Although there is 7 thousand miles of distance and a 7 hour time difference between them, creating divinely intimate music has no tangible boundaries for Andy Jossi & Krissy Vanderwoude of The Churchhill Garden. This being their 7th song collaborating together (under several band monikers), with a song reaching past seven minutes long.
“Bittersweet” is an apt title, given the longing, sentimental melody line of the instruments contrasted against the warm, angelic vocals of Vanderwoude. Even though the words she’s singing are heart-wrenching, there always remains a shimmering ray of light & hope in her tone: “How could I not fall, fall all over you?” Arguably, one could not be in some way uplifted just by listening to her pristine soprano. It’s no wonder Jossi made Vanderwoude a permanent member of TCG, after such successful releases as “New Day”, “All Beauty Must Die”, and “In Your Waves”. Vanderwoude comments, “At this point we have no plans to stop working together.”
Jossi, a self-taught musician, says he “grew up in the most incredible time for indie pop & shoegaze music” being an 80’s teenager. Inspired by post-punk & new wave bands such as The Cure, New Order, and the Railway Children, he started writing his own music by learning bass & guitar. Unfortunately, he has an unwavering stand against ever performing live. As as songwriter, Jossi states that he “never thinks about what [he’s] doing, but waits to see what’s happening. I always try not to sound like a copy, but never try to hide my musical background.” Jossi’s artistry is seemingly limitless: his Blue Herons project is more jangle-pop indie (“I always wanted to sound British, not Swiss.”), while Serpent Garden is much darker, eclectic, and experimental sounding. The Churchhill Garden is an abyss of the post-punk & shoegaze genres for which he is so immersed.
As for the process of composing worlds apart, Vanderwoude explains: “With Andy being in Switzerland and me in the US (Indiana), he writes the song structure and then sends it to me via dropbox. I write and record the vocals (usually scratch tracks at first, to see if he likes the direction), and send them back to him. We are both very honest with each other, so if there is something that we do not like, or think would sound better another way, we are sure to offer up that feedback. There is never any hard feelings or wounded pride, as we both value constructive criticism and want the tracks to be perfect in the end. Once we agree on a direction, I record the vocals raw and then send him the vocal tracks back, via dropbox. He then begins the mixing process (which he is also genius enough to know how to do himself), and then we send out the track for mastering to Andrew Rose once it is done! Thankfully, it’s actually very easy to write together, because of these advances in modern technology!”
With “Bittersweet”, Jossi approaches tenderly with soft percussion and wish~washing guitar strums. The mood is beautiful, but achingly pensive as Vanderwoude sings: “I’d rather die than hurt you, I won’t lie or desert you, I’d do anything for you.” Coming upon the chorus, the tempo picks up slightly with the momentum of the words that have broken a thousand hearts: “I just want to see you happy, even if it isn’t with me…I want you to know, that if I have to let you go, I will always love you.” Now the music is in full distortion mode, lifting up in intensity along with the vocals. The song progresses to a nearly 2 minute interlude of echoing, searching sighs and a frantic drum-line. Perhaps this represents the time where two hearts separate, the chaos that ensues searching for what is missing, and the sense of urgency to find each other once again. Resolving, “There will never be another you, I will never find a love so true.” The song cycles back again to the chorus, ending with: “This love is bittersweet.”
An incredibly beautiful song expressing the simultaneous feelings of both elation & sadness that can exist in Love. For the talented duo that is now officially The Churchhill Garden, even countless miles & hours apart, there are no regrets – it is all beauty and magic.
For those obsessed with: Mira, Slowdive, The Cure, Cocteau Twins
Former/Current Projects: Blue Herons, Whimsical, The Alpha Artist, Serpent Garden, Dawn