Exclusive: Churchill headed into studio with Killers’ producer Brendan O’ Brien

Churchill”s Tim Bruns had quite the Christmas Eve. His best present wasn”t under the tree, it was a phone call from producer Brendan O”Brien, who had heard the band”s music and wanted to work with them.

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“It”s right up there with the dog I got when I was 5,” Bruns says. The Denver-based band heads into the studio with the producer, best known for his work with The Killers, My Chemical Romance, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bruce Springsteen, tomorrow (Feb. 13) in Los Angeles to record a number of songs for the band”s debut full-length album on A&M/Octone.

Similarly to Interscope act Imagine Dragons, the coed quintet”s self-produced EP, recorded before the group was signed, has already spurred a major hit with title-track “Change.” The song, reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, combines a relentless beat, snaky guitar lines, and Bethany Kelly”s expressive vocals. The track reached No. 3 on the Triple A chart, just below the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, as well as the top 20 of the Alternative charts and is now starting a charge at Hot AC radio before likely eventually crossing over top 40. The song, which was also heard on the TV series, “Nashville,” has the kind of catchy irresistibility and wearability as the Lumineers” “Ho Hey” or Goyte”s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” The mandolin-infused, rollicking “Ark In a Flood,” with Bruns on lead, will also draw comparisons to Fleetwood Mac.

A number of songs from the EP will be on the full album, which Bruns hopes will come out late spring. There will also be three or four new songs produced by the band and at least a trio by O”Brien. Among the songwriters the band has been working with is  OneRepublic”s Ryan Tedder, although it”s too soon to know if any of those songs will end up on the album.

O”Brien will be the first outside producer Churchill has worked with. “He is just so good at getting people to play their parts well and pin the right parts to the right moment,” Bruns says. “I think that”s the thing we”re all really drawn to.” 

It was only a little more than a year ago that Churchill won Denver alternative radio station KTCL”s Home for the Holidays concert by entering “Change.” The song went into regular rotation on the station and drew the attention of Octone.  In the past months, especially since “Change” started getting significant airplay, the band has seen a few more faces at its shows as well. “We played Tulsa in June and there were four people there, including the sound guy and the bartender,” Bruns says. “We drove back through there last week and played and there were 200-300 people.”

A highlight was opening for fellow hometown favorites, The Fray, for two night at Red Rocks. “It was unbelievably awe inspiring to just stand on that stage  and play where we”ve all been in the audience for so many shows. Opening two nights was incredible and we”re so grateful, but we want to headline Red Rocks.”

Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the “Change” video shoot. The full video is below as well.