Magic, Moonlight And Mystery – Bird Interview

Bird - Photo By Jennifer Pelligrini

Bird are one of the  most exciting new bands to emerge from Liverpool in recent years, this is not merely our opinion, we can back it up with Dr. Brian Cox style science using Euler-Lagrange field equations, but nobody would understand so just take our word for it, Ok ?  We’ve often bemoaned the fact that Liverpool has, over certain periods of time been littered with lamentable sub-Beatles wannabes giving the local music scene all the sparkle of  a bedraggled, faded piece of tinsel languishing on the bare branches of a long since dead Christmas tree. Respect your musical heritage of course, but don’t allow it to imprison you! Bird however are not trapped on the eternal  Merseybeat merry-go-round and add a certain unique esoteric flavour to proceedings.  Bird is essentially  the musical conduit  through which 23 year old singer songwriter Adéle Emmas presents her songs to the world, a young lady whose  ethereal, haunting vocals conjure up the missing link between the Cocteau Twins and Laura Marling. They have already released one EP – “Phantoms” through Jack To Phono Records  to much acclaim and are currently working on the follow up.

Adele’s songs are all about magic and mystery, light and shade,  a place where a beguiling miasma of seductive danger pervades in a world in which nothing is quite as it seems. The dark  somewhat eerie celestial soundscape conjured up by the fine musicians she’s brought together provides the  perfect backdrop, allowing her haunting vocals and dramatic, imaginative lyrics to weave their subtle magic.  When we first heard Bird we described them as “an eerie folktronic Portishead wandering through laughing Lenny Cohen’s nightmares as depicted by René Magritte, “ but it can be a tad  trite attempting to sum up a bands sound in a sentence or snappy soundbite and doesn’t really tell the whole story. And so when we discovered we were almost neighbours with Adele we met her in a small magical village at an enchanted  coffee bar, near the rainbows end on the dark side of the River Mersey for a chat, just before Christmas, to delve deeper into her mysterious world.

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VP: When did you first decide to start making music?

ADELE: It was around the time of my 21st, I was at a party and hadn’t really been doing much and I’d always absolutely loved music and always written music. I just thought, maybe now was the time to really pursue it. So I saved up for a four track recorder and did homemade demos produced them all myself and put them on joinmyband.com. Which is where I came across the character known as Mick Dolan and from their everything kind of fell into place, Lexie the drummer was always a friend of mind; Keith was a friend of Mick and it all came together. It didn’t take long until we were gigging and got a little buzz going. We’re just recording a new EP at the moment, but it feels weird not playing live but we want to get these songs recorded and so have to take a bit of time out.

VP: Have you got a lot of songs written? An albums worth?

ADELE : Yeah all in all I’ve got like, seventeen or  eighteen solid songs that I have 100% faith in, with this next EP I’m hoping it will open a lot of doors for us, one of the songs “My Love Sleeps With Lions” will probably be the lead track and might be described as slightly more mainstream than our previous work in the sense that it’s quite a catchy song.

 

VP:  Instead of asking you who your influences are I’ll say what I hear and see if you agree.  I may sound like a musical Jilly Goulden but I’m hearing a touch of Kate Bush, a hint of the Cocteau Twins, and even a bit of Juanita from Howling Bells.

 

ADELE :  A couple people have said Howling Bells actually, but I’m a massive Cocteau Twins fans, I love Elizabeth Fraser and I love This Mortal Coil who are one of my favourite bands.  It’s so spooky and ethereal which is what I’m all about really, certainly when it comes to music, art and books. I guess it’s my way of getting away from reality. I’ve got my mum to thank for a lot of my musical taste and as a kid I read a lot of Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and love Edward Gorey’s illustrations which are really dark. In fact recently my mum found poems I’d written when I was about eleven which had lines in it like “the echo of the spheres” and I was like “I didn’t write that when I was eleven did I”…. So I guess I’ve always been a bit  like that [laughs.]

VP:  What do you make of the Liverpool scene, for years I found it rather dull, recycling the La’s and Cast endlessly left me a bit cold to be honest?

ADELE: Yeah, I guess that’s the Liverpool stereotype and to be honest I haven’t found too much which has made me go “wow” because for years it really has been The La’s and The Beatles sort of thing. I’ve always been a big fan of Echo and The Bunnymen and of the  newer bands I really  like Stealing Sheep. But I suppose all cities suffer from that sort of thing to a degree. Manchester will always get The Stone Roses, it just kind of sticks and I guess it’s what people are brought up with.  With Bird we wanted to do something completely different.

 

VP: Well the Phantoms EP proved you certainly could do that, incidentally where was the “Phantoms” video filmed?

