Posts Tagged ‘Indie Rock’

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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With the release of their fourth studio album, the Brooklyn quartet, Grizzly Bear, has once again expanded the realm of the indie-rock genre. Shields is their most experimental album yet, weaving in and out of the emotional confusion that comes with the need for both solitude and companionship.  Fans of the band will not be disappointed, as band members, Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Chris Bear have definitely stepped up their game.

Beginning with the cover of the album, designed by Richard Diebenkorn, the depiction of a club guarded by a larger spade could be interpreted as the role of relationships and people acting as a shield in our lives. We desire to be alone, yet simultaneously need that barrier around us.

The first track on the album, “Sleeping Ute” gives the sense that you are both physically and metaphorically waking up from a dream. “Those countless empty days left me dizzy when I woke” portrays a self-realization, or seeing something for the very first time. Possibly realizing an emptiness in a relationship you’d been ignoring, and feeling there is no other option but to walk away from it. The first song makes it extremely apparent how much growth has developed within the band. In comparison with their first albums, Shields is more daring with sound and more intimate with the lyrics. This album is the first, in my opinion, to really use the words as a narration and depict one core theme throughout the record.

By the time the album reaches the track “Yet Again”, you have already begun what feels like a journey of sorrow and confusion. This song serves as a release from these feelings, and the harmonies on the “oh, oh, oh” are like an emotional outlet giving us a sense of relief. The album then moves into the song “The Hunt”, where rough guitar chords and cymbals echo the message of lost love and finding One’s self beautifully.

The album ends with the epic tune “Sun In Your Eyes”. Shields opened with a sense of doubt and an uncertainty towards society, and by the time we get to this final song, we expect some sort of forgiveness and return. Instead, we are faced with the line, “I’m never coming back”, leaving us submerged in an uncomfortable yet necessary reality that sometimes walking away is the answer.

Shields offers an incredible emotional journey and is an album you can get lost in. Peaking at #7 on the Billboard 200 in America, this record is sure to be a great addition to your collection.