You know what makes musicians seem like nice chaps? When they give you extraordinarily long replies to daft lockdown questions like “How close did you come to running out of loo roll?”. It takes some effort, you see. Most people would just be like, that’s a weird thing to ask, let’s move along. Not Lady Bird though, who’ve shared what we can only assume are all of their thoughts on coronavirus, self-isolation, the wonders of the NHS, supporting your mates, weird wedding gifts, rescheduling tours, and – well – we won’t spoil all of it, but there’s a lot going on. They’ve a new EP coming up too, which you can read about not only here, but in a future issue of Dork. We’ve got that bit sat in a cupboard until the issue after next though, so you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer for the full low-down. In the meantime, here’s Sam Cox (“or Don Bird as I should say in the world of Lady Bird”) to tide us over ahead of their performance at Homeschool this weekend.
Hello! How is it going? Are you self-isolating?
We are doing well, thank you and all self-isolating yes! We are in touch with each other regularly, and we have been keeping busy. We have recorded the music video for our latest single ‘WWW.’ (Wicked War of The West) within the confinements of isolation and we’ve also been completing the demos for our next record which we will be in the studio working on as soon as lockdown is lifted. We have been doing some interviews and all of our posts from home too, so it has been an interesting time staying connected via the World Wide Web.
I feel like this is a life-changing time. There are tragic elements of this experience, and it has highlighted a lot of social injustices. For people who are suffering, have been left unsupported or have lost a loved one, this must be a really hard time, and my thoughts are with you. I hope this will bring about serious changes for the people and the planet. Conversely, I know there are people who are really benefiting from slowing down their chaotic lifestyles. Friends and family who I am speaking to on a daily basis tell me they are ticking off jobs that they have been meaning to do for years. I too, have had the opportunity to do some work around the house, doing some renovations where I live in my wife’s parents house to show my appreciation of their kindness for taking us in. It’s been nice, it’s been lovely actually. I’m very fortunate.
This virus business is a bit much, isn’t it? How close did you come to running out of loo roll?
It’s certainly overwhelming! And it’s being amplified massively but the constant news coverage. In saying that, we watched a fantastic programme yesterday for the NHS workers. What I really enjoyed about it was all the performances from people’s homes and the song choices that these famous artists chose. I really enjoyed Stevie Wonder who sang beautifully and Rory aka Rag and Bone Man who chose the poignant track of ‘The Times They Are a Changing’ by Bob Dylan.
On the one hand, I feel all the celebration is so well deserved, for example, Captain Tom made me well up with joy, but I must say that as well as commending our key workers’ hard work and efforts (and charities who are supporting them too) we should also be focusing our attention on the severe lack of funding and the cuts imposed by the Tory government which have left the NHS workers putting their lives in danger without the appropriate equipment and in need of charity donations. I don’t want to be a downer, but I feel this is something that is being overlooked during this time. I have a friend who works in the hospital, and it breaks my heart that she is putting herself at risk every day.
Back to the loo roll! We didn’t run out of loo roll, fortunately, but I did see someone selling four rolls for a tenner on Facebook market place – gotta love a hustler.
What are you up to, day to day? Do you have lots to be getting on with?
Yes, lots and lots! I’m really fortunate that I added some new gadgets to my home studio set up, which has enabled me to record from home. I have a portable studio rig which is easy to use and easy to move about, so I have been recording in the garden which has been lots of fun. I’ve been doing lots and lots of music, and we have also been producing our new music video for ‘Wicked War of the West’, which is our new single. It was all totally filmed at home, and this was an interesting experience for us! We had to scrap our original ideas set over different locations, but the themes of the song translated beautifully in an isolated setting. You can see the video on our Instagram, YouTube or website, it’s made by a great creator called Luke, who is part of the same organisation that filmed our ‘Bootfillers’ video. It was great to work with him again.
How easy is it for you guys to record where you currently are? What’s your set up usually like, and what’s the deal at the mo?
Alex and I both have home studios, so we are able to edit, write and produce together from our own homes which is an amazing situation to be in! We are both doing mixes, adding and building songs together. We have also been collaborating with other artists, The New Consistent is a great band who have a new single called ‘Toast’, and we did a remix on it. Alex led this project and sent me over the stems to have a play with and lay some bars on, I loved the process. We are really trying to collaborate as much as possible right now and loving pursuing new creative ventures.
When we are not in isolation, we have our own studio which we built together with the producer we have been working with on the last few records, including this one. We are truly blessed in this respect.
What do you reckon is the best hobby to do while stuck at home?
