Returned Mormon missionaries hold to values while pursuing rock 'n' roll dreams

Published: Thursday, June 5 2014 12:20 p.m. MDT

From left, Nick Blosil, Coleman Edwards, Kimball Barker, Isaac Lomeli and Jared Scott at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo.

Red Yeti

Provo, the college town in the middle of Utah Valley, has seen a surprising amount of success in a place much different from it: the music industry. But while the morals of the two worlds often clash, the band Red Yeti is using its values to find success.

The band consists of Kimball Barker, Coleman Edwards, Isaac Lomeli, Jared Scott and Nick Blosil — all Brigham Young University students, all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all ready to bring something new to the music scene.

“We’re five Mormon guys, and I feel like it’s about time that people really saw that there is an equal standard of fun without anything but pure music and pure crowd interaction,” said Blosil, Red Yeti’s drummer.

Becoming who they are now — a band with a recently released extended play, which is more than a single but less than a full album, and winners of the 2012 RAW Artists “Musician of the Year” award with a growing fan base — has been a process.

“I first moved to Provo … I was really into indie folk music so I was writing that stuff,” said Kimball Barker, Red Yeti's lead singer. “Then I got together with Isaac and also Coleman, and I kind of just kept up with the indie folk stuff, and these guys were good enough to just go along with it.”

But slowly, things started to change.

“We were jamming after practice one time and were doing really blues-rock-like riffs and stuff,” Barker said. “Nick was bold enough to be like, ‘Dude, you should play this because this is you. You really seem honest and like you’re really expressing yourself when you play rock music.’”

Over time, this and other experiences guided the band to its current sound. Now, the band members agree that while they draw inspiration from many sources, they’ve found their niche in rock ‘n’ roll.

The band's tribute to classic rock in a modern era creates a sound that resonates across generations.

“We’ve found our most avid fans actually among our parents’ generation and then among high schoolers and teenagers,” Blosil said. “It’s really exciting to have that mix.”

While rock ‘n’ roll isn't necessarily the first place people think to find five returned Mormon missionaries, the band infuses its music and performances with the values and passions from each member's life — values like honesty, unity and service.

Throughout its evolution, the band has emphasized the idea of honesty, and each member feels this commitment to honesty will bring the band success.

“We finally just discovered that it doesn’t matter what people want to hear,” Edwards said. “It matters ... what the honest music is that comes out of you. The most important thing is … you basically play your emotions. You get out what’s on the inside, and you’ll find the people who like that. People will relate to it because it’s genuine.”

And like the adage says, the members of the band believe the truth will set them free — free to follow whatever sound best suits the band and free to be true to themselves.

“We really do feel like when people hear us, they’re going to feel us,” Barker said. “They’re going to feel that honesty and that we’re really trying to reach them and really opening ourselves to them, and that gives us freedom to, to do whatever we want with it. ... You know, we’re not under anyone else’s control but our own, and that’s how we want to keep it.”

But this honesty isn't confined to their time in the recording studio or on stage. Instead, the band members find that the first requirement of honest, genuine music is honesty in their everyday lives.

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