- Garett Fisbeck
- Cherry Death poses for a photo in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.
Those who knew Tim Buchanans work from former Oklahoma City rock n roll outfit Glow God might have been surprised to hear the guitarists post-band project, Neil Young- and Big Star-influenced Cherry Death. He wasnt.
Mostly, I feel like its just a straight pop thing, Buchanan said of Cherry Deaths sound. The songs, I feel like, are mostly pop songs.
Before the end of Glow God, Buchanan began work on a side project with drummer Atlee Hickerson and bassist/vocalist Lacey Tackett called Dream Bend. They played a few shows together and recorded a single at Dust House, but over time, that idea morphed and grew into family affair Cherry Death.
Buchanan said he had a vague idealistic change following Glow God and began writing a lot of songs.
The first Cherry Death record, 2014s Brain into Blue Skies, was almost entirely a solo effort from Buchanan. One day, he said, he was just recording a couple of songs and realized he had a group of tracks he liked, so he just decided to put it out.
I just stumbled into it being what it is, and Ive continued to stumble since then, he said.
Buchanan joined his first band in junior high. Since then, music has been what he does, what he cares about.
Especially the last seven or eight years now, its been the main focus; trying to tour a lot and actually putting out records and making things, he said.
It takes time, Buchanan said, for anyone to understand what it is you do and how you do it, music or otherwise.
Growing up around Baptist churches, he saw his grandpa on one side of the family singing in the choir and his grandma from the other side playing piano. There was no one in his family who was specifically a musician, but Buchanan always felt welcomed and supported in his own pursuits, growing up around the gospel hymns and seeing what music meant to other people in his family.
He especially remembers a music teacher at Soldier Creek Elementary School in Midwest City who helped foster his musical spark.
It just seemed like he really cared about it, he said. When youre able to hear something and it makes you feel some way, but then you see someone else thats doing it and it obviously makes them feel some way, its like little guidelines that point you in the right direction.
Cherry Death has no official roster. Aside from Buchanan, Hickerson, Tackett and guitarist Kilyn Massey, the band uses a rotation of many other members within Buchanans circle of friends, depending on show needs and member availability.
Its kind of always changing, and weve had different people play with us live, he said. On the recordings, we always try to get a lot of different people involved too.
For Buchanan, Cherry Death is a much more intimate venture than Glow God, a band in which the brain trust was divided up more evenly among the bands members. Writing for this project, in many ways, has been therapeutic for Buchanan.
Its just me writing for the most part [with Cherry Death], so I guess just by default, I forced myself into doing something more personal, he said.
Buchanan said his songwriting process tends to change as often as the makeup of the band. The two full-length Cherry Death projects were written sitting down with his guitar at his computer, usually on a whim or whenever the mood struck him.
However, the songs on the two single releases were ideas Buchanan said he had before he even wrote them down.
Instead of being part-by-part or piece-by-piece, I just had a song pop into my head, which is a bit more rare, so its kind of slowed down a little bit, but its all right with me, he said.
Buchanan tries to let his songwriting come across as naturally as possible. The point, he said, is not to put too much thought into it. If you play too much of an active role in the process, if you try to force something, youll be messing with the product.
Its not possible to do anything wrong with music if youre acting through nature rather than letting your or anyone elses ego get in the way to form whatever it is, he said.
Above all, the songwriter said simply interacting with others provides him with creative fuel.
Thats kind of why I make it a point to play with so many different people, he said. Growing up, I was in more bands at the same time, so I learned to draw inspiration from all these different people constantly.
Buchanan said Cherry Death should start work on another project soon. He said the band has as many as 50 demos prepared for a future record.
Print headline: Cherry blossoms, Songwriter Tim Buchanan finds creative footing in family band Cherry Death.