Locals: The Begats

Joel Oliphint

Kyle Sowash is best known for his namesake indie-rock band — the beloved, long-running Kyle Sowashes. But over the years, a side project known as the Begats has released almost as much music.

There are a few key differences, though. “I think the entire Begats discography was written and recorded in less time than it would take you to watch ‘The Lord of the Rings,'” Sowash said recently by phone.

About 10 years ago, Sowash recruited friend Mike Postalakis to play bass for the Kyle Sowashes, but before long Postalakis packed up and moved to Los Angeles, where he works as a comedic-minded director, screenwriter, author and more. Whenever Postalakis returned to Columbus to visit family, he and Sowash would hunker down in Sowash's basement, brew a bunch of coffee and make a lo-fi rock album on an old Tascam four-track recorder.

“The Begats is what happens when you don't overthink it,” Sowash said. “The goal was never for relevancy. We wanted to accomplish writing and recording an album in a day, however good it was. We just wanted it to be quick. … Whatever comes out, that's what the song is about. Some of them actually wind up being pretty good. Others, not so much.”

In January, Sowash and Postalakis again retreated to the basement, but this time they went hog wild, spendingtwo days writing and recording instead of one. The resulting 19-track album,Didya, is the longest record in the Begats' discography. (In late August, the band madeDidya available to stream and download on Bandcamp.)

As usual, neither Sowash nor Postalakis came with any preconceived song ideas, and the musicians switched instruments often. “Sometimes when you're listening to it you can't tell who's playing what,” Sowash said. “Usually I'll write one, then he'll write one. And then it'll be my turn and I'll be like, ‘Can you write another one? My brain is fried.'”

A shared, goofy sense of humor plays a starring role in many Begats songs. “We're just trying to crack each other up,” said Sowash, who sometimes has to redo vocal takes after laughing mid-recording.

“Well I'll be goddamned, I didn't know that Max & Erma's closed/I don't know what's there now, maybe a Home Depot or Lowe's,” Sowash sings on the chorus to leadoff track “I Will Meet You,” which tells the story of friends attempting to meet up for a meal. When the Begats wrote and recorded the song back in January, neither bandmate knew about the forthcoming closure of the original Max & Erma's in German Village.

“It's almost like we predicted the future,” Sowash said.