Kill Vargas thrives in Wichita music scene

Wichita-based rock band Kill Vargas headlined an evening full of music Friday at Harvester Arts for day two of ICT Fest.

The trio, made up of brothers Logan and Griffin Bush, both Bishop Carroll High School graduates, and Austin Engler, a Maize High School graduate, were one of six Wichita-area bands to perform downtown Friday. Day two also featured groups from Kansas City, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Kill Vargas put on an energetic, 30-minute set as members of the crowd danced, sang along, and even crowd-surfed.

The band, which has been together for over four years, has become a staple in the Wichita music scene.

“It’s incredible. The fact that we could literally write these songs in my bedroom and then 30 kids are singing them,” Logan Bush, the band’s drummer said. “It literally means the world. I don’t think we’d get that anywhere else but Wichita. The support is unreal here.”

Engler, the band’s bassist, agreed that fans have embraced Kill Vargas and their music.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” Engler said. “People are taking time, out of all the music in the world, to listen to our songs and learn the words.”

Griffin, the guitarist and lead singer, said he credits local musician and ICT Fest organizer Matt Clagg with introducing Kill Vargas to the local scene.

“When we first started, we didn’t really know how to tap into the whole music scene,” Griffin said. “We were just kinda playing around and we finally got booked by Matt [Clagg]. . . and through him we found a bunch of contacts.”

Engler said that he can’t stress enough how important the support from the community is to Kill Vargas and other local bands.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do if people weren’t coming to shows and supporting us,” Engler said.

In their four years together, Engler said Wichita’s music scene has experienced rapid growth.

“So many good bands are coming out,” Engler said. “And people, even if they don’t know the band, will go out and check them out. It’s really awesome.”

Logan said that, to promote Wichita’s music scene, Kill Vargas must pass on the kind of support they received to other up-and-coming bands.

“It’s come around and now we’re kind of trying to be that band that gets our friends into the scene too,” Logan said.

Logan said that he sees a bright future for music in Wichita.

“It’s really exciting because, just this year alone, like five or six new bands have popped up and they’re all like 15 or 16 [years old],” he said. “It’s only going to get bigger and better from here, I really believe that.”

Engler added that a growing music scene causes each band to improve.

“I think that the other bands challenge us to be better,” Engler said. “We hear their records and we’re just like, ‘Wow, now we have to step up.’”

The trio agreed that Wichita is a great place to be right now — and it will only get better.

“It’s a nice, big community,” Griffin said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better place to be brought up.”