Birds to fly high with new sound

Pilbara News - - Life­style - Kelly Bell

Af­ter a year-long wait, ar­guably the big­gest mu­sic fes­ti­val in the Pil­bara will re­turn to Port Hed­land for its fourth in­stal­ment this week­end.

The North West Fes­ti­val will kick off its three-day for­mat, mar­keted as the Pil­bara Week­ender, on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

This year’s line-up is dom­i­nated by Aus­tralian artists and, de­pend­ing on who you ask, the big­gest coup could be the ap­pear­ance of five-piece al­ter­na­tive rock band Birds of Tokyo who have re­turned to their home­land af­ter spend­ing 2014 based in the USA.

In the past 11 years, Birds have steadily grown their star with each new al­bum.

Their de­but al­bum Day One spent 36 con­sec­u­tive weeks in the ARIA top 10.

They re­leased two more al­bums be­fore smash hit Lanterns was launched onto the Aus­tralian mu­sic scene in 2013.

Since the band re­turned from a year writ­ing and liv­ing in Amer­ica, 2015 has marked a big change.

On re­leas­ing a four-track EP, An­chor, ear­lier this year, the band re­vealed it was “a lit­tle ex­per­i­ment” that in­cluded hip-hop el­e­ments they had never ex­plored be­fore.

There are even said to be some vo­cal ef­fects that make lead singer Ian Kenny sound like he is from an­other gal­axy.

Kenny said the new sound had “gone down well with the masses” and he ex­pected the band to re­lease an­other EP in com­ing months.

“We were a bit ner­vous about re­leas­ing this EP... there is al­ways pres­sure to fol­low up the suc­cess of a pre­vi­ous song such as Lanterns,” he said.

“If you don’t match it or beat it, it gives you this per­ceived no­tion that you’re on the way down but it looks like An­chor has been re­ceived really well.”

Kenny said com­pared with Lanterns, An­chor was a dark, heavy song about tak­ing care of your friends.

“It was a bit of a roll of the dice to put out a song that touches on anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion ... and still have peo­ple con­nect with it,” he said.

“The thing you learn as you keep put­ting out mu­sic is that you tend to rebel against the last thing you did.

“You al­ways want to ex­plore new things, you don’t want to be­come the one-trick pony band.”

The Birds’ ap­pear­ance at North West Fes­ti­val fol­lows a tour from May to late June so they are tipped to be in good form come the week­end.

Kenny said the band had put two months of pre-pro­duc­tion into the stage show to up the ante for au­di­ences.

“By the time we got to the stage, things were hit­ting pretty hard, loud and fast,” he said.

“The shows have been the best we have ever done.”

Kenny said he thought this year’s North West Fes­ti­val line-up was pretty cool and he ex­pected big things.

He said he was look­ing for­ward to en­joy­ing the heat of the North West af­ter deal­ing with a cold win­ter in Syd­ney.

“We love com­ing out to the coun­try towns ... when­ever you go re­gional there are al­ways real char­ac­ters and it is al­ways fun,” he said.

“There is a sonic as­sault that we have de­vel­oped that we hope will knock peo­ple’s socks off.”

Pic­ture: Kane Hib­berd

Birds of Tokyo will head­line this Satur­day’s North West Fes­ti­val in Port Hed­land.

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