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April/May 2016

by Bing Turkby

Fresh Talent: Churlington

by Bing Turkby

Fresh Talent: Churlington

From a fraternity forged in friendly Feilding, Churlington emerged as a pile-driving punkish duo who often record in bucolic Bunnythorpe. The peaceful rural surrounds are a stark counterpoint to the ferocious sounds produced by Daniel Brown (guitar and vocals) and James Cartwright (drums, bass and recording/production).

“Next year will be 20 years of making music,” says James.

“We were still in school,” recalls Dan. “We were in a pretty crappy pop-punk band. We didn’t really break any further than playing in my lounge. But it was a good lounge, and people turned up to listen.”

Now they’re part of a collective called Horsefight, which mixes and matches members for various bands. There are different genres and band lineups (including Date With The Knife), which they enjoy, but they’re very excited that the Churlington two-piece format lets them work insanely fast and just be prodigiously creative.

“It’s perfect,” says Dan. “We can nut out an EP in a month!”

Their oeuvre consists of songs that all come in under the 2-minute mark, each with a heroically long title. The song titles in each release do have a consistent theme – see if you can figure out what the link is.

Churlington don’t want your money. The two old friends know they don’t make music that’s commercially viable.

“It’s just great to hang out.”

And though they’d love it if you stopped by to have a listen to their prolific output, they’re at pains to point out that ‘pay what you like’ includes everything down to zero dollars. They just get a buzz every time someone listens to a song and enjoys it.

Having recorded several EPs, the duo are now teeing up some gigs (Wellington’s Valhalla is one) and actually getting out in front of real, live people. They’ll probably add a bass player to fill out the sound. Thanks to the Horsefight collective, this should be easily accomplished.

Dan is keen to ensure that their live act is a proper performance, and wants the audience to feel a little unsafe, as if anything could happen. James points to bands such as Dillinger Escape Plan which provide a template for a truly exciting gig experience.

Though they met in Feilding, the band is now geographically separate. Dan still lives in the tidiest little town in the country, but James is in Wellington. This has dictated their recording process as he explains.

“Dan records guitars at home and gives me those, and a click. I’ll take it home and do the drums and bass. And I’ve never heard the vocals… so I actually don’t know how the song’s going to be.” “To be fair,” admits Dan, “I don’t really know how the song’s going to be until James pulls it together.”

The last stage is to meet up in Bunnythorpe.

“We come here and do the vocals, because there’s no-one around,” to hear the screaming. Dan is full of praise for James’ talents as a producer.

“He literally sews it all together.”