Craigslist ad leads student to Killing Daylights

The Killing Daylights, from left to right, Beau Powell (guitar/vocals), Chelsea Kerwath (bass/vocals), Megan Browning (lead vocals), Cory Dunn (lead guitar) and Bubba Farmer (drums) formed in 2010.

Maya Earls
Contributing Writer

Megan Browning, a jobless VCU student in 2010, turned to Craigslist to find work and ended up becoming the lead singer of The Killing Daylights, a Richmond based band with ‘90s roots.

As a young child growing up in Hampton, Va., Browning always felt passionate about music. She started singing professionally at the age of 17, in Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but Browning eventually quit when the theme park stopped paying for her gas.

While studying public relations at VCU, Browning craved for a creative outlet that could still help her pay for school. After searching Craigslist nearly every day, Browning found a group seeking a singer and answered its call.

“Going into somewhere completely new, by yourself, with a bunch of people you’ve never met before is always intimidating, but they seemed to have liked me,” Browning said.

When Browning first joined, the band performed as At Random. But the band members hated the name, Browning said, and after a quick online search, the name “At Random” already held many copyrights. The story behind The Killing Daylights varies within the band. According to Browning, an early morning snowfall inspired the name.

“We walked outside after recording for a really long time and the sun had come out,” Browning said. “The sun hit the snow in such a way that it blinded us, so we were like ‘Killing Daylight.’”

Rhythm guitar player Beau Powell said his first idea played on the name “Living Daylights,” but it was too similar to the 1987 James Bond movie.

“The first thing that came to mind was the ‘Dying Daylights’ … but that was kinda depressing,” Powell said. “The next progression in my mind was ‘Killing.’”

Either way, the name stuck.

While many bands are formed through mutual friendships or family, The Killing Daylights were put together by a manager who wanted to make a supergroup of Richmond artists. Powell said the group worked past their musical differences and combined their skills to make a new sound.

“It took a long time just to wrap around each other’s head stylistically and improvisationally,” Powell said. “Some nights it’s so in sync that everybody can feel their way through a song just by playing with each other.”

The Killing Daylight’s sound is more pop-oriented with a focus on vocals and lyrics, said drummer Bubba Farmer, but they still have an edge.

“We definitely have a ’90s element,” Farmer said. “(And) I think the influence of The Killers has rubbed off on us a little bit.”

Browning’s first performance with the band was in 2010 at Sharky’s Bar in Innsbrook. Browning said her first show felt nerve wracking. She said she had big shoes to fill because the previous singer also performed at the venue.

“I had to match people’s expectations, which was really scary,” Browning said. “But we overcame it and we rocked out.”

After playing at a few local clubs, The Killing Daylights started looking towards the festival scene. In 2012, the band won radio station XL 102’s Battle for Fantoberfest and earned a six-month residency at The Republic. Browning said her favorite performance with the band so far was at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in June, 2013.

“The crowd was insane because there was beer and bourbon,” Browning said. “It was just a really crazy show and I want more like that.”

Cory Dunn, the lead guitarist, said the band has grown close over the years. After taking a break from the group in September because of the birth of his daughter, Dunn said he was itching to return to the stage. For Dunn, his most memorable performance with The Killing Daylights was his return to the band.

“To come back and have everybody welcoming me back was a really cool experience,” Dunn said.

The band is now working on its first full-length album. Keeping costs down, the band records in Farmer’s studio, named Darth Fader. Browning said recording is much harder than she expected.

“It took me literally six hours to get four songs done,” Browning said. “But it is so fun to get the completed product in your hands.”

In the future, Browning said the band wants to embark on their own tour up and down the East Coast. For her, The Killing Daylight’s true measure of success will be the day when they do not have to rely on a daytime job.

“Our goal is to be self-sustaining on music alone,” Browning said. “No nine-to-fives.”

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