My music truly is my soul. It is the drive and desire to express and evoke emotion. I don’t like to think about what I write. I like to feel what I write. And what I hope for is that my audience will feel it too. That somehow, those sound waves and vibrations are relating to them on a soulful level. And when that does happen, it is a privilege and an honor to be sharing such an experience.
– Kent Koller
Kent Matthew Koller was born in 1983, and is the youngest of four siblings. He is the first in his immediate family to pursue and create music as a profession. Kent obviously didn’t always create his own music, but he was always an entertainer.
Well my first real influence was Michael Jackson. I remember seeing Billie Jean on TV and saying to my mom, “Is that a boy or a girl?” He could hit such high notes. So I started to sing and dance and soon found myself performing Billie Jean at my school talent show when I was in kindergarten. And I’d sing and dance at all my relatives’ weddings and parties too. And yes…there are video tapes, unfortunately. I feel so shy now when I compare myself to those days.
Soon after discovering Michael Jackson, a nine year old Kent found rock and roll in the form of a laser light show.
I was in Toronto with my family and we went to a laser show. It was probably the first audio-visual experience that I remember liking the music so much that I inquired to see who it was. It turned out to be Aerosmith, so I went out and bought my first rock album: Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation.
Kent liked what he heard in Aerosmith. He enjoyed the rawness of rock, and in 1994, soon after Kurt Cobain’s death, Kent watched Nirvana for the first time.
I saw one the songs from the Unplugged album on MTV, and I loved what I heard. It’s funny ’cause I was surprised to find out that they were an electric band…I’d have to say that Kurt Cobain was who first inspired me to try playing guitar.
So Kent went out to a local music store and rented an electric guitar and amplifier with the sole purpose to learn and perform one song for a friend’s wedding.
I wanted to learn how to play The Man Who Sold the World (as performed by Nirvana). I basically had about a month to learn how to play guitar, and sing while playing, before the wedding! Needless to say, I didn’t end up performing.
After failing to learn the song, Kent gave the rented guitar back. He didn’t play again until a year later, around the age of 13.
I think, like most beginning guitarists, I just got frustrated. I thought that it would be easier than it was…about a year later I was hanging out with my friend, and he had a guitar and was taking lessons. I picked up his guitar and did about 10 weeks of his rhythm lessons in about an hour. I knew how to read music and time signatures from taking piano lessons years back. So I finally found something I was good at on the guitar, and it gave me confidence to try it again.
Kent soon found a teacher and mentor in the form of Scott Lyon. Scott taught Kent how to play guitar, and opened his ears to a wide variety of artists including Santana, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Ravi Shankar, King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Bob Marley, Andres Segovia, Carlos Montoya, and countless others.
Scott introduced me to so many new artists, as he still does to this day…he is a true music preacher…he taught me how to pick and strum, use scales, music theory, ear training, pretty much everything I know
It took about 3 years before Kent could play the guitar and sing simultaneously. But once he became comfortable doing both, he soon wrote his first guitar/vocal piece.
My first song was originally on piano, so I tried to play it on guitar. I thought I had transferred it correctly, but I screwed it up. I ended up liking the incorrect version so I kept it.
That song was titled Following the Feet, which was published on CD in 2002, along with two other songs titled Without Hesitation, and H.S. Freestyle. That CD was released under the name Broken Abyss (Kents first band). One year later, Space Cake (same band members as Broken Abyss) was published with three songs on it titled Warm Winter, This Room, and Sense to Fight.
Broken Abyss, which later turned into Space Cake, was the only band I was in before venturing on my own. It was me on guitar and vocals, Peter Litvin on guitar, and Jesse Wozniak on drums. We had a lot of great material, and we were about to make our second Space Cake CD when I was blindsided by being kicked out of the band, which is a whole other story…
Kent wrote more than half of all of the Broken Abyss/Space Cake songs. Many of the songs he performs today are slightly revised versions of those songs. After the band break-up in early 2003, Kent took a short “vacation” from music, but about a month later, he came back strong and is now flourishing as a solo-musician. He continues his friendship with Scott Lyon. Kent resides in the Detroit area.