 

ADELE: Some if it was filmed in Birkenhead Park, [laughs] one day we were filming and I’m wearing this long flowly black dress all eyelashes giving it the mystical vibe and there where all these scallies with their cider walking past going “ey love, what are you doin’ there like?”  Some of it was filmed in the house where I rent a room which is huge and has a basement that is definitely haunted, and some in a forest in Liverpool which my guitarist Keith suggested. It was amazing, all twisted roots and branches which fitted the atmosphere perfectly! Our friend Sam Winstone filmed it which cost us literally nothing, we were trying for a spooky kind of Lynchian vibe and it turned out pretty well for a first video with no budget!

 

VP: And you held your EP launch at the new Eric’s recently? How did that go ?

 

ADELE: It was just amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever had a gig as good as that before!  We’d had a lot of stress due to changing our managers just before the EP launch and before we went on stage I felt really sick! Dunno if it was nerves or a bug , there where loads of people there, but as soon as I got on stage I felt fine!  It was quite a magical night, there was so much love in the room and it was just a great way to launch the EP !  The sound in there is fantastic; we had David Barnacle, The Edwardian Picnic and The Fifth Movement on too. It was the Edwardian Picnics first gig and they were brilliant! They had everyone up and dancing and there must be about 20 of them in the band [laughs] . But yeah it was a great night and all my family were there. Amazing night!

 

VP: You mentioned your mums influence, is she supportive of your musical aspirations?

 

ADELE:  Totally, she’s great! I think a lot of parents push their kids down the academic route, but she’s always encouraged the creative side of things. She’s always said you’re a good writer so you have to do this!

 

VP: So what do you think about the X-factorisiation of pop culture? Something that seems to promote the mantra that success is attainable with  no creativity at all ?

 

ADELE: [Groans] It is the biggest load of crap ever! It’s just shit!  In my opinion it’s giving the message to kids that can be successful by dressing like they tell you to dress,  singing songs the tell you to sing, become exactly what they want you to be. It’s just teaching kids not to be creative, not to write your own songs, not to pick up a guitar and it’s bringing them up on utterly shit music too!  I’m not saying that all the people who go on haven’t got talent, but I just don’t agree with what it stands for! All the gimmicks and the money they must spend on sets to distract you  and when you get a genuine talent like Kate Bush who can just sit there with just a piano and sing “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” or Leonard Cohen doing “Suzanne” with his acoustic guitar and that’s all you need! Well, it just sends shivers down your spine!  I mean can you imagine if someone like Kate Bush had of gone on a show like that, they’d be like, “you’re weird love, you have no future in music !”

 

VP: So Kate’s a big inspiration too ?

 

ADELE: I love her! So much so that me and my mum will listen to her albums  and be like “I wonder what her house is like”  [laughs] She’s s massive inspiration and has to be admired for  just doing her own thing!  Her latest album’s amazing too, have you heard it ? Only Kate Bush could write a song about having sex with a snowman! [laughs] She’s just so imaginative and she’s still got it after all these years!  

 

VP: So back to Bird, if we meet in a year’s time what would you like to have achieved?

 

ADELE: Ooooh,  well, I’d like us to get more widely known, more recognition. Maybe get more radio play like on Steve Lamacq , Tom Robinson, Cerys Matthews, that sort of thing. Just to be recognised as a good artist and band and get more recognition nationally. And hopefully be in a position to record an album and of course  I wouldn’t say no to Jools Holland [laughs].

At the moment it’s about putting the effort in, gigging in smaller venues and going up and down the country with four smelly lads in a car ! All crammed in a car like sardines especially with the size of Mick! Ultimately I’d like to be respected as a songwriter. Hopefully the next Ep will show how we have developed as a band. With the first one we didn’t even know we were recording the songs as an EP, and when we signed to our label “Jack To Phono” he was like ‘Ok pick some songs and we’ll put on EP out.’  So with this next one there’s been a lot more planning gone into it and I’m really excited! We played a few new songs at the Eric’s gig  such as “White Horses” and “Shadows” which seem to go down really well!

 

VP:  To finish off, how would you describe your music in five words ?

 

ADELE: I always repeat the same words to the guys in the band with regard to how I want the music to sound, I always say “dark, magical, ethereal, haunting and nostalgic” But because I say this so much they’ll say “Adele, if we hear “dark” or “magical” one more time …….”

 

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And a strange thing happened when we’d concluded our interview -we chatted about cheery, uplifting subjects such as Ian Curtis’s suicide, Kurt Cobain etc, and during the course of the conversation Adele informed  us, with a faraway look in her eyes, that  she didn’t feel particularly  Christmassy this year… Within seconds as we looked out at the foreboding, cold grey December sky we noticed it had started to snow…..coincidence? ……….Or something more mysterious and magical at play ???😉

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Links

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Jack To Phono Records

Large Pics/Wallpaper

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