Philly friends Corey Bernhard, Steve McKie and Chris Turner have an impressive resume as producers and session musicians alone — they’ve worked with Bilal, Jill Scott, Estelle, Ed Sheeran, Snarky Puppy and a lot more over the past decade and change.
But like most creative folks, they had their own fires burning in the mix of the gigs that were paying their bills. Enter Killiam Shakespeare, the band that came as a result of these longtime side players collabing in the studio — the project, with debuted in 2015 with a self-titled release on Ropeadope Records, spans the worlds of hip-hop, jazz, R&B / pop grooves and rock.
“We said ‘There’s no point in letting it sit around on our hard drive,'” recalls Bernhard of the music they were making. “We had all these songs, some of them instrumentals, some with our friends we still make music with.”
“Having our own studio in West Philly really gave us that platform to create our own music,” adds McKie. “You have times when you play in a band, it’s set up for you to play the show, you leave, you rehearse. For us, we felt we were more artistic, we had more to offer not just as musicians but producers and composers.”
The band appeared last night on the XPN Local Show to talk about their background and creative process. They also debuted a song “Drive Me Crazy,” a collaboration with Philly’s Noele Scales, who appeared on their self-titled debut as well as the followup mixtape Killiam Season 1.
“Noelle is a great young talent in Philly,” says McKie. “She came in the studio and started writing, vibing with us. That became one song, two songs, three songs.”
“The more music she writes, people definitely will have heard of her before long, if they haven’t already,” says Bernhard. “She’s a super talented writer, dope singer, and she wrote some incredible songs.”
You can hear the track below, and see Killiam Shakespeare play it live at Johnny Brenda’s on Monday, June 19th; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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