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Hartford, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013

Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Folk Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Athena: Bandshes was sort of born out of happenstance. Zoe always tells the story best!

Zoe: The band slowly grew and came together during and right after high school. We’d been friends since our freshman year, and all did music in different ways independently (I wrote and performed songs at open mics, Athena was a music major, and Emily was a musical theater major who also took violin lessons outside of school — for context, we went to a high school for the arts!). Then, sophomore year of high school, Athena and I decided to work on a song together. It’s funny because that song — Show Me the Moon– is now our second most popular song on Spotify and we wrote it when we were fifteen.

From there, the two of us started working on music together and ended up doing our Senior Capstone project together, where we wrote and performed songs about different societal issues. Then the summer after our senior year of high school, we were asked to perform as openers for another great local artist, Kate Callahan. Emily was over during rehearsal and singing along, and a family friend suggested that she sing harmonies with us for the show. From there, Bandshes was born.

We decided to perform and record for fun. We recorded “Demo (rough)” (released Aug. 2013) and “Beautiful World” (released March 2014) in the living room of a family friend, using a single microphone and one-shot takes of each song. It wasn’t very professional, and the performances themselves are live and imperfect, but at the time, we had the intention only to put the music online to be listened to family and friends. Then, last summer, one of our songs was found on Bandcamp and we licensed it to be in a low-budget film for a Canadian film festival. The film ended up being bought by Universal Studios, renamed “Unfriended,” and played around the world.

The song, “Lost Cities” was heard by more people than we ever imagined would happen. What started as a fun project of friends is now becoming more serious: we’re writing new songs, hoping to book more gigs and do a small tour for the summer, and we’re so excited to share new music with the awesome listeners we’ve gained because of “Unfriended”.

What song of yours is the one you like the most?

Athena: I think we all have our own favorites! Mine is definitely Storyteller, which ironically was the hardest for me to write the music for.

Zoe: I don’t think I have a favorite song at the moment, especially as of late because I’ve been thinking more about the ways that I can improve my songwriting. The song that I’m the most proud of lyrically is “Beautiful World,” and am hoping to write something soon that I’ll like enough to consider my new favorite song.

Emily: My favorite song has always been Wild Geese.Before we had the recordings, Zoe would send me a video of her singing it as a birthday gift! But, (spoiler!) we’re working on a new song that might take first place in my book.

How do you write your music?

Zoe: Originally, back during our first gig, I had come to Athena with lyrics with melodies and she put piano parts to them, and then Emily came in and added harmonies. Now, our songwriting is a lot more collaborative, and we work together on the music and melodies, and occasionally, they help me figure out lines for the lyrics! What I’m really excited for is that on some of our new tracks, Emily will not only be singing but also playing violin. It’s going to add a really nice touch to the songs and I think people are really going to like it. Unfortunately, it’s still difficult for us to write music all together at once because we’re all in school. But Athena and I get together to rehearse and write (our colleges are only a half an hour away from each other), and then send recordings of new ideas to Emily for her to listen to and work on until we can all get together.

What is music?

Emily: It’s an expression of emotion that brings people together.

Zoe: That’s an interesting question. I agree with Emily and would like to add that it’s a way of communication, sometimes to an audience, sometimes just to yourself. Instruments and melodies allow you to communicate thoughts and feelings without words, and for me, even the act of writing lyrics is different than other ways of writing or speaking, and allows me to express my thoughts and emotions in a way that is truly liberating. Music is liberating.

Athena: To me, music is the best way for humans to communicate both what they’re trying to say and how they feel simultaneously. It’s also kind of my whole life!

Bandshes 2

What influences do you have?

Zoe: A huge influence for me has been Regina Spektor. In high school, I loved singing her songs and her style has been an inspiration in our songwriting. Another more recent inspiration for me have been The Black Keys and Gary Clark Jr. because they have songs that are very bluesy but also very contemporary. I enjoy the songs we have that have that are jazzier, and want to continue to write songs that are both inspired by jazz and blues but also very contemporary. I also really enjoy the production quality of these artists, which is something I never thought about until going into a studio this semester.

