MY final piece of the week is an interview with...
the Brighton-based band, Birthday Card. I ask the guys what they can reveal about their new track, Shy Away, and whether there might be more material coming down the tracks; albums that they hold dear and how they have progressed as a band – they select some approaching musicians worth a shout.
The band talk about their musical upbringing and reveal which artist they’d support if they could; whether there are any tour dates coming up and tell me how they chill away from writing/recording – the guys each select a great track to end things on.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Josh: Hey. Our week’s been good, thanks. We’ve been super-busy writing new material, rehearsing for upcoming shows and sorting out the last few bits ready for the release of Shy Away.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Josh: I’m Josh - I sing and play guitar.
Leslie: Hey. I’m Leslie, drummer of the band.
George: I’m George – I play synths.
Conor: I’m Conor – I play lead guitar.
Tom: Hi. I’m Tom – bass guitar.
How did Birthday Card find one another? Have you known each other long?
Leslie: We’ve all actually been connected in some way or another over the years - a few of us went to school together and also played together in an old band. The town we’re from is pretty small so even before we started playing we all knew each other in one way or another.
Shy Away is your new track. What is the story behind it?
Josh: The song itself is about overcoming self-doubt and anxieties. This is told through the story of a slightly awkward introduction between two people which eventually blossoms.
I’d had the lyrics for some time and was waiting for the right piece of music to lay them over. When the other guys started playing their parts, it all seemed to gel perfectly.
Might there be an E.P. coming later in the year?
Conor: That’s right. We’ll be releasing our debut E.P. in the first half of 2019. We’ve just been in the studio with Marcus Yates, who recorded and produced Shy Away - which is also the E.P.’s opening track. That’s all we can say for now…
Looking back at last year, how far do you think you progressed as a band?
Conor: The thing I love about playing in this band is there’s always a sense of forward momentum, of taking the next step up. We had a great 2018: releasing two singles and supporting Sleeper on their sold out tour, which was a complete privilege. A year on, we’re now putting out Shy Away, which feels to us like a big step in the evolution of our sound and, likewise, gearing up towards our first E.P. It feels like we’re really building up our following at the moment too which is amazing, because we really believe in what we do. To have that appreciated by others is a great feeling.
What sort of music did you all grow up on?
Josh: My mum and dad used to play all sorts around the house when I was really young. One minute we’d have Nat King Cole on, then the next minute we’re dancing round the living room to Hanson. I also remember listening to a lot of The Neptunes and early N.E.R.D growing up.
Tom: Whatever was on my dad’s car stereo really: Punk, Reggae...you name it!
Leslie: Lots of Motown and R&B.
Conor: My dad has a pretty eclectic music taste so I listened to all sorts growing up - anything from The Clash and Bowie, through to New Order and Otis Redding. I’d say we all have a pretty rich musical background - in terms of listening - which all very subtly contributes to building our sound.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Josh: That’s a difficult question as there’s been many. My favourite memory would have to be the countless hours we all spent together waiting in Leslie’s shed before even knew the band was a band. So many of those ideas and parts that were written in there have been reused in songs that are in our current set.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Tom: Pool by Porches. I think all of us in the band have probably listened to it about a million times each!
Conor: Hard to pick any single album, but one favourite is Steve McQueen by Prefab Sprout. Paddy McAloon’s songwriting is timeless.
Leslie: It would probably be The 1975’s debut for me. It’s just so good!
Josh: In Search of… - N.E.R.D. My dad used to play it all the time. It brings back memories of good times.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Josh: I’d love to say Nick Cave but I don’t think that line-up would make much sense musically. So probably The Neighbourhood or The 1975.
As for the rider, I’d want Gucci sliders and some of that rum DJ Khalid’s always going on about on Instagram. I think it’s called Bumbu?
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Leslie: Don’t take our advice...
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Conor: We’ve got lots of dates in the pipeline which will be announced very soon, so keep an eye out for those. Our next shows are in London on Saturday, 2nd March, playing at Thousand Island with Only Sun and next Tuesday (5th March) at Komedia in Brighton, supporting the lovely Only the Poets.
If we came to one of your live shows, what might we expect?
Tom: Faithful recreations of our recorded material, but in a world of their own. There’s also a lot of unreleased material in there too so, if you want to hear some new songs, come and see us!
IN THIS PHOTO: SPINN/PHOTO CREDIT: Sam Crowston
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Josh: SPINN, for sure.
Conor: Not necessarily new but certainly on the up - I’ve been listening a lot to a House D.J. called Laurence Guy. Super-melodic and really relaxing.
Tom: I don’t think he’s particularly new but this producer called Lusine is definitely worth a listen.
IN THIS PHOTO: Laurence Guy/PHOTO CREDIT: Esther Riess
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
George: We’ve all worked quite hard at setting up our lives in a way where we get to spend as much time as we can writing and playing new music with each other. I honestly don’t think any of us are particularly interested in spending much time away from music: we have so much fun and get so much fulfilment out of doing it. It’s more like this is what we get to do to unwind from the stress of day-to-do day life.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Josh: Air Stryp by Big Red Machine
Conor: Please play Lovin’ You by Minnie Riperton
George: Freelance by Toro y Moi
Tom: I’d like to hear I Need Your Lovin’ by Teena Marie
Leslie: You Don’t Know – 702
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