“[With Dead Legs] I learned how to front a band and be comfortable on stage,” writes Churchyard‘s Meghan D’Amico via email, the vocalist and guitarist reflecting on her time in the now-defunct four-piece. “Churchyard is different from Dead Legs because we are a band,” she continues. “We are both intentional and collaborative with our song writing.” The resulting sounds have been described as “lo-fi, grungy garage pop with more than a hint of ’60s psych, surf pop influence,” where Dead Legs’ sound blended “the Duke Spirit, the Dead Weather, Polly Jean Harvey and maybe a dash of the moodiness of the Dum Dum Girls all spliced together in some sort of Frankenstein experiment gone right.” When asked what the band was aiming for with the Ben Spinks-produced demos they released in late-2013, D’Amico says: a “very minimal” and “raw” sound. While each descriptor is accurate, they both fail to shed light on the group’s unique musical chemistry.
The members of Churchyard are all in their mid-to-late 20s — with hometowns ranging from Memphis to Detroit — and each adds a different musical twist to the group’s “heavy” and “haunting” sound. Founding drummer Rebecca Cholewa plays in Study Hall, while Joey Dykes, who joined the group about four months ago, has previously played in Darla Farmer and Totes Inapropro. Bassist Rachel Warrick also plays guitar for Roman Polanski’s Baby, and adding complementary vocals up front to D’Amico — who at one time also fronted an eponymous quartet — is guitarist and violinist Alice Buchanan, who’s played in bands including Magic Kids, Scandaliz Vandalistz, and Wintercreeper.
“Rachel and Alice actually met each other in college orchestra,” says D’Amico, addressing the band’s diverse history. “Really, everyone in the band was classically trained one way or the other. For example, we all have studied music theory,” she continues. “I was trained in Suzuki Violin for seven years and Alice currently teaches Suzuki Violin.” Now almost a year beyond those early demos the band bears a cohesion that speaks to the group’s musical vision. “It really means that we are familiar with playing music with others.” “Intentional” and “collaborative” to the core.
[This article was originally published by the Nashville Fringe Festival.]