Emily: I would also like to add Lucius to the list of amazing influences. I love Lucius because from their music I get the sense that they work as a team, and that kind of unifying sound is something I aspire to. Also, their harmonies are brilliant!

Athena: I agree with Lucius and Regina Spektor, especially Regina. Instrumentally a lot of my writing is influenced by hers, but also Fiona Apple and Vanessa Carlton (think Willows, not A Thousand Miles). A lot of our newer and yet to be heard stuff has a jazzier feel that I can attribute to them, at least instrumentally.

What´s the best experience you have had with your project?

Zoe: I don’t have one experience in particular I could name as the best with this project, but there are two things that I definitely love about being in the band. The first, is the satisfaction that comes with finishing a song, and the fact that I’m able to work with my friends to create something we can be proud of. The second, is the positive feedback we’ve received from strangers online who’ve heard our music and genuinely like it. Knowing that you’ve created something, that sometimes is very personal and comes from your own emotions and experiences, that has reached someone else is really special. We’ve received messages to our website and via social media from really enthusiastic fans from different parts of the world, and that has been really amazing and encouraging for me.

What plans do you have this year?

For the next year, we’re working on writing new music, recording, and booking gigs. It’s difficult because college makes us all very busy and music becomes less of a priority, and next semester, we’re all going to be in different parts of the world, but come summer, we want to be performing and working hard to write and record some new music to release.

Mention something you don´t like about your project

Mostly, it’s difficult for us to work on music because of college, distance, and work. We love creating the songs, and having the finished recorded project to share with people, but recording itself is something we’re still getting used to. Coordinating our schedules to get together to record has been hard, and when we’re there we feel a lot of pressure to get it right in the small window of time we have together. This will likely become easier with time though. Our first recording of our album “Beautiful World” was recorded live on one microphone in someone’s living room and when we went into the studio to record a better version of “Lost Cities” from the album, it went very smoothly, and we’re so happy with what we have now, but being in a recording studio is new territory and can be stressful.

Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.

Emily: I can’t think of any big sacrifices I’ve made for our music, though I often make small ones. We all have so much on our plates right now that when we’re focusing on music, other commitments get neglected. The most common sacrifice these days is not staying home to write the paper that’s due the next day so that we can play an open mic. Or calling out of work the morning of to make it to a recording session.

Zoe: We haven’t had to make any huge sacrifices yet, except for that of our time. Coordinating our schedules this semester for recording, for example, has been a sacrifice for time that we could’ve spent doing homework, at our jobs, or doing things with other friends. If we want to continue to perform and record and be more committed, it will require even more of our time, and although sometimes this will definitely feel like a sacrifice because it is not always easy to balance our various life responsibilities, I know it will feel rewarding and worth while in the end.

Bandshes 3

What band, music project or solist from your city do you like?

Hartford has a bounty of great local musicians, but if we had to choose one of the many to talk about, it’d be Hartford Hot Several Brass Band. The quirky ensemble is unique to our community, their energy is contagious, and continually rally people together wherever they go. Athena even gets to join in on the ruckus sometimes on Melodica!

If your project was a word, what would it be?

Zoe: If I had to choose a word to describe our project, I’d say “unifying.” The band has brought us closer together as friends during a time in our lives where it is very easy to lose touch with people from high school. Performing and sharing our music has also helped us to connect with other musicians and with listeners from around the world, and I hope that as we continue on this journey, we are able to connect with more people.

Athena: This is a tough one, probably “lucky”. We have a continual habit of being in the right place at the right time.

What´s your full name?

Zoe Chatfield (lyrics and vocals), Athena Demaille Von Schmidt (piano and musical arrangement), Emily Gregonis (vocals and violin). We’re all currently in school and worked together to answer these questions from our colleges!

