Churchill Talks "Change"
Wed, 23 Jan 2013 17:28:33
Churchill might just cause a big Change of their own.
The group's new EP, Change [iTunes link], elegantly weaves strands of rock, folk, and bluegrass into an inimitably and irresistibly enchanting collection of songs. Churchill stand out for their blissful and brilliant amalgam of styles, and they're poised for some very big things in 2013. Meet your new favorite band.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Tim Bruns of Churchill talks Change and so much more.
What's your take on the Change EP as a whole? Did you approach it with one vision or vibe in mind?
It was fun recording it. When we were tracking though, we were terrified. We were like, "None of these songs are like any of the other songs". We didn't know if people were going to get it. They might like one song but hate the rest. It's actually fun to see the response because everyone is digging that it is so different. That's what I like about our band the most. We're evolving a lot—even from song to song. We don't like to do the same thing twice. Recording the EP was fun because of that idea of not using the same sounds on every song and trying out different things.
You have an open canvas creatively.
Yeah, it makes playing with this band both fun and challenging. At first, we let the songs dictate the sound of the recordings. Because everyone surrounding me is so incredibly talented at many different things, you never know where it's going to go and you have to reel it back in. I'm blessed to have the people I play with in the band because they're all so talented and it makes everything fun.
What's the story behind "Change"?
It was all written around that drum beat. I made that beat with a little program I had. I came up with chords. Normally, I'm a melody and lyric guy before I do anything else. In this situation, it was all built around that drum beat and vibe. It was fun to write it like that. It took me about three months to write the lyrics. It all happened right at once quickly though. I came up with the idea of people not wanting to change just to make others like them more. They decide to stay themselves even in the face of tough situations. That's how that whole lyric came about and song in general.
Where did "Sing Out Your Love" come from?
That's a song about doubt and faith. The ways you think as a kid versus the ways you think as an adult can be very different. Even though you don't necessarily go through any crazy experiences or anything like that, the idea is that whatever it is you believe in will be challenged at some point. I was going through one of those seasons of my life where everything I believed in felt like it was being very challenged. It was one of those late night drive songs. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to have silence. I need the TV going or music playing. If ever I'm on a drive and I turn off the music, it's going to get real and I'm going to have to confront myself. That's how the song was birthed.
What artists shaped you?
One of the first really good records I heard was Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The same day that I bought Recovering the Satellites by Counting Crows. Those two records shaped a lot of the way I think about recorded music and songwriting. That shaped me. As we grew and the band started playing together, we all got into Fleetwood Mac. We haven't heard a band like that since them with two separate lead singers on different songs and lots of harmonies. As a whole a band, we go back to Fleetwood Mac a lot. We listen to Elbow and Punch Brothers. We come from a lot of different styles of music. It's fun to mesh those all together.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, I've always been a visual person. My wife's an artist so I've been able to watch that whole process a lot and see the different ways of telling a story even through one picture. I love movies, TV, and storytelling. I'm a big John Steinbeck fan. I think the best stories will get more than one sense involved. If you can hear, feel, and see the lyrics and emotion and those things come together at once, it's a good song that's worth talking about.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
It'd be a B-plus movie [Laughs]. It's something that shows potential for a director, but he hasn't hit the mark yet [Laughs].
Has this paved the way for the full-length?
We're doing the rest of our record right now. A lot of the songs on the album were done a year ago and we were in different places. We're trying to mesh these two things we're excited about. We're excited about different things than we were excited about a year and a half ago. It's been fun to mesh the new ideas with the old ones. We're always evolving, listening to new things, and learning new things.
How does everything come together sonically?
It's just luck. Mike, the mandolin player, and I started the band. It was going to be this folk thing like The Lumineers are doing now four or five years ago. When we brought Bethany in to sing, we didn't even know she played piano at the time, but we found out she's an incredible piano player. We brought in Joe to produce the first record. He's a phenomenal drummer. We met Tyler randomly one night. The best learn I learned in this band is to let go of my pride a little bit and let everyone do what they want and is best for the song on whatever I bring to the table. I never would've come up with the mandolin line on change or the beat on "Made a List".
Have you heard Churchill?