Introducing: Many BirthdaysThe Austin based band Many Birthdays creates sounds that will make your body move. I've been listening to them for some time and recently decided to ask them a few questions that have been on my mind. Here's what they had to say...
Can you tell us a little bit about how Many Birthdays came to be?
It was a home-recording project first, with lots of experimentation. We were using all sorts of different instruments and field recordings, not only trying to write songs, but making little collages and spoken word things too. We made limited runs of cd-r's and gave most of them to friends. Eventually, after living a year in Japan, we decided to make Many Birthdays a live show. We really wanted a means to connect and feed off of each other's energy, as well as other people's energy.
Where did the name come from?
The name came from driving about 75 mph down a highway and thinking about yet another rebirth in a long series of ideas, people, animals and souls. That's pretty cryptic, but that's about it.
How has the band/sound transformed over the years?
When we were just doing experimental home-recordings, we had no real concern with it sounding like a "band". Nor did we have concern about how to play the stuff live. But once we began figuring out how to play music for shows, our writing started to naturally change. We started becoming more interested in the pulse and energy of a piece than in the limitless details of recording. It's like we really needed to paint with much broader strokes and let some of the shadings and details take care of themselves. It's a balance we are still working on. Also, we've gone from a duo four years ago, to a 4-piece now, playing with as many as five people including guest players. Our sound has revolved around one main goal for quite sometime, and that is to make people move, dance or simply feel something.
Where does the creative process start, in terms of building a song?
That process itself is always changing, but it can start anywhere- a word or phrase, a beat, a scene in the night sky etc...
We hear a lot of Asian influence in your songs, from the vocals to audio clippings. can you tell us a bit about what drew you to these sources?
Living in Japan and spending lots of time in Osaka definitely splashed some color onto the music that wouldn't have otherwise been there. We saw lots of amazing art and music coming from sometimes very unexpected sources. It was as beautifully crazy as you might expect in seeing the extreme individuality you can get there amongst the masses. But the masses and tradition too had a lot of beauty and seemed to grab us when we least expected it. It all struck some kind of chord.
Is there any chance of getting some English translations to some of the songs, maybe on a website or something for curiosities sake?
Absolutely! That is something we can provide on our site and is probably overdue.
Does Many Birthdays plan on touring in Japan or the U.S. sometime in the future?
We want to tour anytime we have the opportunity! We are currently planning some East Coast/NYC shows for the Spring. We have a few dates posted online right now.
Can you give us a bit of a hint at what you may be working on next?
The next collection of recordings and songs should have more of a "group" atmosphere, since that's where we are at the moment. The same 4 of us have been playing together now for the better part of a year, so that'll probably be reflected somewhat on upcoming recordings...
Where can we get our fix of Many Birthdays on the net and in person?
If you live in Austin, come see us play. We like to meet new people! Also find MB on the web at manybirthdays.net. We have lots of extra recordings and remixes there you can download free.
What is your favorite film monster?
Sarah- Actually, I don't think I have a favorite movie monster, but my favorite literature monster is maybe Grendel. I was really rooting for him and greatly disappointed at the outcome.
Henna- "Prejudice" from the Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street".
John- "ET", though not really a monster, so.... Frankenstein!
Rachel- Nosferatu was a pretty creepy guy.
I encourage you to go to their site and give a listen to their songs, watch some videos, and get to know the minds behind the rhythm. While you are there grab a copy of their EPs. They are on constant rotation here at Power headquarters!