Birds of Tokyo seek new horizons

Birds of Tokyo will take its sound in a new direction next year following the release of its greatest hits album Playlist… A Singles Collection.
Birds of Tokyo will take its sound in a new direction next year following the release of its greatest hits album Playlist… A Singles Collection.

PERTH band Birds of Tokyo is flying in a new direction.

“We jokingly describe it as Blade Runner meets Roman Gregorian-sort of Baroque stuff,” guitarist Adam Spark said.

“It’s very much an exploration of everything cinematic and grandiose and dark; quite heavy.

“We’ve been referencing everything from Massive Attack to alt-J to The xx to Nine Inch Nails and Deftones, and some metal and a bunch of hip-hop; really low end, dark kind of stuff and grime and things like that.”

“We’ve been down a path for a little while and we always want to keep moving and it just feels like the right time for us to take another step to the side and go down a different road for a little while.

“I think we’re feeling like it’s more about building a soundtrack to a big, intense concert experience rather than just a record with songs on it that go on the radio.

“That’s kind of the design for it at the moment anyway.”

Spark said the band’s latest single, I’d Go With You Anywhere, was probably the last of its kind so it made sense to give it a home on its greatest hits album Playlist… A Singles Collection, released earlier this month.

“That song was initially part of some sessions we did earlier this year for the Anchor EP but it wasn’t ready for then and we’ve been rewriting and restructuring and redesigning the whole song throughout the year to get that right,” he said.

“So it just happened it made sense to whack it right up the front of this thing, to say it’s probably one of the last of it’s kind that we’re working on for a while because we’re working through a bunch of new material and none of it’s anything like that or any of the things around it.

“It made sense to say ‘this is a demarcation here; there’s this stuff before and now is the new world we’re about to embark upon’.”

Spark said releasing Playlist was about finishing a chapter of Birds of Tokyo.

“In a not negative way at all, I definitely see it as a closing of part one of what we’re doing,” he said. “If that was the first decade of Birds, then I want to spend another decade now exploring and going down a far, far more experiential and cinematic path.

“We have every plan and desire to keep going for another 10, 20, 30 (years) so it’s a matter of how do we move forward with style and grace and just good powerful, interesting music from next year onwards.

“We’ve got a lot of vision and a lot of things we want to try.”

Playlist is an 18-track trip down memory lane, ordered from newest song to oldest with Puzzle from the band’s recent Anchor EP included to bookend the collection.

“It came about because being away for the past couple of years overseas, we always constantly have to introduce people to our music and give them a bit of an overview of what it is we do and have done,” Spark said.

“There’s always been a general feeling that with a band like Birds, everyone who knows the name doesn’t necessarily know it’s this song and this song and that one.

“People may know a song or a couple of songs but not the name or know the name and this song but not know it’s the same as that so it’s an attempt for us to consolidate and remind people what it is we do.

“Initially we approached it like if we were going to do a great festival set; what are the songs that make sense to cover the spectrum of what we’ve done?

“It’s almost like doing it like a best-of live performance just touching on all the songs that have had their moments and songs that have had resonance with people over the time we’ve been doing this.”

The band is now looking forward to hitting the summer festival scene, including a set at Southbound in Busselton from January 8 to 10.

“We’ll have to see what shape any of the new stuff is in but by and large, I think we’ll come swinging with the bigger songs,” Spark said.

“Earlier this year, we’ve gone and rebuilt a lot of our live show sonically so we’re still ironing all that out as well and getting that better and we’ve just started to hit our stride with that so it will be good to present that in its full glory hopefully.

“It’s just a lot bigger and a lot tighter and a lot more epic and hi fi.”