-Bandshes - Music Sound Rocks

"Trio's song finds way into blockbuster movie, 'Unfriended'"

It isn’t every day that a song recorded by a couple of local college students makes its way into a major motion picture.

That’s precisely what has happened to members of The Bandshes, a trio that includes University of Massachusetts Amherst student Athena Demaille Von Schmidt and Smith College student Zoe Chatfield, both 19, as well as Emily Gregonis, 20, who attends Ithaca College.

Their song, “Lost Cities,” is featured in the movie “Unfriended,” released April 17 by Universal Studios, about a group of teenagers, chatting online, who are haunted through the Internet accounts of a dead friend.

“It is so crazy to see something you’ve worked on and put so much effort into, with no expectation of gratitude, to be on a screen in front of so many people,” Demaille Von Schmidt said in an interview last week at Rao’s Coffee in Amherst.

Last March, using the computer software application Garageband in a friend’s living room, the trio, whose members met as high school students in Connecticut, recorded songs for its first EP, “Beautiful World,” which included “Lost Cities.” Then, last summer, an intern from the production of a low-budget horror movie, “Cybernatural,” emailed the group to say the producers had found their music on the online music store Bandcamp and wanted to secure a license for the use of “Lost Cities” in the film.

The women granted the license, but say they didn’t know if anything would come of it.

“They said, ‘We may or may not use your song,’ ” Demaille Von Schmidt said.

But, after the producers showed “Cybernatural” at The Fantasia International Film Festival in Canada, where it won for Most Innovative Film, the movie morphed into a larger project, “Unfriended.”

However, no one notified the trio.

“I was on YouTube and this movie ad came up and I thought, ‘That’s ‘Cybernatural,’ ” Demaille Von Schmidt said. “That’s the movie we licensed our song to.”

The bandmates finally got an email in late March, telling them that their song would, indeed, be used in “Unfriended.”

“It actually ended up being in the movie a lot more than we expected,” Demaille Von Schmidt said.

Strike while the iron is hot

The plot of the movie involves six teenagers whose friend has died. A year later, a supernatural force contacts the group, revealing secrets only the friend could know. The entire film takes place on a computer desktop. All the moviegoer sees of the characters is their participation in the live video chat and other forms of social media that the teens use to communicate.

“Unfriended,” which grossed $15 million on its opening weekend, is currently playing at Cinemark in Hadley.

The film’s popularity has done much to increase the trio’s visibility, they say. Its music is included on the Internet Movie Database page for the film and was mentioned in the National Post in Canada.

Now, the musicians say, they are doing everything they can to take advantage of the increased exposure: They’ve put their music up on various platforms, including Spotify, and it can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. A new single, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” was released on the day the movie opened. Next, they plan to record a “Lost Cities” music video and to create a full-band version of the new single.

“We’re getting more likes on Facebook and a lot more traffic,” Chatfield said. “We’re trying to catch up with the hype.”

The Bandshes music is available at For more information, visit - Hampshire Gazette

"Northampton, Amherst band's song featured in slasher film 'Unfriended'"

A local indie trio's music is being blasted out of movie theater speakers across the country for the pleasure of horror buffs and nail-biting teens.

Pioneer Valley-based group Bandshes has a song featured in the blockbuster "Unfriended," which was released April 17 by Universal Studios, according to the The Hampshire Daily Gazette.

Bandshes is made up of University of Massachusetts Amherst student Athena Demaille Von Schmidt, a 19-year-old pianist; Smith College student and singer-songwriter Zoe Chatfield, also 19; and Emily Gregonis, 20, an Ithaca College student, the paper reports.

The song, "Lost Cities," was recorded in March 2014 using Garageband as part of its first EP, "Beautiful World." Within just a few months, the band was contacted by a production intern hoping to use the song for a low-budget horror film called "Cybernatural," which later became "Unfriended."

The band has received a lot more attention than its used to since the movie's release, the members said.

"We're getting more likes on Facebook and a lot more traffic," Chatfield told The Gazette. "We're trying to catch up with the hype."

