A few short months ago I hadn’t even heard of Edinburgh duo Birdhead. But an exhilirating performance supporting Isa and the Filthy Tongues at the Voodoo Rooms and the subsequent purchase of their exciting EP ‘Talons’ had this old guy marking them out as a band to watch.
Sometimes jointly, sometimes not, Stephen and Dave from the band reflect back on Birdhead’s 2011 … and Gary Barlow!
Your Own Musical Highlight of the Year?
Launching our EP in March was a big highlight for us, it was the first time we had put decent recordings out there and the response we got was just fantastic. Not only did we kick it off with a really memorable gig, but it led to us getting played on the BBC, featured on blogs (like your very own) and played in podcasts and eventually signing a deal with a record label, which blew us away a bit.
Favourite performance of the year?
We’d have to say when we headlined Limbo at the Voodoo Rooms. Not only was it quite an honour to be selected for the bill, but we had had three months off while Dave toured the States and we had no idea how it was going to pan out, having not played in that whole time. Fortunately, it went really well, and there was a fantastic turnout to see us (try) and get back into the swing of things!
What inspired you musically in 2011?
We both independently spent some time travelling across the states this year, and as a consequence, we both spent quite a lot of time staring out of bus and train windows as landscapes flew by. I know it might sound a bit wanky, but I really think that sense of motion and travel really fed into what we try to do as Birdhead.
What you gonna be doing next year?
We’re currently in the process of recording our album at Swanfield Studios in Leith, and we’ll be getting that out in 2012 at some point through Gamma Proforma. We’re really excited with the way it is sounding at the moment, and we hope there will be others who feel the same! Apart from that, we’ll keep gigging away, and hopefully find some new cities we can play in!
Song and/or LP of 2012?
Dave: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake, and also Skying by The Horrors.
Stephen: I find it hard to single out albums, but this year I’ve really dug stuff by Atlas Sound, Com Truise, The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile and OFWGKTA.
Best gig attended?
Stephen: I managed to get tickets to see Arab Strap at their one-off reunion gig at Nice N Sleazys in Glasgow, which was just fantastic. I was a big fan in my formative years and to see them do a whole set like that was a bit of a dream come true.
Dave: While I was in Lafayette in Louisiana, I saw a band called The Pine Hill Haints, who are a kind of Rock and Roll/Bluegrass type group, with a bucket bass and a washboard and what have you, very skiffle. Their performance had tonnes of energy and they are constantly releasing self-recorded music on their own label which was quite inspiring.
Who should we be looking out for in 2012?
We know our buddies Vasquez have an EP coming out fairly soon, which we are both pretty excited to hear. We hear there is also going to be a Snide Rhythms album in 2012 which is very good news indeed!
Anything and Everything
Event of 2012
We’d both probably say our trips to the States where the biggest events in our lives in 2011.
Lowpoint of 2012
Although our trips were amazing and well worth it, taking four months off from the band in a year was hard to take.
Hero of 2011
We played a farewell gig for our pal and favourite illustrator Richard Kearney, and it was at Banshee Labyrinth. While we were playing, there was a little Spanish man who was no taller than 5 feet with a mess of dreadlocks swathed around his head going wild to our music. Afterwards he came up and spat some mental spanish at me and started grinning like a nutcase while telling me “I LIKE YOU BERRY BERRY MUCH”. So…..him.
Villain of 2011
Gary Barlow. For a man I once had so much respect for…he’s changed.
Something to look forward to in 2012?
From the Talons EP
Previously on MPT
‘Talons’ EP review