A Q&A With Nightbird Casino
Post-wave music makers heavily inspired by post-punk, shoegaze, and goth rock
James Tristan Moore of Nightbird Casino has all the answers, as he tells us about his band, their influences and more…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our latest single is called ‘Radio Anxiety’ – it comes out on 4/20, so just a few days from the time I’m doing this interview. I tend to come up with titles (and lyrics) first and then think about what they mean later. I think this song is very much about that feeling of underlying anxiety you have all the time – or at least I have – as a musician who hasn’t quite “made it” yet. You’re pouring all your time and energy, not to mention money, into creating music and you’re wondering if you’re going to get any traction with this latest album, or song, or show, whatever. “Radio” is sort of representative of the music industry in this case. Radio being the gold standard – at least it used to be. If your song was on the radio, you’d made it!
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
This has actually been one of the most difficult – or at least longest – releases we’ve worked on. Recording the drums was definitely a process to say the least – but well worth it. Oliver [Collins, drummer] has been building a recording studio in his home so the drums were recorded there but there was a bit of stop and start for a while there while he refined the space and his recording setup. We all really dug in our perfectionist heels on this one. It’s all been hard – the recording, mixing, and mastering even – but all well worth it.
“It eventually coalesces into something amazing”
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it? If you produced it yourselves what do enjoy most about producing your own material?
The answer to that question is kind of both. Landon [Strine] our bassist produced it. He had a lot of really incredible ideas – among them recording my acoustic guitar through a Leslie speaker (which he manually adjusted the speed of while I was playing); adding sleighbells to the chorus; adding synth to the bridge and organ to the verses, and having me double up my vocals with whispers. Honestly he took the song to another level. The rest of us just stood over his shoulder and made suggestions.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I don’t presume to know what other people should feel. Some people will connect with our music and some won’t. I hope those that do find that it speaks to them in some way. Whatever that way is, is up to them.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Generally, one of us will come up with a riff or a chord progression and then send the rest of the band a recording – nothing fancy, just a phone recording or something, and then we’ll all see what ideas we can add to it. Sometimes it fizzles out, and sometimes it eventually coalesces into something amazing. Occasionally magic just happens during an impromptu jam session – that’s actually where our latest single, ‘Radio Anxiety’, came from.
“We’d love to tour Europe”
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Radiohead is #1 for me. Recently though we’ve all been influenced quite a bit by 80s post-punk and shoegaze – artists like mbv, Slowdive, Sonic Youth, Ride, Lush, Curve, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Deadsy… that wall of sound and/or goth kinda sh*t.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
We’d love to tour Europe. We apparently have a lot of listeners in Poland so that could be cool. I’d also love to tour the UK and Australia.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
The new one, ‘Radio Anxiety’ … it’s a great representation of who we are and what’s to come.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Is there a Nobel prize in music? Obviously that.
Finally, as Nightbird Casino leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thanks for listening. Climate change is real. Fu*k the haters. Have a nice day.
For more information, check out nightbirdcasino.com