"Unfriended" tells the story of six teenagers being cyber-stalked by an anonymous figure following the death of a mutual friend, who killed herself after being bullied over a shaming video. The film grossed $15 million during its opening weekend.

Listen to "Lost Cities" and Bandshes' other music at - Masslive

"Bandshes "Demo (Rough)" Reviewed"

Helen Bach tells of providing two cakes at her daughter Mary’s Halloween party when 18 year old singer songwriter of the Bandshes Zoe Cassandra asked why that was necessary. “One Vegan, one non Vegan” Helen explained.

“You shouldn’t have gotten the non-Vegan” Zoe replied.

Listening to the earnest side of Bandshes, it is not exactly a surprise that the piano based trio would be over earnest, it comes with the territory, but the songs aren’t standard fare. “This world is too caught up in its own dirty business”, Zoe sings while Athena plays single notes on “Storyteller”, a sort of “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees” for the broke generation: the Internet hurtles information of a sort at young people who swift through it, perhaps I mean, who are sifted through it, it loses meaning. Zoe’s point, that, not unlike the Vegan cake, truths are eternal and art is a better way to get to the root even if Zoe is busy bending the truth for arts sake.

Not your standard boy meets girl or whatever variant, the song has a jaunty jazzy feel to it, a welcome to lay down your weary tunes and sway your body. It is from “Demo (Rough)” released on Bandcamp , a four song, ten minute EP compilation of “five hours, thai food, 1940s style one-shot takes, and teen angst.” With Emily adding harmonies, the trio go for a deeper tug than teen angst, though who wouldn’t settle for teen angst anyway? “My Body” is like a folk spiritual with a touch of the Roches if Robert Fripp hadn’t produced them.

The EP splits in two, “Weary” and “Storyteller” are on the upbeat, “Weary” equating being alone and freedom and “Storyteller” a deus ex machina of sorts. “This Body” and “Show Me The Moon” downbeat and disquieting. “Show Me The Moon” is as close as Bandshes get to average and even the lonely heartbreaker is saved from generic by a well arranged harmony. Timid or untamed, Zoe might want to return to the chorus and give it a rewrite.

But that’s about as far as I’l go in the complaints… no wait, an instrumental break might add feel at the cost of tightness, though I can see why a rough demo with just piano might not actually lend itself to one, the pianist underplays and a change of volume would be, well, arresting I guess. In this day and age you give up precision for impact.

The cover picture is of Zoe’s kid sister playing the drums and it is worth keeping in mind this is not a professional outfit. All three young women are in college Juniors. But the singing is lovely and professional, the harmonies (maybe the best part of the EP) are layered and inviting and the piano playing protean and on top of the game. The songwriting first rate.

Bandshes sound like Fiona Apple without the breakdowns meets Daughter without the hipster tag, while managing one of the great tricks of our time, being solipsistic and universal at the same time. Two cakes if you will, at least lyrically.

Grade: B+ - Rock NYC

"Track Debut: Bandshes - "Once You Go""

by John Stapleton

The Bandshes originally took off with their single, “Lost Cities.” Unbeknownst to them, the song was included in the movie “Unfriended” as the main theme. Once they got the word that they were in, they picked up their efforts as a group and started playing shows all over the Western New England Area and beyond.

“Once You Go” is a melodic ballad that keeps with the minimal sound of piano and vocal harmonies, but with a lot more dynamic to it. “Lost Cities” had an almost haunting quality to it with the lack of volume change that worked for the track (and especially worked for a horror movie). Now, they get a little more Romantic which is perfect for a Baroque Pop trio.

Listen to the song below! - Pioneer Valley Underground

"Alright Records reflects western Mass's collaborative music community"

Athena Demaille Von Schmidt traces back the events of this past year to a night she spent watching a Netflix documentary in her dorm room last fall. In it, Superchunk bandmates Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan develop Merge Records, which inspired Athena, a former University of Massachusetts Amherst student, to drop out the following semester to mimic their career path. Today the 20-year old runs her own independent record label, Alright Records.

