Stuck @ Home contest winner and interview!

Cami Koons | @koons_cami

Several months ago, KJHK was forced to cancel Farmers Ball in response to COVID-19 and the social distancing guidelines that came with it. Still wanting to support the local artists around Lawrence, we created the Stuck @ Home contest. 

KJHK executive members screened all of the videos and voted… drumroll pleaseGalactique Acid as the winner, with their submitted song, “2020 Visions.” 

Galactique Acid is a three piece, garage rock band, passionate about science and lyrical expression. In an interview over Zoom, the band talked about their origins, the process of recording while quarantined and the impact of music while in tumultuous times. 

As winners of the Stuck @ Home concert, Galactique Acid will have a studio session booked with Live @ KJHK in the coming months. The band was very humble about their selection as winners and wanted to shout out the other submissions.

“Thanks again for picking us,” said Dave Besson, the band’s lead writer and singer. “There were a lot of really good bands who submitted really good stuff. It was really enjoyable listening to a lot of the submissions, some of them were really very impressive. If anyone is willing to do a show with us, we’d be more than happy to play with anybody, anytime!” 

Galactique Acid band members: Andy Bricker (top left) Dave Besson (bottom left) and Mark Stockham (bottom right).

Besson sings, writes and plays bass (and sometimes guitar) for the band. But when he’s not doing that, he’s a professor of physics at the University of Kansas. In fact, Besson met the other two bandmates through the physics and astronomy departments at the university. 

The band’s drummer, Andy Bricker, met Besson in the halls of the department while pursuing an astronomy degree. Bricker said he now teaches at Lawrence High School and that he and Besson were put together again when their children became friends. 

The guitarist and sometimes bass player, Mark Stockham, said he conducted both graduate and undergraduate research with Besson in the physics department. Stockham said he and Besson began playing together six or seven years ago. 

Besson said they’re all big physics nerds which spawned the band’s name, though they had to change to the French spelling of galactic because of an existing band with the same name. 

“We had to put in some sort of oblique reference to the fact that we’re all physics geeks,” Besson said. 

The group has remained separated through the social distancing measures and developed an innovative recording studio in the garage and kitchen of Bricker’s house. Besson said he plays in the garage and hears Bricker’s drums through the “portal” also known as Bricker’s kitchen window. The recording is then sent to Stockham, who comes over later and records his sections in the garage. 

“So most of it’s me sitting in the kitchen, either playing the drums or running the recording equipment while they take turns coming over,” Bricker said. 

Besson said the time “Stuck @ Home” has allowed the band to work on lots of new material. 

“We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to get together and have our own recording equipment, or at least Andy does,” Besson said. 

The band members each have different influences and muses. Besson said he attributes most of his musical interest to finding the Velvet Underground while in high school, and his songwriting is either a love song to his wife, or a politically charged anthem. Bricker said his biggest musical influence has been Wilco, but he was really inspired to start playing music again by the local band, LK Ultra. Stockham said he likes the classic, guitar heavy rock. 

“It’s definitely a lot different from the style that we play,” Stockham said. “I don’t have much of a background in the genre that Dave brings to it. To me it’s [the band] kind of fresh, it doesn’t sound like any music that I’ve listened to before.” 

Besson said, historically, the band’s only live performance is at the Sunrise Project’s yearly pie auction and celebration, but that they want to start performing more once social gathering restrictions are lifted. 

“The problem is of course, that it’s way past my bedtime, playing at the Replay Lounge,” Besson said semi-jokingly. “I’m going to have to figure out a way to no longer get up at 5 a.m.”

Bricker said Galactique Acid finished an EP while stuck at home. The EP, Rev. 0.0, is available on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play. Besson explained the title as another “geek reference,” meaning a computer code in its rawest form. 

Besson said coronavirus, and the state of the world, accentuated his feeling that the world is at the beginning of change musically, socially and culturally. He said the feeling sparked his musical creativity and he is thankful his bandmates feel similarly and play alongside him. 

“Personally I find myself writing more because I feel like I’m trying to capture and maybe even help push along the stuff that we see happening around us,” Besson said. 

The band said in addition to devoting more time to their own music, they’ve found a rejuvenated connection listening to music and realizing the impact it can have. 

“It’s just having a lot more time to just listen and reconnect with music, almost on a visceral, emotional level that I haven’t felt since I was a lot younger,” Bricker said. “It’s been profound, I think for me, the impact of music during this time.” 

Thanks again to all of the bands who submitted to Stuck @ Home.