by Mely Duong
Weekender is a band hailing from right in our backyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Classified into the psychedelic dream pop genre, the band consists of four members: brothers Derek and Nic Sheehan in addition to Tom Anthony and Emily Cahill. Interestingly enough, it seems that each member goes above and beyond the call of duty in assuming more than one role in the band with all members contributing to the vocals though Derek is the lead vocalist. Meanwhile, Derek also adds with lyrics and guitar, Nic with drums and keys, Tom with guitar, and Emily with bass.
Weekender is a name that came into Derek’s head one day when he termed a file of photos taken during the weekend with his girlfriend “weekender.” Furthermore, the name is certainly applicable to the band as most of their music practice has been relegated to the weekend because they all work. However, other than these superficial meanings, the name simply does not provide the depth that other band names do. Weekender is just an arbitrary term as the band values their passion for producing music first and foremost over any other messages that they may have to spread.
Although Weekender is in their “collaborative infancy” as Derek cleverly phrases it and have been playing together for only a few months, they managed to release an EP titled Spanish Peaks in 2013. Derek, the primary songwriter thus far, spun and mesmerized fans with catchy yet emotional lyrics. Moreover, the passion in which he delivered every vocal note resonates throughout the entire EP. Meanwhile, the rest of the band is extremely cohesive in the psychedelic tunes as they hit each note solidly blow by blow providing us with a bit of a heavier sound in “Spanish Peaks” and a softer sound in “No Help From Jesus.” The songs are perfect for a cross country road trip as they are soothing yet intertwined with a sense of dreamy fun. If while listening to the band, you are reminded of another band, just stop right there. Weekender has no intention of reinventing the wheel but if they manage to do so that is great, states Derek. “My goal originally was to just make music that I wanted to hear. Other people like it, too, so that’s pretty cool.” Actually, Derek recalls emulating some songs a few years ago but notes that they would turn out different from the original song he was inspired by and attributes this to his own personal style.
As aforementioned, Derek is also the main lyricist. However, the band is beginning to shift gears and is transitioning away from this as the other members have stepped up to the plate, providing their input for further collaboration. The inspiration for their lyrics is actually inspired by the natural world as well as emotions and experiences. Derek comments, “Many people overlook the many little amazing things that happen around us each day. This planet is just beautiful. It is very inspiring… I like finding my own meaning when I listen to songs, and that is what I hope people do with our songs.” Additionally, although the Philadelphia music scene does not influence their content directly, the band is inspired by the variety of genres and scenes in that it motivates them to constantly improve and to “keep up with all the awesome music coming out of this city.”
The band was also fortunate enough to collaborate with producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson who had previously worked with Modest Mouse. When the Deli Philly did a feature on Johnson moving to town, the magazine also advertised a contest in which five or six bands would be chosen by Johnson for some free studio time with him. During a show at Little Bar, Johnson came to check the band’s impromptu set. The set consisted of Derek on guitar, Nic on drums, and Lucy Stone who was with the band at the time singing. Working with Johnson has been a dream come true as he is constantly introducing some crazy new technique and has a great feel for tones. “Sonically, we are on the same page. He gets what I’m going for and I get what he’s going for, and he totally involves himself in each song.” This dedication and stylistic merge comes forth evidently in Weekender’s songs.
So what else is in store for Weekender? They’ve finished a studio session for their next EP already, and the band is stoked for the next release as should the rest of us! They’ll be playing some shows in New York within the next few months and will also be touring as they have been confirmed to play Savannah Stopover. If you want to learn more, check out Weekender at their Facebook and website.