Athena and bandmate Zoe Chatfield, the lead singer and songwriter in Bandshes, the self-described indie-rock trio formed at Greater Hartford Academy, joked about organizing their own record label. But the two started talking, and within a week, Alright Records formed in August as a professional endeavor.

The label’s first two official projects are with Petting Zoo and Homo Genius. Amherst band Petting Zoo is comprised of PV Underground’s own Joey Distasio, Christian Hegland, Zach Ballard, and her freshman year floor mate, Tim Zoidis.

“I would listen to them then, so I know how much their sound has evolved, and now I see how they’ve created an audience for themselves. Their music is killer,” Athena said.

Petting Zoo drummer Joey Distasio released his solo project Homo Genius’s “having fun with my friends online.” Reflective of the collaborative music scene in the area, the album featured vocals from other underground bands like Spirit Ghost, Petting Zoo, Snowhaus, Calico Blue, The Bonds, Castle Danger, The Shoplifters, Daeves, and Tardigrade Cafe.

She said it all started with this “crazy idea of putting out friends’ music.” After leaving UMass, she worked from January to May 2016 at Brooklyn’s Ba Da Bing Records, which has worked with bands and artists like Beirut and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.

When her internship ended, Athena knew she wanted to bring what she had learned home. “There’s such a diverse range of music happening in western Mass that doesn’t happen in many other places,” she said. She identified the signature indie pop/rock sound and the Americana/folk sound that characterize many of the bands in the area.

In this digital area, artists don’t necessarily need a record label to succeed, but Athena acknowledges how they help contemporary artists reach a wider audience.

At 16 she and her Bandshes were approached by a producer, who wanted to feature their song “Lost Cities” in the movie “Unfriended.” “When we got the deal, we didn’t know who to talk to. What do we do with this contract? Do we sign it? No one really understood the jargon, or what it would mean, or the next steps,” she said.

She hopes her record label can fulfill a need for the western Mass community to access this sort of information and to help with the business of music. “It’s an exciting time for new and independent record labels, because the corporate music industry is in turmoil losing money.” For this reason, she sees the label as a resource that the local artists deserve.

Athena’s outlook isn’t “sticking it to the man,” but instead, feeling a need to help out others in her music community. Amherst, the birthplace of the Pixies, is still, in many ways, embedded in their legacy, but the local area is “so saturated with great talent,” she says.

The Hartford, Connecticut native’s circle of western Mass artist friends is tight-knit, but she still finds the area’s scene to be welcoming to newcomers. Any artist entering the area scene can be successful but must “stay in the loop and get out there,” she said. The hard work is networking in order to get house shows.

In the spring Athena will head to Boston to complete her academic career at Berklee College of Music. Despite the move, Athena intends to maintain her work with the label. “I’m moving out to Boston, but I’ll still be coming out to western Mass. That’s where all my connections are. It is the hub of my artistic growth,” she said. - Pioneer Valley Underground


Manic Pixie Dream Girl (single) - 2015
Beautiful World - 2014
Demo (Rough) - 2013



 "Fiona Apple without the breakdowns meets daughter without the hipster tag, while managing one of the greatest tricks of our time, being solipsistic and universal at the same time." - Rock NYC

Bandshes are made up of CT natives Zoe Chatfield, Athena Demaille, and Emily Gregonis. With a spare but inviting sound, the self-coined indie folk band creates un-ironic piano ballads for the new generation. Retro voices that drum up tribute to Nancy Sinatra or Doris Day, are married with quirky harmonies and classically driven pop piano instrumentals. Their strong lyrical wit met by raw, driving music gives their songs the aim float. It's no wonder the girls attracted the attention of Hollywood in 2015 when their first single "Lost Cities" was featured in the Universal Studios film "Unfriended". Since then, the band has been working on recording a new EP to be released in 2018.  

Band Members