Interview: The Falling Birds

Posted: July 2, 2014 by Tuned In, Turned Up in Interviews, The Falling Birds
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Falling Birds

The Falling Birds is an Indie Rock band based in Brooklyn, NY whose music encompasses elements of blues, country and grunge rock. Principle songwriter, Stephen Artemis spoke with Tuned In, Turned Up about the band’s latest EP, musical influences, and offers a piece of advice to new musicians.

What inspired your band name, “The Falling Birds”?

Growing up I was in bands my whole life but when I moved to New York I found myself in this never ending survival cycle that left me with no time to perform or start a band.  I felt like I was on a hamster wheel just trying to make ends meet without any room for passion or expression.  I finally decided that I’d rather leave New York then to live like that and I put all of my energy into building a band.  So fast forward about a year, I made it work, I had started playing with a drummer and I wrote 5 or 6 songs.  we booked our first gig and we needed to call ourselves something.  we were trying to come up with a name and it just so happened that this flock of birds fell out of the sky. I remember all these people took it as some kind of biblical sign, it was in the papers briefly.  So there were a few people who had their 15 minutes of fame to talk about the impending “end of days”, but we (as a band) were just getting started.  The Falling Birds stuck with me, and I got this imagery of a falling bird in my head.  the more I thought about it the more I related to it as a metaphor for how I felt without music in my life & how I was feeling when I first moved to New York.  So we took the name as a kind of reminder for what life can be like without pursuit of your passion.  

Your music incorporates various influences – from blues to country to rock – what bands or artists have had the biggest influence on your music or have most inspired your style?

Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, all of the Rolling Stones, Booker T & the MG’s, Jack White, Joe Pug, Johnny Cash, James Jamerson, Zepplin, Wilco, Shannon Hoon, Cobain, Billy Corgan, Eddie Vedder, Del McCoury Band, Fat Mike, James Jamerson

If I can write songs that sound like a giant car wreck of all those guys I’d be really happy.  What’s funny is that there’s definitely is a country side to our music but I wouldn’t consider my country music depth of knowledge to be big enough to call myself a country fan.  I like country and I guess some of the songs just come out sounding like what I think country might sound like.  Nick and Dave have a lot more knowledge of those areas so I think when they put their parts to the song it helps develop that country edge to my more blues and punk side.  

You’ve previously mentioned that the declining industry and falling population (known as the Rust Belt) have effected your songwriting and music – how would you say it’s changed your outlook when writing a song? Which songs have you written that were influenced by your experience with the Rust Belt?

I can’t really say how it has changed my outlook when writing a song because it’s been my life experience and it’s just a part of me that I have.  But I think that it has driven an awareness to social issues in me that reflects in the music. It’s an awareness of the disparity that exists today and it’s not really noticeable until you step outside of your bubble. I guess I always felt like if I ever had a chance to be heard then I might as well say something with some kind of meaning. If Time Allows, Dead Man Walking, and a song called “Oh Me, Oh My” which will be on our follow up EP, all touch on that subject.  I think that it has just helped to form my feelings (good, bad or indifferent) toward money, politics, social pressures, friends and family.  If Time Allows deals with cherishing what you have even if it’s not a lot by others standards.  That type of message creeps up in this EP and it will in the next one as well.  If I write about those types of themes, I like to write about being in them, or facing them, without passing judgement or trying to tell the audience what they should believe.  Hopefully they connect with the topic and form their own feelings about the song.

What’s your favorite part about being a musician (i.e. writing the songs, performing live, being in the studio)?

The excitement of writing a new song is the best.  When you get inspired and you write one that just flows out for whatever reason – and you look back on it and you don’t have to change it or rearrange parts – that is one of the best feelings in the world.  For me it is a way to release and to cope with whatever is on my mind… it’s like having an addiction. 

If you could choose one band, artist or musician to see live in concert (dead or alive) who would it be?

Jimi Hendrix… I’ve dreamt about it

What was the inspiration for the Native America EP? What are you hoping to portray with this album? 

Our music spans a lot of genres, so we decided to put songs on there that were inspired by a number of “Americana” type influences – country, folk, blues, punk, surf rock, garage rock – All of those things – and we wanted to mix them together in an interesting way.  So we were looking to portray the variety and versatility of American music.  We called it Native America because it’s a big jumbled up mess of all kinds of influences, kind of like America.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a band or artist just starting out in the industry?

Be loyal, be humble, and don’t break up.


Listen to the entire Native America EP here:

Additional music and information for The Falling Birds can be found at:

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