction with the release of Ethos, the band premiered a music video for the track “Devil In The White City” on August 2.
Erich Zann forced his stuffed animal Noid to commit suicide at age 10. After many therapy sessions, he began playing bass in high school, when his dad purchased for him a Gibson-Epiphone AS-IS. He joined the Elizabeth Forward Marching Band in 11th grade when Michael James talked him into playing in the pit, but that kid is a damn liar, and he ended up having to play 1st bass drum. He went on to play bass in many acts before moving to California to escape the harsh reality that is the Mon Valley. There, he cemented his "street cred" by working as a composer for Back Of The House Productions, as well as making a foray into acting in the web series Monster: Operatives that, admittedly, he wasn't very good in. In the mean time, he and Kris began working on the project that would ultimately become The Existential Gentlemen. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2009 to play bass for Payl alongside Kris and Mike. After resigning his post in Payl, he and Kris decided to make a serious attempt at putting together The Existential Gentlemen, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Erich Zann is influenced by classical composers, delta blues artists, and various contemporary acts including Mozart, Howlin' Wolf, and Tom Waits. And remember kids, A# is tonic to C Major. It’s the 6!
Michael James started playing drums in 5th grade in the concert band. Joined the jazz band at Elizabeth Forward middle school on drum set. In 9th grade, joined the marching band, playing snare. High school drum line got him interested in joining a drumline in Drum Corps International. Ended up making the snare line for the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps in 2004 and was in the snare line through 2006. Also marched for various Winter Guard International indoor drum lines, including Conquest Percussion, Project Percussion. While playing with the Bluecoats, met people who marched Rhythm-X WGI line, and convinced him to audition. Mike marched Rhythm-X in 2006 and 2007. He is currently teaching Belle Vernon Area drumline since 2003. Also taught Norwin percussion, Penn-Trafford indoor percussion, and Three Rivers indoor percussion. Mike's playing style is influenced by his time in DCI and WGI as well as players like Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Travis Orbin, Carter Beauford, and Tony Royster Jr. Mike has previously played for bands including Blacklite, Bennington, Your Everyday Funeral, and Payl.
While growing up in the hood, Kris enjoyed making home movies of himself melting his favorite kids meal toys with cans of starting fluid. His dad always had more than enough guitars around to jam on, but Kris struggled to master wimpy open chords. He almost never became a guitarist, until one day at the age of 15, he discovered the power chord. Long before the days of his "6-ain't-enough but 8-is-a-little-much" mentality, he dabbled with various strange drop tunings on the 6-string in bands such as Blacklite, Tear Her Eyes, and Definitions. Required to play a 7-string to join Payl, he manned up and never looked back. Kris' play style is influenced by Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde with a sprinkling of Mikko Lindström. If you have any qualms or concerns about this information, Kris can be reached at 555-5555. He's been waiting his whole life to get his hands on a number like that.
Jonathan, a classically trained trombonist, began playing bass at the age of 17, thanks to a spell of boredom and his neighbor who let him borrow a 4-string. After entering IUP music school and indulging in various ensembles as a trombonist, Jon picked up drums in order to join a friend's band. However, this would not last long, and in 2006 joined the thrash metal band Hexen, later Dauntia, to handle bass duties. In 2009, Jon returned to drum duties to perform with Post Traumatik for the next four years until he met Kris at a smoky, local bar. In July 2013, Jon became the fourth and final piece of The Existential Gentlemen. Jonathan uses Fender 5-string Jazz basses through Carvin amplification. Jon also has an affinity for fancy hats, and likes to think that he is the man with the plan... but all he really has is deadpan one-liners. Silly bass player!