Rock music across the pond in Australia is starting to have quite the following here state side with bands such as Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus and 12 Foot Ninja. But one band that seems to be looked in the rock genre is Birds Of Tokyo. Birds Of Tokyo have been pigeon holed into the pop genre with singles from their self titled and March Fires albums. But this time around Birds embrace their heavier roots on their latest album Brace, which was released on November 4, 2016.
Brace has a dark, heavy and sometimes retro tone throughout the entire album, yet it is enlightening lyrically. Birds pushed the envelope and delivered a much needed album reflecting current political events happening all over the world. Digging deep, Birds transcended by taking their fans to a new level of music greatness with Brace.
Fresh off of their Australia tour, Birds Of Tokyo’s drummer Adam Weston graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for NYS Music!
Rebecca Clark: What was the hardest track to record on Brace and why?
Adam Weston: “Empire.” In demo form it had its strengths but lacked an identity that the other album tracks solidified during pre-production, so once we actually started drum recording it really was against the ropes. Some songs really tell you what direction they want to go in and others you sometimes end up putting through the ringer. After all tracking had been done we had a breakthrough with the song, flew our producer David Bottrill back out from Canada, set everything back up again and nailed it.
RC: If you could go in a time machine and could tell your past self anything what would it be?
AW: Other than a decade’s worth of NBA winners I’m not sure I would have anything pivotal to say. No regrets!
RC: What did you guys do to celebrate on release day of Brace?
AW: Our bass player Berney and his wife are great cooks, so it was food, plenty of drinks and arguments over album track listing at his pad. We shunned the tradition of cigars which is probably a good thing.
RC: How was it working with Hayley on “Discoloured?” How did teaming up with her come into play on the record?
AW: Haley’s a gem and really gave “Discoloured” an extra edge. We’ve run into The Jezabels often when billed on the same festivals or just out at pubs in Sydney, so Hayley was our first choice and the first time Birds have collaborated with another vocalist on record.
RC: Your lyrics have always been amazing and dig deep on a personal level. Was it nerve wracking stepping into writing about the more political and heavier events going on in our world? With the US presidential election at fever pitch while writing, I personally love what you have done with the lyrics.
AW: Lyrically, Birds often had a ‘you and I’ connection in their early storytelling, then with March Fires it became more of a ‘we’ perspective and Brace is more of a current ‘state of things’ extension of that.
While we knew we were aiming towards a harder edged record, some content naturally found its way in purely from what was and of course still is going on in our daily lives. Current Australian government policies, environmental issues and other worldly concerns were an alarming fit to the dystopian-tinged tales and end of days vibes we were feeling.
RC: What is the story behind the art concept on the cover of Brace?
AW: We came across some amazing art done by the wonderful Sean Mundy and that acted as a visual starting point. Mood boards followed that encompassed a lot of sci-fi and dystopian content but we didn’t really want to blatantly take that path. So many facets of the album process were about making new and bold decisions, so the final cover art I personally feel is certainly bold while suggesting despair from oppression. Based on a lot of feedback it really is open to interpretation.
RC: What is the one thing you hope your fans take away from the songs by crossing the “political line” in your songs?
AW: Awareness. I think all members have been passionate about particular causes since our teenage years, but as a group of friends continuing to grow and write together I feel we’re just more aware than ever about issues that concern everyone around us. Of course this isn’t literal amongst the material, but there’s a sense of shining a light on the things that trouble us.
RC: Is Glenn jealous that there isn’t another Glenn in the band? I know Kenny goes by his last name, do any of the Adams have nick names so you don’t get confused?
AW: Ha, well there’s Kenny, Sparky, Westy, Berney and Glenn is Diffy.
RC: Is it hard sharing Kenny with Karnivool? How does he compartmentalize being in two successful bands?
AW: That all just comes down to time management/effective planning. Naturally not everything lines up exactly but we all make it work.
RC: Do any of the other band members have other projects they work on as well as BOT?
AW: Berney and Diffy have recently begun a Sydney based band Kiko Smokes – check em out.
RC: Who has pulled the most epic prank and what was it and on who?
AW: A friend of ours and a studio colleague of a couple of members recently reported a break-in where a whole heap of valuable gear and irreplaceable hard drives full of work were stolen. The break-in was real, but fortunately the stolen gear was not. I’m not sure how long the members were left stewing, but I know my stomach sank when I heard the first half of the story!
RC: What is your theme song when you walk into a room? (like in the movies)
AW: Spanish Flea
RC: Do you have anything else to add?
AW: In the space of two weeks this month I get to see (again) two of my favourite acts, Every Time I Die and PJ Harvey, while other weekends include Birds shows, then in February it’ll be a guilty pleasure as Glenn are off to Gn’R! Not a bad start to 2017…
Thank you so much for your time Adam!