From London, please welcome Goldbirds ! Left to right…
Mike Brazier (drums/programming/BVs) – Hils (keys/drums/vocals) – Si Connelly (guitar/vocals) and Earl Phillips (bass)
Debut single Silver & Gold from fresh four-piece Goldbirds made me go Hell Yeah on first hearing. Pounding drums, fiery guitars, 60s organs in between, a fully adrenalin charged chorus and explosive dynamite vocals on top, all delivered with an unfaltering intensity. An irresistible injection of pure Rock & Roll without special effects. The quartet started as a reaction to the daily similar sounding music played on mainstream UK radio stations. These golden birds want to shake up things, they want to make a difference and… become the Biggest Band On The Planet with smoking hot music coming from the heart and the soul. Sounds exactly like what that once-upon-a-time Manchester band shouted about in the early nineties. Goldbirds is on a similar Mission. Second single Giving Up, a solid beat rock cracker, confirms that they are 4 Real. About time for a London call. Hello…
When and where was the band conceived?
Si: “I think the band grew out of this feeling we all had that there really aren’t any great new rock & roll bands about anymore. I mean, I’m sure there’s some somewhere, but can anyone think of any new ones? A new band that has amazing songs, sound, style and attitude. The formation of Goldbirds was pretty surreal really. Me, Hils & Mike were taking some time out of our previous band (note JL: ‘El Born’) to experiment with some new songs. We’d just finished recording a new one, ‘Silver & Gold’, and we kinda said “Well this sounds like something new and exciting.” I then said lets quit this other band right now and start a new one called Goldbirds and this can be our first single. The decision took about two minutes.”
What’s the story behind the group’s name?
Si: “The name just kinda came to me when I heard the new music. I wish I had a better answer than that but it just appeared in my mind when I heard ‘Silver & Gold’. I guess the gold bit came from that song, and I always loved The Byrds, so maybe that’s why it came up.”
Mike: “The music demanded that name !”
Who is/are the songwriter(s) in Goldbirds?
Si: “The sound of Goldbirds comes from all of us but I write all the songs. It’s fun writing Rock & Roll songs. You’re up against the best writers and bands ever: The Beatles, Oasis, Mando Diao… The songs are completely autobiographical and are born out of how we all feel about our lives. I’m just the delivery guy.”
When did the band know: “This is it, this is how we want to sound”?
Hils: “We were touring the circuit a lot in our old band last year and we started to get a feeling that we had to make music that described how we felt.”
Si:“I’ll tell you what made us want to sound like we do… the fact that most music out there sounds like it could be the same artists. I’m not trying to knock it. There are some amazing records and artists out there, but if you listen to most mainstream UK radio stations today you could be listening to one group’s album. Our music for us was a reaction to that. We wanted something heavy and something that shook things up a bit. Even if it meant we weren’t following fashionable trends. I think when we get on stage we automatically feel like we wanna exorcise some demons and I guess the sound is the sound of that exact thing.”
Share an unforgettable story with us about the Goldbirds’ first rehearsals…
Mike: “It was in this dodgy room in Croydon (near London) and we didn’t have a bass player so we were having to play to these awful backing tracks with just bass on them. We had our producer, Tristan Ivemy, down for the first time. I think Si was getting pretty annoyed that the electronic bass player, that he programmed mind you, kept screwing up the takes.”
Hils: “I think we only had about three rehearsals to work out ten new songs for our first Goldbirds gig. It all happened pretty fast.”
So far you released two straight rock and roll crackers. What or who was the inspiration for the songs?
Si: “Band wise I was heavily inspired by ‘Mando Diao’, a Swedish band. I saw them playing at The Barfly in London once and it was one of the best shows I ever saw. They must have been on stage 15 minutes but it felt like a hurricane had torn through the place. Our songs are nearly all inspired by the tough nature of doing music these days. Lyrically there are some heavy nods to that sort of thing. Especially in our second single ‘Giving Up’. The lyrics to that song kind of poke fun at us. Sometimes, just sometimes, ambition is a curse. Having said that I am glad we are blindly cursed. I have to write about how I feel and to be honest, most of the time I feel inpatient and wanna get on with it all. These songs are like a running commentary to that petulant inner child in me that wants it all now. The lyrics are one thing but the songs themselves are a feeling. A few minutes of letting go.”
Mando Diao – inspirational band…
What’s on the setlist besides the two singles you released so far?
Hils: “There are many new songs coming daily from Si that we are working into the setlist.”
Si: “Yeah the newest song, which we have only played once to a room of spaces is called ‘Automatic Generation’. That’s the one I’m excited about.”
Mike: “There are certainly some surprises live and some are already becoming favourites. My favourites live at the moment are ‘Empire’, a mid-pace pulsing track, and ‘When You Wanna Wake Me Up’, a dance/rock one.”
