Happy Mondays Interview with A Bird

The Northern, NJ based band A Bird whisks together the genres of rock, electronic, R&B and even funk music to provide a wide array of songs to suit any listener’s tastes. A Bird strives to create a sense of community amongst all members, and this idea translates over to the listeners. You’ll always feel like a part of the band at their shows. The Pop Break had the opportunity to talk to Adam Bird about his new music endeavor, inspirations, trying out different genres, the new single “Polluto” and his favorite part about creating and performing music.

Who is a part of A Bird? (Names of band members and the instruments you play—or is it just you): The idea behind A Bird is to create more of a community instead of a band in the traditional sense. Lately I’ve been referring to it as analogous to a country with open borders. The team so far is Adam Bird on vocals, guitar, keyboards, Nick Ivory on guitar and keyboards, Darrel Norell on bass, Jeremy Winter on keyboards, Dan DiLiberto on drums, and Emily Bird on vocals.

Where are you based out of: We are littered around Northern NJ currently. I personally live in Teaneck, and we rehearse in Passaic. I would love to give you the home addresses of my bandmates, but they signed a contract with me that says I will protect that type of information for them. Fucked up right? They all separately hit me with that contract as if they had the same lawyer or something.

 You’ve been a part of Those Mockingbirds from 2009 until very recently when you decided to embark on a solo career. What influenced your decision to start creating music as a solo artist? (Also, I can’t figure this out—are you still a part of Those Mockingbirds?): Those Mockingbirds hit a point where we felt stalled, and speaking for myself, the music I was writing simply didn’t sound or feel like Those Mockingbirds anymore. We are all still friends and while it’s unlikely that we will ever play again, I don’t think any of us would actually be against playing those songs together if it felt like the right situation.

How did all of that time spent as Those Mockingbirds affect your music? How have you evolved as a musician over the years: That band taught me everything I know, and I had the best band mates in the world. I learned an unbelievable amount about music, interacting with people, how the world works and so much more. When we started, I pretty much only played power chords on the guitar and was an awful singer. I was shy, and standoffish. I wanted to conquer the world, but I also felt very small. My band mates taught me how to sing, how to play guitar like a real human being, and they even got me to start playing piano.

Adam Bird performing as a part of Those Mockingbirds, at Pop Break’s first live show ever at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park in 2012.

How would you describe the personality or attitude of your music: Be free. Get loose. Think simple.

 Who are your primary musical influences? What is it about those musicians or bands that make an impact on you: Burt Bacharach, Air, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Zomby to name a few of my current obsessions. They are all musically diverse, and specifically in the case of Bacharach—that guy figured out ways to write pop songs that break just about every “rule” people think there is. Listen to “Anyone Who Had A Heart” by Dionne Warwick (written by Bacharach) and tell me pop music isn’t an art.

What inspires you to create music: I am not sure, I’ve got melodies in my head at all times and it sort of drives me crazy. I feel like anytime I notice inspiration and try to seize the moment, it cancels out the inspiration. I’m still learning how to ride it without squeezing too tight.

In terms of genre, are you still sticking to rock? What other elements are present in your songs: Not so much. I will always have a rock influence in whatever I do because that’s the arena I learned to write songs in, but A Bird is largely the result of my growing interest in other kinds of music. I know the first single “Polluto” has distorted bass all over it, but it’s currently the outlier in regards to the rest of the stuff coming out next. I’m basically trying anything I think sounds interesting. Lots of electronic, funk and R&B influences are coming out of me lately.

How does your song “Polluto” explore a descent into madness or the idea that everyone is judging you? It’s definitely relatable for anyone with social anxiety. How does the music video capture what this song is about: The video is about someone trapped in a loop, surrounded by people who seem harmless at first but end up being pretty threatening. I felt like this simple idea is what it’s like when you go down the rabbit hole of social anxiety. Every party feels the same because you’re worried about how you might fuck it up. I’ve battled with this self-consciousness for a long time, and I’ve discovered that for me, the best way to battle it is to face it head on and talk about it openly. So therefore, I wanted to write a song about it.

 Along with “Polluto,” what other music are you working on? Do you have an idea of when you’ll be releasing more songs: The next single will be coming out in early September on Mint400 Records. We’ve got a queue of songs ready to go, but since this endeavor is brand new, I want to slowly ease people into what’s going on here. As much as I’ve ever fallen in love with a musical artist, it’s usually a slow pace in trusting the artist at first, and I think it’s tough to sit thru 10 songs you’ve never heard before by an artist you don’t know at all. So this is my reaction to the modern condition. Expect a string of singles before we release an EP or LP.

While writing songs, do you find that you tend to come back to certain themes? What are some of these themes, and how are they explored in your songs: I do find myself doing that, and I will either become self-conscious of it and change everything, or attempt to weave a few songs into one theme or story. One theme I bring up a lot is heaven and hell, because while I’m not a believer in either literally existing, I think the concepts have such a hard grasp on people’s imaginations that they seem to miss the heaven and hell they experience on a regular basis.

What do you like the most about creating and performing music: Each is different. Performing is a huge buzz and it feels like I am someone else on the stage, almost like getting to dress up as a super hero or something. Whereas creating music, the buzz is entirely different because I find it to be the most personal I ever am with myself. The buzz from creating the music is sort of like this silent monolith where you know true power lies—much greater than dressing up as a super hero.  

What’s next for A Bird: We’ve got a bunch of shows this month. Aug. 11 in Fair Lawn NJ, Aug. 12 in Ringwood, Aug. 13 in Montclair and Aug.15 in Boynton. Also, we were just announced for the North Jersey Festival in September. As mentioned earlier, we plan to release the next single in September as well. Keep up with us www.abirdmusic.com.

A BIRD PLAYS TONIGHT AT WONDER BAR IN ASBURY PARK AT 8:30 P.M. WITH QUALITY LIVING, GRAVEYARD SCHOOL AND JETT BRANDO.

 

Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

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