Nick Alfano, Contributing Writer
Out of a bottomless pool of local acts clamoring to get closer to the limelight every day, one band has combined their musical originality and knack for the business side of the industry to carve a path of their own.
The four-headed group, She, is comprised of singer/guitarist Liza Grishaeva, drummer/keyboardist Tyler Smith, bassist Dino Sanchez and guitarist Seamus McDaniel.
Grishaeva, the band’s frontwoman and architect, says she’s been waiting for a group of people to work with since she was writing songs at 13 years old. Grishaeva met Sanchez after releasing solo recordings during the summer of 2018, and the two started collaborating.
“We kind of had a proxy band with members coming in and out, and then Dino introduced me to Tyler because we needed a new drummer — and he joined in March,” Gishaeva said. “Seamus was the last to join in July, so with this lineup we’re really new.”
Describing She’s sound is a surprisingly difficult task. While most sonically akin to indie rock, the band’s expansive and oftentimes theatrical instrumentals are more refined than the average DIY garage band sounds Richmond is known for.
“Sure, the music always comes first, but people want an aesthetic. We want to be really solidified in who She is.” — Liza Grishaeva
Whether it be for the sake of simplicity or due to their genre-bending catalog’s inability to be put into just one box, She is moving forward as a self-proclaimed pop band.
“Pop is like a base dish; you can add a lot of different elements to pop, and we selectively add what we like from the music we listen to,” Smith said. “Because it’s still palatable, we like to call it pop. It’s a short answer for what would be an otherwise difficult question.”
The group’s self-titled and debut single is an amalgamation of genres, with the first half of the track being upbeat and somewhat grungy, then quickly shifting to a droning outro laden with washed-out guitars.
“I finished writing ‘She’ and ran it over to Dino and said ‘Dino this is it! I did it! We got it!’ And nobody thought anything of it, but I knew its potential,” Grishaeva said.
She has also decided to push innovation outside of just their music. To them, live performances present an additional opportunity to experiment and push the boundaries of their tracks.
“We don’t play in the same place more than once a month and don’t repeat other bands we play with at all, so we play in front of a lot of different people,” Grishaeva said. “We try to pick something up and learn something new from every crowd.”
Despite releasing their debut single this past November, the band has racked up more than 35 live performances since forming midway through 2019. Their setlists consist of a combination of yet-to-be-heard tracks and Grishaeva’s solo music released prior to the formation of She.
“In the past six months we’ve really been busting our asses doing shows,” Smith said. “In October and November, we were in overhaul. We did about 15 shows in those two months.”
On Saturday, She performed at the Renaissance for WRIR’s 15-year anniversary party, playing before acts including the highly acclaimed No BS! Brass Band.
The setlist was comprised almost entirely of unreleased music, much of which was woven together with lush instrumental interludes.
“I’m sorry I didn’t talk much because I was really nervous, but now I’m not,” Grishaeva said to the crowd before closing the set with “She.”
Despite the band’s growing musical acclaim, She aims to focus on the oftentimes forgotten business aspect of the music industry.
“Our greatest goal is consistency on all fronts,” Smith said. “And we work really, really hard to make sure this works.”
They even went as far as visiting professors at VCU’s School of Business during their office hours to inquire about branding and marketing opportunities.
“Sure, the music always comes first, but people want an aesthetic,” Grishaeva said. “We want to be really solidified in who She is.”
The band She is on Instagram @she.rva.