June Killing Stones is a locally grown band united in their value of community and positivity. Brothers Joshua and Jake Letkeman were working on their craft for years before putting together a group.
“When I was 10 years old, we started playing together,” Jake says.
Going from jamming for fun to becoming a band was a bit of a process, Joshua says.
“Jake and I were trying to find members for a long time. We went through a few people that never worked out, so we were basement-bound for a while,” he says. “And then, luckily, we found Josh.”
Both drummer Josh Learn and bass player Gaia Moravcik discovered the brothers through Kijiji.
“Oddly enough, the same place you’d find all of the nice used things you can buy for your house,” Learn says.
“They found a used drummer on Kijiji,” Moravcik says. “Then they put out a bass player wanted ad. I was just wanting more music in my life … sure enough, I found the best group I could have hoped for. I was pretty blown away by the tracks that they had.”
Collectively, they’ve found they naturally communicate well and are on the same page, which Joshua says makes for some memorable live performances.
“We have a crazy musical synergy live,” Joshua says.
June Killing Stones has a knack for spontaneity and going with the flow.
“We’ve even just jumped into songs that we weren't expecting to play,” Moravcik says. “Someone will come up with an idea, and we can usually manage to grab that person’s idea and jump on board.”
Learn values post-show chats with Winnipeg audiences, who he says are very discerning.
“The feedback’s been awesome,” he says. “There’s so many great musicians, and a lot of great music has come from here, so I know it’s a big compliment when someone comes up after the show and says something.”
Learn says he’s always excited to see members of other local bands at their shows.
Most June Killing Stones audiences also include members of Moravcik’s large family, who have begun to share their own ideas.
“They’re the reason we switch up our set list actually,” Moravcik says. “My dad will yell out songs he wants to hear.”
The band calls Moravcik’s dad their “man in the audience” for his ability to know which songs are going to go over well and at what point.
Their debut video “Leap” is in keeping with that collaborative quality, featuring the band members having fun with friends and family under a sunny prairie sky.
Connect with June Killing Stones at facebook.com/junekillingstones.
Published in Volume 71, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 19, 2017)