The road to success is a long and arduous one, yet Perth’s Birds Of Tokyo have proven that major labels (and major dollars) are no longer a necessity when it comes to making rock n roll inroads.
We spoke with Adam Spark (Guitar) about everything ROCK…
Interview w/ Birds Of Tokyo
By Cameron Chambers
For the record, can you please tell
us your name and what you do in Birds Of Tokyo?
Adam Spark…I play guitar
To anyone that’s not familiar with
Birds Of Tokyo, can you give us a bit of brief on the band’s history,
how you got together and where you are currently at?
Birds basically began in late 2003…Kenny
and I were working on some songs and picked up the other two just to
play on some demos…this was never meant to be a band as such…we
started playing shows in may 2004 and here we are now…we are in the
middle of 2008 and we have just released our 2nd record…good
A lot is made of the fact that you
guys still release your own records (via MGM distribution). Was your
original decision to self-release your material born out of necessity
or was that something you guys always wanted to do with this band?
I guess initially its out of necessity,
but after some time in this crazy world of music you realise that when
you are sailing your own ship…life on the ocean is amazing…as long
as there is wind in your sails…fortune favours the buccaneers!
Considering how popular Birds Of Tokyo
have become, is the band still considered a side project to Karnivool,
or are both groups seen in the same light these days?
We don’t look at it like that..i guess
that’s for others to continually make a point of…
We are just 4 guys writing music and
doing what we love…we record, we tour we spend a lot of time together
and it’s the biggest part of our lives these days..so make of that
what you will. One of us just happens to do that twice as much..haha
The first single from
“Universes” was “Silhouettic”, which dropped in April and was
quickly followed by a sold out tour in May. Were you anticipating such
an enthusiastic response to your new material?
We weren’t really sure how people would
take it…we thought it was a quirky song to throw out to the wolves,
but it seems to reach people which is cool. We weren’t even in Australia
when it hit radio so we were just getting reports via emails. But we
are stoked with how it has been received!
What were the biggest differences
between the writing and recording for
“Universes” compared to “Day One”?
I guess the biggest was that primarily
came out of one body of work..which kinda dictated how the record was
feeling…where as day one was more of a bunch of songs we had written
over the 18 month period up until recording..this one has a lot more
focus and is heading more in the direction of which we are continually
Given the success of your first record,
was it at all intimidating having to follow it up within twelve months?
Not at all. We felt good about what we
were writing, however it wasn’t intended to come out so quick after
day one…it just worked out that way. The way I see it…when the tap
is on…fill up your cups!
A lot of bands seem to be looking
overseas for mixing and mastering these days. What were your motives
for doing so? Was it about achieving a particular sound or were you
thinking that the US stamp of approval is a good way to increase your
I guess we were looking for a particular
depth which I didn’t think we would find here..there is plenty of
great mixers here…but we wanted something a little more.
In my opinion
it was money well spent, as “Universes” sounds amazing. Is there
a particular sound you guys were aiming for with this record? Were there
any set themes that you were looking to explore
– both musically and lyrically?
For universes I guess sonically we wanted
it to be very dense and open…but not slick and really “hi-fi”…its
hard to put into words…but whats in my head is pretty much what you
can hear on the record…we didn’t aim for any themes in any aspect..we
don’t really pre meditate anything in this band…its very organic..we
jam and if it feels good…we keep at it..if not..then we move on…that’s
not to say we don’t think seriously or deeply about our music..we
do…its just a very natural thing for us to write a lot…
You guys shot two music videos in
California, the first of which (for Silhouettic) was the second part
of the story, while the most recent video for
“Broken Bones” acts as the introduction. For those who are yet to
see the videos, can you tell us about the concept, the location etc…
The concept came from matt, the director…it
was to have some kind of creepy subtext to these kinda nice sounding
rock songs I suppose…we wanted it to look visually a step above what
you would normally do on your first proper video..we shot outside of
a town called Lancaster in California..freezing cold desert at night…fucking
hot sun during the day…crazy place.
“Silhouettic” was made free to
download upon its release, and as we just touched on you’ve released
an elaborate series of promo videos. In a day
and age where it’s becoming tougher to sell records do you see these
steps as being necessary to make your band stand out?
Not to stand out…but we felt that in
a position such as ours…we wanted to give something back…we are
fortunate enough, that, due to the support of people buying our records,tshirts,tickets,
name it…we get to travel and live and spend time in places like the
US and make records in really nice places..
That’s pretty cool, so why not give
a little to those who give a lot to you?
August sees you guys undertaking your
most ambitious tour yet. What can your fans expect from your live show
this time round? Will you be bringing any extra production for the shows
given the effort you’ve put into your recent videos?
That’s the plan yeah, we are working
on a new set at the moment which will be a lot longer than ever before…more
lights…more equipment…more stage stuff and production…in a day
when there is a million bands touring…we like to give as much as we
can to the lovely ticket holding people as we can on the night..
Once the album tour wraps up what
do you guys have planned for the remainder of 2008?
Bit of time off….some of us are travelling,
some are making other records, probably watch a lot of dvd’s…then
we have some stuff lined up for the festive season I believe!
We’ve just got a quick final five
to finish up with…
Favourite album at the moment?
New coldplay record, funnily enough…they
lost me for a long time…but im digging this new direction for them…
Veronicas or Olsen Twins?
Olsen twins…at some point they would
have touched bob saget.
Most embarrassing experience?
Falling off the stage in perth on our
last tour was a hoot…
Pre-Bad or Post-Bad Michael Jackson?
If I had to chose..i would have to say….both.
Most ridiculous thing you’ve done
for a buck?
Thanks for your time…
My pleasure sir.
For all things Birds Of Tokyo, head to the bands Myspace page.