INTERVIEW: Marc Bird | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

A stalwart of much-missed outfits such as Yellow Creatures, Lunar Bells and Video Spring, Marc Bird has been a familiar face on the North East circuit for the best part of a decade. Now based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, the Sunderland-born songwriter and producer re-emerges this month with Bronze – his first ever full-length album, and perhaps more significantly the maiden material unveiled under his own name.

It’s a bit scary going out on your own, you feel a lot more exposed!” He muses. “I’ve been working on these songs for about two years, and initially I was going to release them under another band or project name. For some reason, though, I thought it felt more appropriate to release them under my own name – perhaps because a lot of these songs are so introspective.

“The roots probably come from latter day Yellow Creatures when the stuff we were doing was a bit more mellow, plus the sound Kate [Edwards] and I were going for with Video Spring.” Marc explains. “It’s definitely a nostalgic record, and probably the most contemplative thing I’ve done. A lot of the songs were written from the viewpoint of being in isolation – even though they were written a long time before the lockdown! – and are about examining the past and how it shapes your present and future. Although Yellow Creatures was always a collaborative effort, this definitely feels like an extension of that approach to writing and production.”

A lot of the songs were written from the viewpoint of being in isolation – even though they were written a long time before the lockdown!

Pieced together in his home studio, the end result is a pensive bedroom pop delight; a minimalist gem bathed in lush electronics, spare beats and spectral sampling. With Kate Edwards providing guest backing vocals, it’s a hidden gem bound to beguile shoegaze and dream pop devotees, with meditative nuggets and instrumental breaks elegantly evoking the likes of Beach House, Chromatics and Slowdive. “This isn’t a concept record, but I did want to tie it all together and make it feel like a journey,” he recalls. “The album is bookended by the same field recording of a train, and there’s also lots of synths and samples, plus audio from different countries I’ve visited in Europe – Germany, the Netherlands etc.”

While bemoaning the challenges facing the industry as a whole, Marc admits that recent housebound months have not been without their benefits: “There’ll be a visual album on YouTube as well,” he reveals. “I’ve always loved accompanying releases with as much of my own artwork as possible and giving songs a collective visual identity. I had a few ideas for a video for the title track, including stuff to be shot on location, but obviously with all that’s happened I wasn’t able to do that. Being furloughed from work and having all this time on my hands has been of huge benefit, though, and meant that I’ve made a bunch of videos I’d never even thought of doing. All of them are black and white and stem from the album cover, with a mixture of found footage and stuff I’ve shot myself at home. One video led to another, and eventually I thought ‘to hell with it, I might as well do the whole album now!’”

Marc Bird releases Bronze on 12th June via Plastic Palace

 

Like this story? Share it!