By Meg Beerling
SMU alumni Bryan Atchison ’08 and Neil Olstad ’08 have come a long way with their two-man band Koo Koo Kanga Roo since their graduation four years ago.
Atchison, who graduated with a Secondary Social Science Education degree, and Olstad, who graduated with a Music Business degree, started their band for the 2007 SMU Battle of the Bands.
Originally, the band was known as Birthdae Parrtii, but SMU Professor Wes Miller informed them that there was already a band with that name, said Atchison. The duo then changed their name to Koo Koo Kanga Roo.
The idea for the band came from wanting something different, said Atchison. “The Koo Koo that preformed at the Battle of the Bands is a totally different band now,” said Atchison. It was born out of the idea that they wanted to break the fourth wall between performers and audience, he said. “We now focus on 100 percent interaction,” said Atchison.
Atchison said the pair walks a thin line between bar act and kids group. Their “goofy, fun and weird” songs make the band different than others that are out there, Atchison said. “We write the chorus in our brains and then pair it with some hot beats,” he said. They always test their songs live to see if they work or not, according to Atchison.
The duo has been growing in fame since its inception. They have played some pretty big shows and gone on several tours. “Because we are always looking to the future, we think we can accomplish so much more,” said Atchison. He said that they also take pride in the fact that they have gotten this far all on their own, he said.
As far as the future goes, Atchison said the duo often has long meetings about the direction the band wants to take. They each have strong opinions about what to do next, and it takes a while for them both to agree, he said. The ultimate goal would be to make it to a top 40 headlining arenas act, Atchison said. And, according to Atchison, that’s just where the group is headed.
So to the rest of the Saint Mary’s University population, Atchison gives some advice: “Be in a band, but have a back-up plan. It always comes in handy.”