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Kids From Nowhere is an international experiment in American music, based in Israel. Members include singer/songwriter Zach Wheat (Texas), drummer "Element" Yves Elisee Akowendo (Côte d'Ivoire), bassist Elad Avni (South Africa) and guitarist Babush (Israel).
The band is heavily influenced by Texas "outlaw" country music, the British Invasion, and the proto-punk songwriting of Lou Reed and Mark E. Smith.
Active since 2007, Kids From Nowhere have played to Israeli and American audiences and are releasing their first LP, "Kick It In" in October, 2012. Produced by Or Bahir (Eatliz, Amit Erez) the album combines vintage rock arrangements and traditional songwriting with modern recording methods. And noise. Lot's and lots of noise.
"This whole thing probably started as an early mid-life crisis," said Wheat. "I went back to school to get my Masters' and met Elad. He and the Army had a sort of falling out and he was looking to put that whole experience in his real-view mirror. At the time, my life was in full free-fall myself and I turned him on to the blues and Townes Van Zandt and Kristofferson I was really into and I think we were well on our way to becoming the sort of dive bar poet-saints we idolized. Of course that sort of thing rarely ends well," he laughed.
"When Elad brought Babush in to play electric it really changed everything. He cranked the energy up with jangly, shoegazing, post-punk interpretation to all these songs I'd written and they became something much less tired. We still almost gave up when we couldn't ever seem find the right drummer. No one really knew what to make of what were doing. When I discovered Elisee playing Afro-beat for the Africans and reggae for the Israelis I knew I'd found the right guy. He was making them all dance together. Nowadays you can beat up for suggesting they talk together. We brought him in and after two practices, we suddenly discovered we were a proper Rock N' Roll band."
Since then the band has played throughout Israel, finding fans in unlikely places, particularly among the country's Russian-speaking community. The band has also found a following in Wheat's native Texas, who came to see him play on a brief tour of home last December.
"That was a relief," said Wheat. "When I played in the Old Quarter (Galveston, Texas) and little places in Houston, it was a first for me not to feel like I was competing with trance DJ's or Mizrachi wedding singers. In the US, the country-folk people, the indie-rockers, everyone was very supportive. Here in Israel we have two crowds mostly: students, especially in Jerusalem who are really unjaded and fun to play for, and the Russian guys who sing along. A mainstream Israeli crowd just isn't a Rock N' Roll one. You take the good with the bad, though. What we are doing couldn't have happened anywhere else, and no matter what anyone thinks, we are undeniably an Israeli band."
The band played for years under the name Zach Wheat & the All In, and fearing the name sounded too much like an Eagles cover band in Bakersfield, they changed the name to coincide with their first official release and to became what they always were: Kids from Nowhere.