In Conversation with The Ornament Birds

All the way from South London, The Ornament Birds are a four-piece psych-pop band with a very interesting sound.  For the last three years, the group has been gigging across London and releasing EPs independently.  We had a chance to speak with The Ornament Birds about their single ‘Pashu’, future plans and much more!

Why did you decide to enter the music industry?

We have been making music together since we were in school so we were always going to bump into the music industry once we started playing gigs. At the moment, we want to play lots of gigs, keep writing better songs and continue to improve the quality of recording and production. We increasingly enjoy gigs and have realised that we do want our music to be heard more widely. We’ve been honing this for years and we like what we do, so we’ve been starting to chip away at the “industry” side of things.

Can you tell us about your single ‘Pashu’?

‘Pashu’ is a song that was written about a year ago and that we started playing more regularly last summer. It was one of the three new songs that we made around the same time that felt like we were taking a step forward. the songs were louder, more complex and had an increasing focus on being played live. ‘Pashu’ was the first of these tracks to get positive comments coming back to us after gigs. It was catchy, the vocals were front and centre, and the changes in texture were really coming through.

Does ‘Pashu’ have any personal significance?

‘Pashu’ was started while I was on a work trip to Nepal. The sample at the start is recorded at the Pashupatinath Temple (the main Hindu cremation site in Kathmandu) during one of the evening celebrations of live music and dancing on the steps above the river opposite the plinths where the bodies are burned and across from the hospice.

Lyrics in the song are about watching this celebration. The line, “the gods and the ashes, they crowd around” is really about the fact that there were temples to Shiva all over the place and actual human ashes swirling through the air and catching in my hair. I was really taken with the idea of people being delivered to the hospice in order to spend their last few days listening to these evening celebrations as they lie dying. ‘Pashu’ is a slideshow of images from this.

What do you hope people take from the single?

We’d want people to hear this and be excited about the new songs that we are writing, recording and producing. ‘Pashu’ brings together some found-sound samples, some of our leanest songwriting and perhaps the biggest sound we’ve been making so far. It’s a good starting point, a pretty rounded example of the music we are making, but also it isn’t wholly representative of other songs we are writing.

 

 

What do you hope people take from your music in general?

We try to write solid, coherent songs with interesting melodies, evolving textures and samples to broaden the sound. We’re looking for the elusive middle ground between taught, crafted pop songs and experimentation in lyrics, sounds, samples, song structures and textures. So, I think we’d hope that people hear this in the songs.

Did you always want to be a musician?

We have all always wanted to be making music and have been doing so together in various combinations since school. We’ve all been doing different things for work and some of us living in different places over the last 10 years, but always writing music, listening to music and talking about music and sharing new songs with each other. So, in short, yes.

What do you think is the best way to discover new music?

Be active about it. I like to listen to the radio shows that I think are interesting, speak to friends and read magazines and blogs. I think if you go looking for it you concentrate more when you listen. It also means you remember it and it enters your own music atlas helping you map the artists you’ve heard and like and how they fit together.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

I couldn’t possibly say. I’d hope that we are all still making music we like together. I’ll be almost 40 at that point which is mad!

What advice do you have for any person planning to become a musician?

Don’t dilute your music, you don’t need to dilute it. Keep listening to other music and picking up ideas. Work out how to make your own songs exciting and interesting.

Do you have any message for our readers?

Nothing other than thanks for reading. We hope you will listen and continue to listen to our music.

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