INTERVIEW: Zach Churchill

Hi Zach, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been feeling pretty grateful lately!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Bartender”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes, “Bartender” was written on my first day in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse in June of 2014. I had overdosed on heroin about 10 days earlier in the bathroom of a bar after a gig. The bar manager was closing the venue around 2am when he noticed light coming from under the bathroom door. He went to turn it off and the door was locked, so he went to the back room to grab a key and came back to find me dying on the floor. After a week in ICU I went to rehab, and that’s where I wrote this song to the bar manager who found me and called the paramedics. If he had just gone home that night I wouldn’t be here today. This song is a thank you to him, and a promise to myself that I will not waste this second chance at life.

I recorded this song with Julian Coryell in late 2018 at West Triad Studios in Venice, CA. After completing “Bartender”, we went on to record 10 more tracks which will be released in early 2022 as a full album, Heartbreak and Hope.

Was it easy to become this vulnerable?

No. It took me almost dying to finally get honest with myself. I spent ten years trying to prove I could drink and use like other people, lying to myself and everyone around me. But in recovery I have found that it is easier to be honest than it is to keep up the charade. Living a double life is extremely draining! There is such relief in surrender and acceptance. Now I try to tell the truth to the best of my ability, which is easier to remember. I have also decided to be completely transparent in regards to my struggles with addiction so that anyone who hears my music and my story who can relate might find comfort in knowing that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes! I have an official music video as well as a mini documentary/interview coming out soon. Stay tuned!

How was the recording and writing process?

On my first day in rehab at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, I went into the “meditation room” which overlooked PCH and the Pacific Ocean and found a blue, acoustic guitar that someone had left behind. I picked it up and “Bartender” just poured out of me very quickly. That was a very special writing experience as I really did not have to do much – I was just letting something out. The emotions behind it were so strong that all I had to do was get out of the way. I tried to record the song a couple times throughout the years but it never felt right until I linked up with Julian Coryell. We worked on the arrangement together – added some modulations to keep upping the ante as the song gets more and more intense and then crescendos in the final chorus. Working with Julian was incredible. He is all about serving the song and the emotion. I learned a lot recording with him.

What role does Southern California play in your music?

Southern California plays a major role in my music as it is the setting and backdrop of my entire life. In that sense, it has shaped me in ways I cannot even begin to understand. I grew up here. I experienced everything I write about from this perspective. I have written countless songs staring out at the Pacific Ocean. I am grateful for that.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! “Bartender” is the lead single off of my forthcoming full album, Heartbreak and Hope. A follow up single will be released in the next month or two, followed by the full album in early 2022.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Heartbreak and Hope, January 2022.

What else is happening next in Zach Churchill’s world?

As long as I am still here, I want to use my time to record, release, and perform original music. I am already in the studio working on a follow-up record to Heartbreak and Hope, and plan to release and tour all this new material sometime in summer/fall of 2022. Thank you for listening!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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