When David Bennett started playing music, he gravitated toward conventional folk songs: "These kinds of ballads where it'd be just me and an acoustic guitar, maybe a girl singing harmonies or something," he says. "I got a little bored of that."
For the past few years, the 26-year-old Kansas Citian has been recording homemade demos as Akkilles. On these recordings (you can find them on SoundCloud, or on Bandcamp, where his Demo Treasure EP is available), he retains some of those old folk ideas but adds to them ambient washes and an ear for pop. The outcome is a sound not far from the terrain that popular indie artists like Kurt Vile and Deerhunter are working.
"I've always been into old crummy recordings of folk music," Bennett says. "I was really into Dylan's Basement Tapes and Glen Campbell. I don't think the stuff I'm doing now sounds like those guys, but there's probably some kind of subconscious influence there."
Of late, Akkilles has gradually been moving from the bedroom to the stage. Bennett has recruited a five-piece band that's gigged at local venues such as RecordBar and the Gusto Lounge (during Middle of the Map). The band also is playing the Crossroads Block Party, in June, as well as a handful of other dates to coincide with the release of Akkilles' first full-length, which will be available on vinyl sometime this summer via local label the Record Machine.
"When I play by myself, I do a lot of loops and effects and play with microphones that accentuate vocals," Bennett says. "With the band, it's a little more like straightforward experimental pop. I'm drawn toward what I guess you'd call ambiguous writing, and I like jacking the sound of pop music a little, both musically and lyrically.
"I've spent a lot of time the past few years trying to really learn how to write and record," Bennett says. "Now it's getting to the point where I'm recording a lot more and getting a lot of material down. I think there'll be another Akkilles EP in the fall and maybe another album sometime in 2014. I like doing crummy demos by myself, but it's also cool to go into a studio with a real band."