This extended Q&A is supplemental to the Fringe article, “Churchyard: Collaborative to the Core,” and features our complete email discussion with Churchyard‘s Meghan D’Amico, touching on the band’s unique creative makeup, the production of last year’s demo EP, and what sort of sound the group is aiming for.
The Scene described Churchyard’s sound as “lo-fi, grungy garage pop with more than a hint of ’60s psych, surf pop influence,” which is about as vague as just saying the band plays “rock music.” What sort of sound were you aiming for with the demos that are on Bandcamp?
The recordings with Ben Spinks were recorded live in his bedroom. Very minimal, raw and live. That’s exactly what we wanted.
Did Ben Spinks have any sort of creative influence in guiding those songs?
No, we explained the raw feeling we wanted for our demos and that’s what he did! He is a very close friend that understands our sound, so he was able to do a great job capturing it.
Creatively, what does Churchyard do that your solo band or Dead Legs didn’t? What do you think those groups helped you learn that you’ve brought with you to Churchyard?
Dead Legs was its own entity and was a wonderful experience with incredible musicians as well as friends. I learned how to front a band and be comfortable on stage. Churchyard is different from Dead Legs because we are a band. We are both intentional and collaborative with our song writing.
From what I saw online, Alice is a violin teacher. Academic isn’t the word I’m looking for — maybe I’m thinking of something like “classically trained” — but, what does her background provide the band in terms of writing and performing?
Rachel and Alice actually met each other in college orchestra. Really, everyone in the band was classically trained one way or the other. For example, we all have studied music theory. I was trained in Suzuki Violin for seven years and Alice currently teaches Suzuki Violin. It really means that we are familiar with playing music with others, and are comfortable with critique from each other.
Prior to forming (am I correct in saying 2013?), what other bands did Alice, Rachel, and Rebecca play in? Was Joey always part of the group, or was he a later addition?
Rebecca currently plays in the band Study Hall. Alice has been in bands in Memphis including Magic Kids, Scandaliz Vandalistz, and Wintercreeper. Joey: Darla Farmer and Totes Inapropro. And Rachel currently plays guitar in the Riot Grrrl band Roman Polanski’s Baby. Joey started playing with Churchyard about four months ago.
How old are the band members? Is everyone from Tennessee originally?
Rachel (24) and I (27) grew up in Nashville/Franklin area; Alice (27) reps Memphis; Joey (28) is from Johnston City (“Jmotherfuckin’C”); Becs (25) is straight from the streets of Detroit — well, right outside Detroit… She’s “a burb kid.”