Featured Local Artist: The Orchard

- Featured Local Artist

Mixing folk and classic rock with more modern alternative and indie music, The Orchard are a five-piece band featuring Liam Hellard (lead guitar), Connor Craney (rhythm guitar), Ryan Nelson (keyboard), Adam Hellard (bass) and Matt Chludzinski (drums). They formed in 2019 in Batavia, starting as a cover band, doing takes on songs from The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and many others in an old barn at an apple orchard. There was no A/C or heat in the barn, and rain dripped from the ceiling, but it was a place where the band could be loud and cut loose. In the winter when the barn was too cold, they played out of a rented room in a derelict business park late at night. After working out a short setlist of covers, The Orchard played their first live show at an open mic night. They went on to play more live shows out of basements at local colleges.

Members of the band had been writing songs and they began to try to piece together compositions, spending the entire summer of 2021 working up to their first EP release, Log Hill. After a summer of working on the songs, the project was cut in a couple of afternoons in the basement of the drummer’s house. The tracks captured the sound and feel the band was shooting for and allowed them to start sharing their music. From there, work began on a new EP, the group relocated to Chicago, and they started looking for bar gigs. They dropped a few loose singles during this time, and after some personnel issues and two shows at bars in Chicago, the band lost their original drummer and the new EP was scrapped after nearly being finished.

The Orchard regrouped and started from scratch on another new EP in January of 2023 titled Pot Shot. It was recorded over the course of multiple months in a basement in Chicago. It’s a project that’s still grounded in the 60s/70s music that originally inspired the band to start playing, but is also steeped in influence of more modern alternative/indie bands such as Radiohead, Elliot Smith, The Strokes, Pavement, and more. A big focus for the project was improving the band’s recording and mixing techniques in a push to drop a project that overcame the shortcomings of their first. With fuller arrangements and continuously improving songwriting, the band can’t wait to share this new music. Staying true to the spirit of their DIY-centered approach, the album artwork, mixing, mastering, and recording are all being done in-house. The single for Pot Shot is dropping May 20th and is titled “Autumn Sun.” The EP will be dropping shortly after on June 2nd.

You can follow The Orchard on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok. 

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