New beginnings: Reno duo CHRRY is conquering musical heartbreak by heading in a new direction

CHRRY (pronounced “cherry”) is a band in flux. Just a few weeks ago, frontwoman and vocalist Victoria “V” Brown posted on the band’s Instagram page that the Reno rock group would be going forward as a duo comprised of herself and producer/composer Joey Fore, instead of the five-piece ensemble that created their recorded tracks on Spotify.  

After numerous lineup changes and after the release of their latest single “TOXIC ONE,” CHRRY is striking out to find a new sound. 

“Having a band is like being in a relationship, but I’m very tired of getting my heart broken,” Brown said.

She’s speaking metaphorically about the difficulty of finding musicians with the kind of chemistry that makes for a successful band—but since Brown and Fore are also in an actual relationship, their decision to go forward as a duo felt natural. 

“My guitar player ended up moving to Minnesota, and for about six months, we (recorded our music) long distance,” Brown said. “That was a struggle, just because we all have different goals in mind … and ultimately it just led to us all deciding to go into different avenues of music, but we all still are really good friends. Now it’s my boyfriend and I, and he’s been in it since the very beginning, and we’ve always been really collaborative and work well together.” 

CHRRY got its start in 2022 when Brown, a musician since childhood, started the group to fight the musical “dead end” in which she found herself. Brown has always been the band’s lyricist, and Fore its producer and recording engineer, but Brown said the band’s sound always felt dependent on the lead guitarist. Despite any dysfunction, CHRRY has played plenty of live shows around Reno and racked up more than 2,500 followers on Instagram and thousands of plays on Spotify. 

CHRRY’s rotating cast of musicians colors each of the band’s three singles with different hues of rock. The group saunters through an impressive blend of indie melodies, grunge-inspired riffs and even some heavier metal-esque influences with grace. Brown’s voice and Fore’s crisp production provide undeniably solid through lines, leaving listeners with the impression that, whichever sound they choose to inhabit, they belong there. 

“Sticks n Steel” is brooding, powerful and mysterious—fans of early Kings of Leon might feel at home in the moody, reverb-drenched strings. Brown’s vocals are a revelation: delicate and vulnerable when needed, yet capable of commanding power and a smoky texture at surprising turns. 

Their most recent single, “TOXIC ONE,” is a fun and catchy adventure in the sonic tradition of bands like Paramore or Green Day, driven by pop-punk riffs and a throwback sound that will put a smile on the face of anyone who might’ve, say, held a skateboard in the early 2000s. Finally, “2 AM” is an indie jam dripping with the vibes of its namesake—dreamy, contemplative, and tired, like the last few partygoers watching the sun rise after an all-night bash. 

Much praise can and should be given to Brown’s voice; it’s as much an instrument as any of the strings or drum heads her backing musicians provide. Fore’s production skills also deserve commendation for the fullness of the band’s sound. While some local bands’ Spotify pages are fleshed out with flat, live recordings or half-mixed demos, CHRRY’s digital offerings sound intentional from start to finish. 

“I very much value every single detail that’s put into the mix,” Fore said. “I use FL Studio, which makes me super-unorthodox for a rock producer. Most people use Logic or Ableton for that type of thing, whereas FL Studio is more of a rapper’s go-to for production.” 

Now that Brown and Fore are free to pursue their own direction, they listed a few goals they’re chasing for the rest of 2024—but staying in Reno isn’t necessarily one of them. Both Brown and Fore spoke candidly about personal struggles they endured spending their youth in Reno. 

“I feel like being here for this long kind of kept me in an isolated position in life,” Fore said. “I feel like, just with all of the history I’ve already put into this place and how everything has, over time, just kind of withered away on my family’s end, I kind of just want to leave.” 

Conversely, both of them admit that Reno’s tight-knit music scene is a bright spot that alleviates some of their frustration with the town. The support they’ve found, both personally and for their music, has led to some cathartic moments. 

“I’ve had a lot of, like, really horrible things happen to me, which is kind of the drive for most of our music,” Brown said. “There have been times that I’ve sung songs that were about my sexual abuse (when there were) women in the crowd crying, and I’ll never forget that. No matter where I end up in life, that meant a lot for me to connect with other people like that, especially people in a city that I thought I hated.” 

Added Fore: “I definitely do appreciate the music scene for what it is, and the people who do attend the shows and stay in the loop with the bands and musicians and artists. That’s, like, the jewel of the city.” 

As for the music, CHRRY is hoping to release the rest of the songs they’ve recorded sometime in the next few months. While Brown initially wanted to remaster all of the tracks, she reconsidered, and intends to release them as they were originally composed, with their erstwhile band members. 

“We just kind of decided we wanted to keep it authentic out of respect for the other musicians and respect for our audience,” Brown said. “Like I said, there’s that loyalty that they have for us, and I just want to reciprocate that and provide the songs that maybe they really liked.” 

After that, Brown and Fore are free to change their sound as they see fit. Both musicians expressed an interest in exploring other genres, even experimental ones like the burgeoning hyper-pop sound. Brown also talked about paying for high-quality promotional materials and beefing up the band’s social media presence, with the eventual goal of taking their sound on the road. 

“We actually have a song coming out called ‘Cotton Candy Castles,’ which is basically about, like, I have these massive dreams, but is it even possible?” Brown said. “I’m super-headstrong and passionate about music. I want to get out of Reno; I want to be famous, but I always try to humble myself. There are a lot of other people who feel that way, so it’s a lottery. That’s what I always tell myself—it’s a lottery.” 

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