Interview – Church Mice

Batchawana is a track by the Detroit band Church Mice, which I recently included in a round-up review and playlist based around blues music. They’ve got a really distinctive sound – check out the track at the end of this interview if you like what you read!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a song titled Batchawana, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased? What does the title refer to?

Batchawana can be located and downloaded on all of the major streaming outlets, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. Batchawana is actually a place in Canada Dash – a rather obscure place – that’s why I used it in the title. The song is essentially about how powerful people rise from obscurity, and how that obscure background places an enormous chip on their shoulder. This weighty chip causes them to seek attention, power or influence, maintaining it by any means necessary. The concept of the cartoon villain is really a lampooning of current prominent political leaders.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

The pandemic actually gave me a great opportunity to reestablish my songwriting process. My day job keeps me very busy; prior to the shutdown in 2020, I rarely had time to really dig into creation.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future? Do you have plans to release an EP or album anytime soon?

We have a new single coming out in April titled Midwestern Daydream. In all likelihood, we will record and release two more songs in 2022 and release all our material as an album.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

I am constantly listening and re-listening to all of the influences of my youth. In fact, my recording studio is festooned with oversize posters of my musical heroes: David Bowie, Queen, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, U2, The Cure, Wilco, Stone Temple Pilots.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

The Detroit music scene is very interesting. I know of very few people that have been able to break through and it took them literally decades. The creative vibe in Detroit is quite amazing and exceptionally diverse. Being from an industrial Midwestern town does have an impact on the psyche. Being from Detroit in particular helps to straighten one’s backbone significantly. As any Detroiter can tell you, when you tell someone from a different part of the country where you’re from, their eyebrows raise and usually say something like “oh… wow”, as a not so slight nod to the stereotype Detroit has lugged around with it for a half century. Detroit likes being the underdog. We take being overlooked and slighted as a challenge.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

Our next live show is at the Parliament Room in Ferndale, Michigan on April 29th. It’s one of the local top tier venues that regularly hosts national touring acts. Our band consists of old friends with many years of playing experience together. We hold a light-hearted air about us as we interact and laugh a lot on stage! And our horn section is truly amazing in the live setting – it really helps us stand apart from other rock outfits in the area.

Any last words for the fans?

My hope is that your readers will give church mice a thorough lesson. Our songs are intentionally crafted as journeys; some start slow and fast, some start fast and slow. We believe that songs tell a story and most stories worth telling are interesting, intricate and unique.

Thanks for giving me the platform.