By Ellen Angelico

For a good-time dance party where everyone sings along and isn’t afraid to get down, nothing quite brings the gay community together like the music of Swedish pop band ABBA. Selling over 375 million records worldwide, ABBA is one of the most popular music groups of all time. From 1972 to 1982, ABBA recorded hits like “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen” which are played in dance halls to this day.

Unfortunately, since ABBA hasn’t officially played a show together since 1982 and reportedly turned down a billion-dollar offer to be reunited in 2000, it was a little impractical for them to consider reuniting at Nashville Pride. Luckily, we’ve got the next best thing: Knowing Me Knowing You (the Music of ABBA) is Nashville’s premier ABBA cover band. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Steve Ebe, one of the founders and the drummer in KMKY, about how this seriously awesome cover band came to be:

What made you want to start an ABBA cover band?

I met Helena Johannson (lead vocals) through some mutual songwriter friends in Nashville. Helena is a native of Sweden and when she asked me about starting an ABBA tribute band, I realized that ABBA was like the Beatles to her and it's just in her DNA. She knows this music inside and out. Plus, people everywhere love this music!

So who plays in the group, and what are you all up to besides rocking out with KMKY?

Helena has a new solo project of pop/electro/dance music. Britt Savage (lead vocals) has a band of her own, sings with several other groups, and is an in-demand studio singer. Kye Kennedy (guitar, vocals) and Steve Arnold (bass) both played with me in band called Human Radio. James Digirolamo (keyboards, background vocals) stays busy with a number of projects. Kristy West (background vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion) sings with the popular 80’s band Guilty Pleasures and also has a solo project. Wendy Newcomer (background vocals, percussion) plays around Nashville with her band. I play drums (and sing a little) with Knowing Me Knowing You, The Long Players, Guilty Pleasures, Twelve Against Nature, and others.

It’s obvious that you’re all very talented and accomplished, but I’m sure covering this great music presents some challenges. What’s the hardest part of being an ABBA cover band?

The vocals! They did SO many layers of background vocals, it's tough to cover all the parts, even with the seven singers we have. James says the classical piano stuff is pretty demanding, as well.

What’s it like being an ABBA cover band in Nashville?

It's pretty great, because our crowd spans several generations, and includes all types of people. The one thing they all have in common is that they all have big smiles on their faces when they're dancing to the music of ABBA!

One last question: why is Pride important to you?

Pride is an opportunity for people to celebrate who they are. Our band has always felt a strong connection to the gay community because of our many gay friends. In my opinion, Nashville has one of the most welcoming and progressive gay communities in the South. I'm proud to live in a city that can say that. This is one dance party you do not want to miss.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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