With its release imminent, Birds Of Tokyo’s latest album title ‘Brace’ serves as more of a caution than anything else, as in listeners should brace themselves for the impact that this album is about to make. Describes as ‘dark, dystopic, and cinematic, Birds of Tokyo have nailed their sound with Brace- it’s just a kick ass album! It’s a return to their epic rock roots and shows not only the range of the groups musical abilities, but their desire to do things on their own terms. We spoke to band member Adam Spark about the album and the process involved in recording it, and we reckon this album is going to melt your face off!
“Although we released Playlist last year, it’s been around 3 and a half years since we’ve put out a proper record. There’s been a bit of experimenting and a few hurdles along the way- but here we are!”
When watching the clip to Brace (here) you’ll see the sci-fi feel to it. Spark says that there’s definitely a dark side to it and “the visual for that clip came from what the first atomic/nuclear bomb was like many decades ago, it does have a bit of Death Star vibe to it for sure.”
It’s epic, cinematic and I mention to Spark that the entire album could easily serve as a soundtrack to a blockbuster, and that’s a good thing. “Funny you mention that, because some people assume that because the songs are sounding heavier that we’ve gone more ‘metal’, or back to our roots. It’s actually more to do with referencing films and visuals, interpreting things that way. Normally it’s all about the record and you wonder what you’re going to do at the shows to get your ideas across. With this record it’s more about the live shows & the record accompanying them. Before we even recorded Brace or finished writing (the songs), we’d already spent a lot of time thinking about the visuals so that’s how the record became a heavier affair, a bold brush stroke. It’s how we went from having about 40 songs and reducing it to 10 on the record. It definitely came down to honing down what body of work we were outing out this time,” Spark replies.
I had to ask about the recording process that Birds of Tokyo have, and any ‘rituals’ that the band might have whilst going through the production process to get an idea of where their collective heads were at whilst making Brace. Spark’s reply is ……. “There’s some important parts to the process. I think one is more of the writing and design part, and being in a comfortable space because there’s disagreements, the walls that you hit etc., questioning yourself- everyone just wants to work and it can be soul shattering when you have to step away from the project for a while to get proper perspective. It’s what happened a few times with this material e.g. ’Is it the right path, is it right for these songs?’ We could make it sound like ‘Lanterns’ or make it as heavy as shit. We could fill it with a string section as opposed to laser sounding synth. By the time we get to recording things for real, so much of that is already figured out so the recording process ends up being quite professional. Get in, get your shit down, be mindful & respectful of everyone else during the 12-15 hour days, and that’s where I think the band has become very comfortable finding the right producer this time in Dave Bottrill. He’s worked in Canada with bands like Tool, Muse, Silverchair and many others.”
In terms of creative input, the band don’t mind sharing that component and have worked out what works best amongst themselves, avoiding conflict in the process. “What we’re all mindful of is respecting what works for the chemistry, quite often that will involve one person having a solid idea and everyone else rallying behind it as opposed to having ‘five chefs in the kitchen’ so to speak. As things gather momentum though, then everyone else can have constructive input in terms of sound, visuals etc. There’s so much we really don’t have to say anymore- we just get on with it.”
The Birds Of Tokyo unveiled Brace recently at Sydney’s The Carriageworks for a few hundred fans to test out the album that was made to play live- the response was amazing. It’s not just punching out a setlist- it is a production! “We ended up doing about 20-25 minutes of the new songs & building the stage & lighting, trying all those visuals for the first time. It was nerve wracking for us but there was some good feedback. But until the album drops (today!) and we get out on the road, it will make much more sense then.”
Folks, this is a seriously good album from the Birds of Tokyo. It’s futuristic and exciting, and will no doubt slap you in the face with its boldness and audacity. Brace yourselves, the Birds are back in town!
By Dazz Hassan
BIRDS OF TOKYO – BRACE TOUR
Presented by triple j & FasterLouder- Special guests Strangers & Introvert
Thursday Nov 17 Metro City Perth (Strangers & Pat Chow)
Friday Nov 18 Thebarton Theatre Adelaide
Friday Nov 25 The Tivoli Brisbane
Saturday Nov 26 The Croxton Melbourne
Friday Dec 16 Enmore Theatre Sydney
Saturday Dec 17 Waves Wollongong
FOLLOW BIRDS OF TOKYO