You may have noticed that we’re having a launch party on Thursday night to bless our royal wedding to NARC. Magazine and a certain feathered super group from Sunderland are thundering into Newcastle to perform to help us celebrate.
In case you’ve been doing bird in prison and don’t know who they are, B>E>A>K are a delectable tropical post-punk assemble featuring members of Field Music, Razmataz Lorry Excitement, The Futureheads and around 4,003 other brilliant musicians from the region.
In between touring and recording with their own bands, B>E>A>K enjoy playing sell-out shows throughout the land behind the veneer of their now legendary and slightly terrifying bird masks.
Now, there are a lot of shit puns flying around about them, and I’m never one to pigeonhole an act with needless quips, so I present to you a rare interview we did with Bluetit – B>E>A>K’s bird bass come 6-string riffer – to find out what this ‘bird rock’ lark is really all about.
KYEO: So, what the fuck is ‘bird rock’ Bluetit?
BT: Bird Rock is quite simply ‘rock played by birds’. I thought you guys at KYEO were sharp? In all seriousness though we’re a bunch of birds playing rock so our genre is ‘Bird Rock’. Obviously we’re 95% instrumental, but to be honest we’ve never really had a discussion about what we want to sound like; what we sound like is just what happens when the 6 of us get together and play music. Individually I guess we all have our own preferences and musical influences (some we share, some we don’t), but the way it filters through to the music is mainly on a subconscious level, speaking personally anyway.
KYEO: Come on then, who’s really in the band? I won’t tell anybody.
BT: I can’t possibly divulge our real life identities, it would be like Batman going round telling everyone he was Bruce Wayne! We now have 6 birds in the band with an occasional 7th member moonlighting on percussion and drums. We have no plans to increase the line up, 6 is more than enough for organisational purposes! The current line up is Bluetit (me), The Red Rooster, The White Swan, Yellow Belly, The Green Gannet and The Raven, with The Crow joining in from time to time.
KYEO: I know you all live and work with other bands, how seriously do you want to push B>E>A>K?
BT: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult at times to keep on top of the balance between B>E>A>K and our various individual bands/projects, especially now that there’s 6 of us (sometimes 7!) in the band. We are a democratic collective and manage ourselves, we produce and mix our own music and create our own videos and visuals (when I say ‘we’ I mainly mean our AV bird specialist The Green Gannet) so obviously that takes up a lot of time and commitment too. Having said that though, we’re in no rush to prove ourselves to anyone or to the music industry, B>E>A>K has been going since 2005 and we’ve dipped in and out of it periodically since then as and when we like. The main aim is to enjoy ourselves and to entertain others.
KYEO: B>E>A>K fans would love to know what’s been happening with you of late, do tell.
BT: Recently myself and the birds have been in the studio in preparation for our next release The White Edition. The lead track is named after our favourite character from Watership Down – Kehaar. He is an inspiration to us.
KYEO: Do you have plans to release things and to tour in 2012? I’d like that.
BT: We’ll follow The White Edition with The Blue Edition (presented by my good self Bluetit) later in early summer. We have no touring plans scheduled in at the moment (we’re all very busy birds outside of B>E>A>K) but we do have some great shows planned for 2012, so birdwatchers should keep a keen eye out for announcements.
KYEO: Who’s idea was it to don the bird masks and why did you decide to do this?
BT: You know what? I can’t specifically remember who actually first suggested the masks. There were a couple of band name ideas in the beginning but once we decided on B>E>A>K the whole mask/costume thing just came naturally – it made sense considering we were an instrumental band and it snowballed from there really.
KYEO: How are you received when you spread your wings outside of the region, do people get it as they do in the North East?
BT: Generally yes, but it’s always a bit weird playing to a new crowd who haven’t seen us before. Initially I think sometimes the whole masks/costume thing can go either way, some people love the fact that we make such an effort for a gig but you can tell some people are a bit stand-offish about it and look upon it cynically like it’s a bit pretentious. But, once we get started I think it’s pretty obvious that we just want to have fun while performing and be as entertaining as possible, and slowly but surely the crowd really get into it and really love the fact that we interact and involve them in the performance. Also, it helps that our music is fun but also (we think) pretty strong and uplifting…I think the quality of the music helps break the awkward initial barrier that goes with dressing up as birds.
KYEO: Are there any bands locally and nationally that you’re tweeting about at the moment?
BT: It’s usually The White Swan and The Raven I think who do most of the B>E>A>K tweeting but yeah, generally any other band that is bird related or has a bird connection (especially our local bird relatives Grandfather Birds). Our latest band themed tweet was regarding That Fucking Tank who we’ve been fans of for a long time, they melted our beaks off with their crazy riffage recently at Cluny 2.
Interview by Jon Corbett for kyeo.tv