From the outside looking inside, the house at 1326 MacArthur Rd. Appears to be nothing more than a residence – but inside there is a celebration of just music.
Kiki Schueler’s House, also known as Kiki’s House of Righteous Music, is an underground music venue representing Madison’s eclectic DIY concert scene. The Badger Herald sat down with Schueler to talk about what’s going on at her house – and why it’s often the go-to for bands returning to Madison.
The following interview has been edited for style and clarity.
The Badger Herald: What prompted you to start doing Kiki’s House of Righteous Music?
Kiki Schueler: If I won the lottery, I said I would open a club. I love music and we want to host bands that we love. I actually had that name, and when I started doing shows in my basement, it made sense to call it that. It’s just a way to give my favorite bands a place to play.
BH: What is the usual process for a band to perform in your house?
KS: Sometimes these are bands that I already know. Sometimes it’s word of mouth. A band that has played at my place will tell someone else to come and play. And if it’s someone I’m interested in, then I’m definitely going to book it. And sometimes it’s just a booking agent I’ve worked with before, and they bring me another from their groups.
BH: What do you think you offer as a venue that keeps groups coming back and other interested groups?
KS: Everyone who comes to the show is there for the show. There is no reason why you would be here otherwise. Everyone is there to listen to music. They treat it like that, and it’s always a very respectful crowd. They listen instead of spending time with their friends and talking. It’s just a better experience for the band in general because people are there to see them.
BH: Did you notice that whatever the genre, it’s kind of the same tight-knit atmosphere where people are there for the music?
KS: Absolutely. Everyone always [says] it’s very brave of me to let all these people into my house that I don’t know – because most of the time I don’t know the people who come to the show. There are a few regulars, but mostly it’s the band fans and not just the fans of, you know, my house.
BH: How does Kiki’s House of Righteous Music specifically benefit the artist? I remember seeing something about it where the emphasis is on helping the artist in any way possible. Could you clarify this?
KS: All groups, or most of them, stay with me. I usually cook dinner, give them beer and soda, whatever they want to drink. They don’t waste money coming to Madison. All the money that is raised, there is a suggested donation – everything goes to the group. It makes sure I do it because I love the band. I don’t make any money, it all comes back to them.
BH: As a “do it yourself” place, have you encountered any obstacles in your years of doing this?
KS: The only problem is getting people to come and see bands that they haven’t heard of. I would like to think that at this point people would just trust me. But if it’s an unknown group, I have a hard time getting people out.
BH: What are some of your personal highlights as a “do it yourself” organizer?
KS: Just the fact that so many people want to come back. A lot of bands, the first time they play there, they’re like, “Well, that’s the only place we’re going to play Madison from now on.” It makes me feel good because I think I’ve created an environment where they want to be.