If you ask any local musician, critic or music fan about the most exciting thing on the Triangle scene’s horizon, the vast majority of them will have an emphatic answer — Hopscotch Music Festival.
The three-day event is on the minds and tongues of most local and national music fans, and this week, Dive talks to Reese McHenry of the Dirty Little Heaters, one of many bands that will be a part of Churchkey Records’ Hopscotch daytime showcase, Churchkey III, which goes down on Saturday, September 11 at 12:30 p.m.
Check the end of this Q&A for links to the series of interviews leading up to Churchkey III.
Diversions: What is Chuchkey III? How did you initially hear about it?
Reese McHenry: I heard about it from Kyle [Miller] actually. Churchkey III — so it’s the birthday party. So we were going to do Hopscotch [Music Festival], and then we heard that there was going to be a Churchkey showcase, because we’re a party of Chuchkey and because it’s got the baddest acts in town that I want to be affiliated with. Even if we weren’t on that label I’d be so happy to do something with Churchkey. I heard it was at Tir Na Nog, because we’re doing it during the day — which is great, so I can go see shows at night.
Dive: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Hopscotch?
RM: I’m looking forward to The Love Language, Whatever Brains, Megafaun, Public Enemy of course. I was going say Public Image Ltd., which is not playing, by the way. I wish I had the schedule right in front of me, but then you’d have to put like a million bands that I’d want to see. I mean I am really excited about playing the showcase too, because I’ll be able to see all those Churchkey bands in one afternoon. Even if hopscotch wasn’t going on, I think that would be awesome to watch. I’m so excited about the whole thing. I actually have my whole schedule worked out too – I love how they have it that one bands plays at ten and one band plays at ten thirty.
Dive: What role do you think Chuchkey plays in the local music community?
RM: I think that Churchkey has become kind of one of the frontrunners, a really strong label that is able just by their name to pull really good acts. They have Spiderbags on their label now. That’s crazy, you know? I think between the really good acts that they have on the label and those acts being really strong and community oriented, it draws people to want to be a part of their label. I don’t think Churchkey — at this point, I don’t think they have to woo anybody. I think anybody would be happy to be a part of Churchkey.
Dive: What do you think Hopscotch says about the Triangle? Does it make this scene more legitimate?
RM: I think that the Triangle has really good festivals all around — Troika, the Carrboro Music festival, Rebus Fest. They’re all fantastic community-oriented shows. I think Hopscotch is kind of the granddaddy of them all. Hopscotch was able to take these things that have worked with the other smaller — it’s kind of a good stepping stone to this big huge show now. There are so many bands playing at Hopscotch. I think too to be able to draw Public Enemy and other headlining acts like that — it’s great, and what better place to do that than the Triangle.
Dive: What do you want people to take away when they leave the Churchkey day party?
RM: I mean, I hope that if people decide that they’re going to come see the Churchkey showcase, that they come away thinking that that’s a badass label that’s got really badass acts on it. It’s kind of a weird thing to say because our band’s a part of it, but our band aside, that is the best—I don’t think it’s the best acts in the Triangle, but I think it truly showcases the best of what you can get from the Triangle. Like Hammer No More The Fingers is so different from the Dry Heathens, but both are fantastic, you know? I think if people were just able to see the Churchkey showcase, I wouldn’t think that hopscotch was a lost cause. I just think if Hopscotch equaled Churchkey showcase, that would be a good god damn show. All the bands on that label are fantastic to watch.
Dive: Is there a common thread between the bands on the label?
RM: I feel like the linear, or the string running through everybody, is that each band rocks. There’s nothing weak or even held back about those bands. Those bands are all kind of balls to the walls, really good songwriters and a really strong presence for each band.
Dive: What part of Churchkey III is most exciting for you?
RM: We’re playing first. I’m excited about that, because I think when you can play first and get it out of the way, you’re able to enjoy the other bands without thinking, “OK, our show’s coming up. All these people are going to be here.” It takes away the excited nervousness of being about to play. I’ll be excited to have the rest of the day to see bands there and then go on and see all of Hopscotch. I think we got the prime spot to be honest. I don’t know if anyone else would feel that way. I think sometimes people get the idea that playing first is for new bands, but I’m like, “Please, we always want to play first.” I think it’s because our band likes to drink a lot. We’re like, “Put us on first so we can go drink and watch the other bands.” When I was in bands in the nineties, you’d want to headline, you’d want to play very last. It’s funny how I’ve flipped completely.
Churchkey III Interview Series:
July 28: Diversions (The Daily Tar Heel) talks with The Dirty Little Heaters
August 4: WNnG (Bull City Records) talks with Hammer No More The Fingers
August 11: Mann’s World talks with The Loners
August 18: Triangle Music talks with Last Year’s Men
August 25: Recess (The Chronicle) talks with Spider Bags
September 1: The Independent Weekl talks with The Dry Heathens
September 8: On The Beat (The News & Observer) talks with Free Electric State
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