MTV Interview: Little Birdy
Little Birdy are one of those bands that have visibly flourished, and for the last seven years, have endlessly toiled spreading their wings far and wide.
With two full length albums behind them, it’s now time for Little Birdy to unleash their latest honest and heartfelt number onto the salivating Aussie public. ‘Confetti’ is their coming of age work; after developing a new found but long deserved sense of self belief, Katy Steele and the boys have mastered the helm with the encouragement from their management and help of Melbourne based engineer, Steve Schram to make this album their first self produced work to date.
We caught up with Barney AKA Scott O'Donoghue (bass guitar, vocals and melodica) to see how he feels about their latest achievements.
MTV: You guys played at the Lair for us the other week, which was fantastic. How did you guys enjoy it?
Barney: Yeah it was good fun we played 'Brother' and 'Summarize'. Yeah it’s sort of funny to start with; the floor managers that give you the single to go and you don't even know what you’re doing. You’re just given the signal and you start playing. I didn't know what he was going on about. I haven't seen the footage yet. That should be pretty funny.
MTV: ‘Confetti’ is the new album and it’s your first self produced album – what made you guys decide to take that on yourself?
Barney: It's something that we’ve always wanted to do but we have never really had the confidence to do it. With the last album we pretty much produced it ourselves, because whilst John King [producer on ‘Hollywood’] got some good sounds and stuff, we didn't really need to change any of the songs. And so with this one we had the confidence and our manager, John Watson, had a lot of confidence in us to do it as well, so we thought we would just give it ago. We were really happy that it worked out.
MTV: What was the biggest challenge in self-producing an album?
Barney: I suppose the musical side of it wasn't really a challenge. We were all on the same page. Everyone's ideas seem to be in the same sort of mindset. So that wasn't a tough deal. It was more organizing what we needed for the album. Like if we needed strings and things and organising that side of it - like showing people how to play it, and
play the parts and that sort of thing. Most of that was done by Matty [Chequer, Drums, Percussion].
MTV: It seems some bands doing their first production number get tempted to throw in everything and over produce it. Was there any point where you guys were tempted to do that and had to pull back the reigns a bit?
Barney: No I think it was last time that we did exactly that! We put all our ideas down and with this one we were concise of the fact to give the songs that we needed and not have every idea on there. So the tracks that we did choose were the songs with the best ideas. We felt that it was these songs that should have their own time to shine. It wasn't a challenge because we knew exactly what we wanted to do this time around.
MTV: The last album, ‘Hollywood’, lyrics wise, seemed to reflect a lot of insecurities and a sense of ‘that awkward phase’ in growing up. In contrast, ‘Confetti’ seems to be much more self assured and mature. Is that a reflection of where you guys have been in the last few years?
Barney: Yeah I think it is! Especially because Katy writes all the lyrics, so I'm pretty sure that is a pretty accurate reflection of where she has been as well as her destined life.
But also the music it’s like, I suppose with this album it didn't happen automatically, and we didn't push all the songs in where they didn't go naturally. On the last album we tried to push songs especially where they shouldn't have gone I think! I lost it! I thought it was good! I like the songs but we tried to do something that was a bit out of our style and knowledge! You know ‘Confetti’ tended to be something that we didn't try to make happen.
MTV: So it’s much more natural?
MTV: Katy did some solo work supporting Paul Kelly's tour last year. Was there any question around that time of the band continuing as Little Birdy?
Barney: No not really! Katy was thinking that she was going to do a solo album. But we started playing again. Then we decided that the songs sounded really good and that we were going to make this album.
I think on that solo tour she really enjoyed playing, because obviously Paul Kelly can play in those beautiful sort of theatre places. You know she really sort of enjoyed that. She wanted to play some songs that would hold up such a supporting artist. I think a lot of [the new] songs were written around that time as well.
MTV: You guys have been around for about seven years now, so you’ve obviously seen the good, the bad, and the ugly side of the music industry. How do you stay motivated after the initial glitz has faded?
Barney: Yeah what keeps us going is we get together and make new songs. You get this initial joy from doing it. I don't think that will ever die or change anything; that's what I think it keeps you going for sure.
No matter what happens there is always new music out their and stuff that you can make in the future. Professionally that's what I get to do.
MTV: ‘Brother’ is probably one of my favourite tracks off the album! I heard that before it was released, but I heard that ‘Brother’ wasn't actually going to be put out independently. When you sent it out as a free download were you surprised at it’s success as an independent release?
Barney: Yeah! We were because we were going to keep it on the side and get some people to pay for album to enjoy it! Then Triple J started playing it, which was great. Yeah it's been a really good response. I think it’s probably one of my favourites as well.
MTV: Do you think having the fresh element of having Paul Kelly featured on ‘Brother’ with harmonica and backing vocals contributed to its success?
Barney: Yeah I think so! The harmonica line that he came up with was pretty special. The other day I forgot the harmonica and there was no harmonica in the song. It was lacking tremendously. Yeah what he did to that song definitely made it better, I reckon!
MTV: Later this year you guys are playing at ‘Splendour in the Grass’. Who are you excited about seeing there?
Barney: Honestly, MGMT I didn't get to see them when they came out last year. That will be good to see.
MTV: Thanks Barney!
Check out Little Birdys Myspace page here!