It’s a great opportunity to do things that’s you never have time for! Also, it’s time to support your friends in other ways. Some mates have been really creative with online parties – including a talent contest for a friend’s birthday, the work that went into everyone’s performances was mind-blowing! I’m talking magic shows, Joe Exotic tribute acts and poetry readings. I’ve been stripping an iron fence out the front of the house that I’m staying at the moment, and it’s been a great way of repaying a debt of gratitude to the people who have taken us in, aka my wife’s parents. Hobby-wise I tend to chant and make music, and I have been watching more TV, which I don’t usually get the time to do.
Alex has been drawing and painting with his Mrs. They have been following a book and making colour charts, and they have also been doing work on their front garden too. Joe has been decorating, similar to me, contributing to the house and has been doing lots of reading. He has just started Lord of the Rings – good lad!
How has the lockdown impacted you guys so far, have you had lots of stuff pulled?
That’s been quite hard, actually. We have had a tour rescheduled, and most of our festival spots have been postponed. We are just waiting on the green light as to when we can book the studio to record our album which we have been carefully putting together over the last couple of years. Lockdown has put everything on hold, but we are being as productive as ever because we all have time, are based in one place! We are in a newly discovered mode of being independent and doing everything at home, which in some ways has reduced logistical obstacles, you just got to get on and do it.
When do you think you will be playing live again?
Our ‘WWW.’ tour, which was originally happening in May, is now postponed until December. It’s due to start 15th December in our home town Tunbridge Wells, and we are going all over the country so really looking forward to getting on the road with the boys, and with Isaac too of course. We go way back, but recently we have been playing together again as he has just started writing some original material which is fantastic. That will be a fun tour playing twice a night and with all my best boys.
You’ve got an EP coming up, haven’t you? What can you tell us about it? Was it all finished pre-lockdown?
Yes, it was, thankfully! This EP coming up is called ‘Brainwash Machine Setting’ and will be available on vinyl and digitally. It is a four-track EP that we have talked about – the art, the name, the concept since the social potions era. We were going to release only EPs which we have sort of done for as long as possible, but for the last year and a half, we have been putting loads of tunes into a melting pot which has led to us creating an album. This EP is four tracks that we all decided we wanted to put out now which I’m so glad we did because they were refined just before lockdown set in. We are pleased to be working with JägerMusik again. They supported through Curtain Call back in September for ‘Shag-Tally-Tastic’, and we reconnected with them to sponsor this record which is great because they are a really wholesome company, an independent as well and they work hard to actively support music. Check it out we have two singles ‘Got Lucky’ which you may have heard and seen a homemade video for (shot in out local boozer) that is out and about already and you will be able to hear ‘Wicked War of the West’ and see the video that I mentioned earlier. The other two tunes are called ‘Beep Beep’ and ‘Nice DLC’. The whole record walks you through a story about the depth of one’s heart, and if you have time, please check out our track by track on none other than this fantastic medium Dork Magazine that should be out any time soon for a more detailed tour of the EP ‘Brainwash Machine Setting’ by Lady Bird [It’s in the July issue m8 – Ed].
Are there any musicians or albums that you gravitate towards during tough times?
Yes for me Stevie Wonder is always the one I come back to. I was so moved to see Stevie Wonder singing ‘Loves in Need of Love Today’ on the television for One World Together at Home. ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ is a record I hold so close to my heart. Prince is my hero, and his timeless sounds and eclectic creations can get me through anything. I also love Chronixx, who I first heard on a trip to Jamaica in 2017, and he totally blew my mind. I look forward to seeing him live in the future as he is an amazing artist. The boys love Oasis and Joe, in particular, will rock out to the Stone Roses or Green Day. Alex has fantastic taste in popular music and loves listening to Willie J Healey over them all!
If you could pick up one new skill while self-isolating, what would it be?
There are so many things I want to learn, and I am always learning, especially through making music, there are so many different mediums. I used to play drums, which I still do outside of Lady Bird, but my skill has depleted because my energy is focused on other things such as writing and producing. I would like to get better at drums again, but that’s not a new skill.
I have a double bass in my house, which was a wedding gift for me and my wife and the lovely chap who gave it to us said that we should learn. I was playing it the other day for a song I was doing with my cousin who is an up and coming singer-songwriter called ‘Biddle’, and it was good fun but challenging! Not like playing a regular Bass at all. Why would I like the learn it? Well to honour such an amazing gift and let’s not lie it’s a fucking cool instrument – watch this space!
Lady Bird are taking part in new online festival Homeschool, which runs from 8th-10th May – visit homeschoolfest.com for details.