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Shady Elders started as a two-piece fronted by Britt Rodemich in 2011. Rodemich found a kindred spirit in guitarist Miles Eichner; the former Tulip Wars guitarist shared her love of dreamy, pop-oriented post-punk, as well as blues and jazz singers. When the Don'ts and Be Carefuls started winding down, Casey Banker filled the bass slot, and the trio then recruited drummer Marlon Chance of Spires. We talked with the band recently about its name and about the advantages of having a truly democratic band dynamic.
Westword: When you changed your name [from Britt Rodemich] to Shady Elders, obviously that also reflected your shift away from singer-songwriter material into more of the kind of music you listen to in everyday life. What inspired such a suggestive name for the band?
Britt Rodemich: It was kind of an accident. It's not like it had some deep personal meaning for me. A couple of my friends, their parents were elders in their church, and both had cheated on their wives. Basically the sentence I spoke was: "Wow, you guys have a couple of shady elders." Then the lightbulb came on and I thought, "That's a great band name." As time went on, I realized the sole meaning of the band name isn't necessarily elders of churches who are really corrupt. Elders are also trees, and I leave it up to the interpretation of any person to decide for themselves what the meaning is, because it can have many meanings, and I'm okay with that.
This band came together through mutual friendships and other projects. What do you think is the strength of this lineup at this point?
BR: Each person is a master of their craft, so to speak. So when it comes together, it makes it that much easier for the creative process to just kill it.
Marlon Chance: It's the only band I've been in where everyone has an ear for songwriting. There's not one person who just wants to be told what to play. Everyone has a sense for what sounds good. It's also the only band I've ever been in where all of our ears for songwriting are hearing the same thing. We pretty much always agree when something sounds best or doesn't.
Miles Eichner: I think that comes from the fact that each of us were primary songwriters in our previous bands.
BR: It makes it easier for me. I went from a place where I was the singer-songwriter, and it was up to me to come up with all the material. That is not the case with this band, so it's nice that I don't feel pressured to be constantly writing. When I'm pressured like that, I'll just plateau. So it's nice that as a team we can relieve that pressure.