Minus Six is taking a three-month hiatus, and when the Quad-City favorite returns to performing this summer, there just might be an African flair to the group’s music.
Lead singer and piano player Kevin Carton is headed to the nations of Ghana and Senegal as part of an Augustana College trimester abroad.
Carton has made a habit out of drawing on the classroom for inspiration, writing about everything from French tales to lucid dreaming to social constructivism — a theory that people are molded by the society in which they grow up. While spending his final term at Augustana in foreign lands, he will study art, West African history and African music.
“I’m very excited to get to understand the African music from a different perspective,” he said. “And I’m excited to return home and be able to take those skills and incorporate what I’ve learned over there into our own music.”
Shortly after returning to the Quad-Cities on May 10, he will graduate with majors in French, communication and African studies. He may pursue a graduate degree in anthropology at the University of Iowa or teach English in France for a year, but he hasn’t made any major life decisions besides taking a year off to teach piano lessons and write music, possibly something that can be recorded by Minus Six as a concept album.
“I couldn’t ask for better bandmates,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re very understanding that I have multiple interests.”
Post-graduation plans also include taking a break from hitting the road to play gigs each weekend and focusing instead on writing a new album to follow up “In the Garden,” which was recorded in 2006, and saving up money to record it. While graduation will be a bittersweet moment for Carton, taking a break from Minus Six will not be.
“It’s not as much bittersweet as much as a transitional moment,” he said. “That will be really close to our eighth year as a band. We had four years in high school together. That was its own period. Then you get into college and you try to expand the creative elements of the band. I feel like we really tried to accomplish that.
“Now, when I come back, it’s going to be pushing it even farther.”