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Your Weekend Playlist, Courtesy of Sedona

Hailing from Seattle, Los Angeles, Missouri, and Long Island, the five-piece, pop-rock band, Sedona, considers Brooklyn to be their home. Trudging through the sonic swamps of myth rock and dirty pop, Sedona stands out from the rest like a catchy tune playing at a hair salon. The band,  led by Rachel Stewart on vocals with Claire Gilb on guitar, Margaux Bouchegnies on bass, Tia Cestaro on drums, and Merilyn Chang on keys, promises an unpredictable mix of dancey pop tunes and heartfelt ballads. 

With a handful of singles out and their EP, Rearview Angel, on the way, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this rising group. Milk caught up with Sedona to chat about their musical evolution, dream collaborators, and the ups-and-downs of working together.

Curious what tunes this band has on their playlist:

How would you describe your music to a first-time listener? 

Rachel Stewart: Hair salon pop. 

Merilyn Chang: Indie/ballad pop. Whimsical.

Claire Gilb: Myth rock.

Margaux Bouchegnies: Glam power pop rock. 

Tia Cestaro: Sad girl pop.

What do you love about New York and how does it influence what you create or your sound, if at all?

RS: I love New York because it brought us together, but I don’t think the city itself has influenced our sound in any way other than who’s in the band. I’m from California. Claire’s from Missouri, Merilyn & Tia are from New York, and Margaux is from Seattle. 

MC: Yeah. I don’t think it influences our genre itself – I feel like our sound doesn’t come from a specific place.

CG: For me, most of my community is here in the city, so it feels easier to create and exist here. I do think there’s something particular about New York that influences the way I write and perform more than any other place. Maybe it is the grind and ambition. 

MB: As Rachel and Merilyn both mentioned, I don’t really think of the city itself as influencing our sound, but it’s an incredible place to be for anyone pursuing music. For me, it’s really inspiring to be around a community of people who have so much integrity in their artistic voice. I feel like that has an influence on our sound in the kind of commitment we hold to our own creative choices for Sedona. 

Who are some artists that you would consider to be your biggest influences or inspirations? 

MC: Massive Attack, Mazzy Star, and Burial. I love the 90s.

TC: Classic rock. I would like to intertwine our sound with some of my own influences: Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

RS: Gwen Stefani, Slowdive, The Roches, Laura Nyro, Patrice Rushen, Men I Trust, Kate Bush, The Cleaners From Venus – I’m all over the damn place.

MB: Paul Simon, Carpenters, Pixies, Joni Mitchell, Kate Davis, and NIRVANA!!! Love that Folk and Rock. 

CG: Britney Spears, Fiona Apple, and The Breeders

From the moment Sedona began to where it is now, how do you feel the music has evolved over time? Where’s it headed next?

TC: I think our sound is definitely evolving. Since we are becoming closer as friends and as a group we are putting more of our individual input- and since we all have different musical backgrounds it for sure is changing from when our first song came out.

CG: I think as we’ve finally established the forever members of the group it’s made way for so much genre exploration. There really is a piece of everyone in every song. 

MC: I’m excited for more of our ballad songs to come out with the EP. Our sound is growing to have an interesting dichotomy between upbeat tunes and emotionally heavier influences.

RS: I think we’ve reeled ‘em in with some large indie power bops, and as we progress we plan to drag you into our dark & dreamy portal of ethereal soundscapes, heartbreaks, and everything in between. You are merely on the edge of what lurks deep inside the Sedona echo chamber. 

MB: Over the time that I’ve been in Sedona I’ve seen the music evolve from sweet and empowering to something that still has that but with darker shades and rawness. Watch out.

What has being in a band taught you?

MB: Being in a band has made me realize just how valuable it is to be honest in a creative setting. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in not wanting to step on anyone’s toes, but the best music we make happens when everyone’s voice is heard. This is definitely the most serious band I’ve been a part of and I feel really grateful to be making music with these people. You really learn a lot about each other through collaborative songwriting and it’s an honor to know them all in such a unique way.

TC: It has really taught me to grow musically and emotionally maybe physically lol.. whether we are just jamming or playing our own songs it challenges how I play, how I feel when I play, and how I interact with the band while we are playing. It’s such a great feeling.

CG: I’ve learned big lessons in my life by being in this group. We are a band. But we are also friends, family, co-workers, lovers, collaborators, and siblings. It can be hard to navigate, but at the end of the day, there’s so much TLC. 

MC: Working with people can be hard, but at the end of the day, it’s still all love. 

RS: Being in a band is a delicate enigma that is ever-changing and evolving. In any intimate relationship, you become so in tune with each other’s emotions. Showing up for yourself and everyone in the band is a challenging and rewarding act of balance. But I think at the end of the day, we all are very caring towards each other. 

TC: To me, it feels like I have found my ultimate-big-love family.

How do you make creative decisions together? 

MC: Some of our songs we all wrote together and some are more individually done, but the ones that we do write together, the writing process flows really seamlessly. Someone plays a riff on an instrument, and then Rachel will sing on it and write the lyrics either separately by herself or right then and there in the jam session. 

Favorite Sedona song?

SEDONA: We really like “Closer.” 

Any new music releases? What are your plans for this year?

TC: Our debut EP will hopefully be out this year, and we have two music videos in the works. We are also going to LA for our headline show as soon as COVID-19 takes the backseat. Then we’ll try to chill a sec and write more.

If you could collaborate with any artists, who would it be? 

CG: Avril Lavigne. 

MB: Joanna Newsom.

TC: Connan Mockasin.

RS: Robin Guthrie.

MC: King Princess.

Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists

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