Interview: Tweak Bird
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 12:21:38
Tweak Bird push the gas pedal down and speed ahead towards Southern California rock 'n' roll nirvana on Any Ol' Way [iTunes link]. You can practically hear the Camaro engine buzzing beneath those ballsy riffs and bombastic beats. This is everything rock music should be and more. It's melodic, it's metallic, it’s psychedelic, and it's just plain badass. In other words, you need Any Ol' Way.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Ashton Bird of Tweak Bird talks Any Ol' Way, movies, and so much more.
Did you approach Any Ol' Way with one vision in mind?
Yeah, man! We had written a bunch of it before we got into the studio. Once we got into the studio, we decided that we wanted the vibe to be fun and general. We wanted it to just happen. We ended up rewriting a bunch of the songs in the studio. That may have been what helped it feel like one continuous thing.
How much did you rewrite them?
Sometimes, it would be one word. Sometimes, it would be a whole chorus or editing a whole part of the song out like, "We don’t need it. We’re over it".
Did being in the studio help you focus the vision?
I guess you could say that. With bringing in the third ear, our friend David Allen as the producer, it was really cool. He helped us fill out the vision and finish with the follow through and get it all done. We didn’t do many overdubs. It was pretty much recorded live. We overdubbed some vocals and synths, but that big-ness is really just my brother’s guitar and my drums. I’m really happy about that.
Is it something you and your brother lock into?
Yeah, we stopped talking to each other like ten years ago so we have to play music as our form of communication [Laughs]. We’ve been playing since we were kids. It’s almost twenty years now. We didn’t know how to play when we were kids. We can tell by the way each other looks how we’re going to play a song. I can tell by how his eyebrows are peaked how he’ll play a song. We’ve been working together. We aren’t really fighting anymore. Nobody’s ego is getting in the way. It’s a lot more fun for us. It’s about supporting and influencing each other positively to keep it going.
What’s the story behind "Sunshine"?
We wanted that song. We both heard it. It was a sunny day. It was just a good song to us. I also had been taking psychedelic drugs in the desert a lot. I think that was helping.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
My brother really enjoys that. I find that to be a really fun challenge writing the lyrics and passing them to him and him saying, "It’s very literal, dude. Where’s the picture? Where’s the imagery? Where's the openness to interpretation?" I enjoy that aspect. He’s into painting pictures, and I’m into telling a story. The two of us keep each other in check in that regard.
What fosters that storytelling?
I do like to read, when I can. I love some reading some awesome books. I think I had read six Kurt Vonnegut books before we went in there. Maybe I was a little scared for the world when we went in there. I like to read and watch movies. I think old songwriters are more where I like to draw from. It’s an old art form, and it's been passed on so long that there are songs from forever ago that are more articulate and paint better pictures than I ever could.
How did you connect "Builder" and "A Sign of Positivity"?
That came together in the studio. It just happened.
What artists shaped you?
As kids, it was Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and music our dad played for us. Then, after we became adolescents, we stopped bonding over music. I was really into hardcore music and thrash punk for my teen years. My brother was into singer-songwriter music. That shifted, and he went into heavy music, and I went into country.
If Any Ol' Way were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
I keep thinking it's Dazed and Confused. I’m pretty sure. When I saw that movie, I thought it was made in the sixties or the seventies. Then, I was like, "These are all current actors. This is so good!" It’s such a great movie. It basically says, "Life sucks, but it doesn’t really if you have fun. Get it done Any Ol’ Way!"