Written by on June 6, 2013 in CD / DVD Releases, Interviews, May 23, 2013 - Comments Off on CHEROKEE RED



This Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania 5-piece recently released a very impressive eponymous debut. I recently talked to Charles Davis about that and more.

All Access Magazine (AAM) MK – Can you give me a band history?

CD – The band was started by Christiana and myself; we met at a health food store, where I worked and she bought cases and cases of water. After sharing and working on arrangements with one another, we got together with Brittany, a mutual friend, who was also writing some melodies and movements and looking to get involved in a band. While this was happening, Andrew moved back to NEPA from Philadelphia; now our main drummer, he is an excellent musician/ writer who just somehow started jamming with us. Then came Dirk, who is a particularly gifted guitarist and an amazing all- around music- man. No one thought he would want to play with us, because of how cool he is, but it turned out we were wrong. He also recorded our latest record, on top of playing quite a few different instruments on it. The five of us have been playing together for approximately 1.75 years, and have performed all sorts of different shows with all sorts of different groups. It has been a splendid time. Rece
ntly, a gentleman named Matt Rattigan joined our band, and he’s probably now the most talented and coolest (sorry Dirk). Everyone in the band writes/ arranges/ plays various instruments, often swapping back and forth, and everyone really likes one another’s music, albeit that tastes may vary to an extreme degree.

AAM – How does your songwriting process usually work?

CD – It has varied from song to song, but most of the time we go to Andrew’s house and hang out for a bit; someone says ‘Hey, I have this piece I’m working on, would you like to hear it?’ If the answer is ‘yes’, then we all mess around until its arranged to our likeing.

AAM – There are a wide variety of comparisons to other bands being thrown around in reviews and stories on the band (Mazzy Star, Fleetwood Mac, Feist, Cowboy Junkies …). Some of them I get, others I don’t really hear. Who would you say are the biggest influences on the Cherokee Red sound?

CD – One another and our home town of Wilkes- Barre, PA. Musically, there are a lot of influences, and to be honest, I don’t think its possible to name a ‘biggest’ or most important, as our tastes range so greatly. We also play different instruments from song to song, so our sound is dependent upon who is on what instrument, or who wrote what part on what instrument. On that note, I think we may all be listening to ‘Violeta Parra’ right now, she’s amazing.

AAM – “Holy Jam” and “Heavy Soul” are a couple of interesting songs that work together on the disc and while they have a feel not so unlike the rest of the disc, also have a sound that sets them apart. Is there any kind of story behind those 2 songs and the odd samples throughout “Holy Jam”?

CD – ‘Holy Jam’ was a piece I was sketching with Andrew while we were recording. We captured a nice version of it, but later were unsure of using it on the album, as tis probably to be a whole other song one day. Christiana had the idea for the samples, located them, and then Dirk slipped them in where he thought befitting, and poof! it just worked. Magic. Christiana and I wrote “Heavy Soul” together awhile back, twas one of the earliest songs. Once the band came to be, the ending got fleshed out and the various movements really became accented with the harmonies everyone else was adding, and the dynamic of the drums, which is what really stands out the most for me in that piece. The two songs work together so well because of those drums, and because the keys of both songs, although different, have a lot of notes you can pivot on.

AAM – Your CD was just recently re-released. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

CD – For now, we are touring as much as possible in support of the album. Regionally, but hopefully over yonder mountains in the near future. We are also in the process of recording more music. We aren’t quite sure how we are going to release them yet, but there are quite a few more pieces being played at our live shows now, and an endless amount of prototypes in the lab.

AAM – You released an EP before your full lengther. All of the songs on the EP are on the CD. Did you rerecord them or are they the same version?

CD – They are very different versions of the same recordings. We played with them quite a bit and blew through a few gales along the uncharted territory, the EP was essentially to whet pallets.

AAM – How has the PA music scene treated you?

CD – Very well, thus far. At least the eastern half; currently the western half has only been explored by us as individuals, and not in the collective Voltron format as it should be. Soon, though.

AAM – Do any of you have other projects besides Cherokee Red?

CD – I think almost everyone has solo recordings, and Dirk plays in a band called ‘Free Music Orchestra’ or ‘FMO’, which is a sort of experimental free jazz fusion band. They are an everchanging group of talented people, centered around a few exceptional people, one of which is Dirk. (Here are some links to other projects – (FMO (Dirk) – Brittany – Matt – mattrattigan.bandcamp.comCharles –

AAM- You have upcoming tour dates in PA and NY. Do you have any more extensive tour dates?

CD – We have plans to go South to Asheville and North to Burlington and connect some dots in both directions, as those are places where we have some decent connections and a following. We really love playing and touring around, so any opportunities we have to go play for some people interested in listening, we are more than happy to oblige.

AAM – There is a Deerhunter cover on your soundcloud page. Do you flesh out your live shows with covers or is it strictly Cherokee Red music?

CD – Well, between everyone, we have enough original material to sink a ship, so nothing is really played for the sake of it. We will cover songs we really enjoy, or songs which we think we do a unique, interesting or otherwise different rendition. But yes, there are a few in there from time to time, usually longer/ multiple sets.

AAM – I love the video for “Vaya Con Dios”, which is more of a performance video, but you recently filmed a video for Mythomania. What can you tell me about it?

CD – It was filmed by a friend of ours, Derick Crucius, who is a very talented videographer with a great jaw- line. It mostly involves Christiana and Brittany being gorgeous and having dreams about the forest.

AAM- Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

CD – Thanks for checking out Cherokee Red!