Music is pretty new to April "Raven" Kepler, she never once considered being in a band. About two years ago she started singing karaoke every Sunday night with friends and after she became comfortable with the idea of singing in front of people, she tried a few open mics around Mankato. In July of 2011 she met Chuck Remes at one of those open mics and Raven Moon Rising was born. Two weeks later they played their first show as a duo at Midtown Tavern.
April's singing style has been influenced by many different genres of music; Fleetwood Mac & Stevie Nicks are the closest to her heart along with country artists like Patsy Cline and The Dixie Chicks.
"I have always been a creative ~ expressive person, singing is just another way for me to express myself. I am so fortunate to have met some great local musicians who really stood by me, supported me on this whole journey and became great friends in the process.....Mankato is so rich with musical talent and I feel honored to be a part of it."
Chuck Remes is the lead guitarist for Raven Moon Rising. He started playing guitar in high school during the early 80's. After high school he switched from electric guitar to acoustic guitar when he realized,"I wasn't going to be the next Eddie Van Halen."
He has been involved in the local Mankato area music scene off and on for the last ten years.
His main musical influence is Neil Young. He also loves Bob Dylan, Crosby,Stills & Nash, and the Grateful Dead.
"I started to get serious about the acoustic guitar because of Neil Young. I figured learning a dozen of his songs and playing them around a campfire would be the coolest thing. Then I just kept going with it and now I'm playing on stage almost every weekend. It's been a crazy ride."
Melody Taylor tried to teach herself guitar in the 80's and was horrible at it, then tried to teach herself piano in the 90's and was horrible at it. Then she tried drumming in the late 90's and suddenly felt she had found her place.
She picked up drumming as a hobby at first and messed around with it off and on for quite a while before joining a band and getting sort of serious about it.
She's been playing rock, country, blues and folk music as well as middle-eastern inspired music for a local belly dance studio since 2014.
Her musical influences include Tom Waits, Nine Inch Nails, Abney Park, Hedningarna, and Tori Amos, as well as folk and world beat music from the globe. If you ask if you can hit her drum, the answer will almost certainly be yes.
"Drums are for smacking!"
Matt Nieland is a versatile musician who has been on the Mankato music scene since July 2010. His first instrument was an alto sax that he played in middle school band. Matt first picked up a guitar at age 16 and taught himself how to play. It's been one of the most rewarding parts of his life ever since. In Raven Moon Rising, Matt provides lead/backup vocals, guitar, and also plays harmonica. Matt's primary musical influences are Ben Harper, Ray LaMontagne, and James Taylor.
"I like music that provokes emotion. Anyone can sing a song, but if you can sing a song that makes me laugh, cry, angry, or hopeful...then you've got something."