Si:“I also love a song called ‘Come On Baby’ because is just glam-rock in the verses and feels like early Oasis in the chorus. Massive. All of our songs are brand new as we haven’t been a band very long so our crowds are learning them with us.”
Any band ritual(s) before going on stage?
Si: “We haven’t done all that many shows yet and we are more excited about where we are going rather than appreciating where we’re at.”
Mike: “We are always in such a rush that I don’t think we take in many moments, hopefully there will be some good rituals that will come from touring.”
Si:“I think Mike gives his beard some mini comb love before every show. That beard is having it. You can’t play ukulele with a beard like that around now can you?!”
What’s in the pipeline: another single or the debut album?
Earl: “Goldbirds are working to a pretty well drawn out road map and next on the list is another single. We are recording it in a few weeks time and I believe it’ll be out pretty soon after ‘Giving Up’ is officially released.”
Hils: “I think after that will be an EP followed by more new music. We just want to keep putting out new music. New ! New ! New !”
Brand new, second single ‘Giving Up’….
Is playing in a band actually ‘the best job in the world‘?
Si: “I’d have to say that it is in theory. The moments when you are on stage, or when you create something that excites you are truly amazing. But being in a band isn’t all fun and games anymore. Everyone knows that labels aren’t really signing bands, and bands are having to do it all themselves, which is idealistic to say the least. I mean it’s just not true. We’ve been sold man! You need a kind of an outside investment if the masses are going to hear of you. In reality, great bands need to get those deals to light up the world. There is this myth that’s been sold for years now that you can make it without labels. I have not come across one single band that is where there they are without the aid of labels or outside investment. Oasis were right, “You gotta make it happen” and we will, but I can’t pretend that we are not in the toughest period of musical history. You have to just keep trying to be the best you can be and keep growing and connecting to your audience. I certainly wouldn’t consider doing anything other than playing music.”
Which album would you steal from your parents’ record collection?
Si: “My Dad’s a DJ so I could take my pick. I would go for ‘I Should Coco’ by Supergrass.”
Hils: “Unlike me…there was zero music playing in my house when I grew up, I think my Mum had Annie the musical LP, that’s about it. Certainly won’t be stealing that one !”
The number one artist on your list to do a world tour with?
Si:“It would have to be Paul McCartney. Playing with an actual Beatle? Forget about it. If not him then John Mayer, because he’s the best.”
Mike: “That’s easy ‘Brand New’ my favourite band in the universe.”
Earl: “Spinal Tap”
Hils: “Blur , legends. Or Coldplay I think, their live shows are awesome.”
If you could travel in time what artist would you jam with?
Si: “I don’t think I’d have popped my guitar out but it would have to be Jeff Buckley, and then if there’s still juice in the time machine, and Jeff didn’t mind the idea of possibly bumping into his Dad then I’d stop by at John Lennon’s.”
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
Si:“Definitely a blessing. The only down side is getting heard above all the noise. People are being advertised to and sold something from the second they open their eyes in the morning. New hoovers, even whiter toothpaste, underwear for dogs, whatever. There is so much out there that trying to get people to engage in something new has now become much harder. Ironically due to the fact that it’s a lot easier to communicate to them, we find Twitter and Instagram and our own fan mailing list far better than say, Facebook. On Facebook a post about a new single that has cost you thousands to make and months of work to produce may get 12 likes, whereas one picture of you holding a Poodle will get hundreds! I don’t blame people and that’s not what Facebook is about, but it’s certainly becoming more important to pick the right forums for the right things. However, it does of course depend on the Poodle!”
David Cameron: beauty or the beast?
Si:“Personally I don’t think he’s beauty or the beast. He’s done his job and he seems to be the best person out there capable of making real progress. I wasn’t a fan of him until I heard Miliband talking. Then I thought, right I don’t want this guy stumbling about in the dark trying to find the keys for number 10. With all the conflict in the world now we need someone who is at least able to be coherent. I don’t think the rest of the band want to talk politics…”
Oasis reunion: yes or no?
Si: “Yes. Yes. Yes. I think we need a band out there with attitude and who are honest about stuff. Obviously it’s not the 90’s anymore but they were too good to just fade away. It’s gonna happen and hopefully we’ll be supporting them.”
Glastonbury or Reading/Leeds?
Si: “It’s got to Glastonbury hasn’t it. Even though you have take out a mortgage to go these days. Every band dreams of headlining Glastonbury. Reading would be amazing too though. Look any festival where I don’t have to work on the hotdog van is a step forward.”
What’s the ultimate ambition of Goldbirds?
Si: “Okay brace yourself because I’m about to sound all 1990’s but my bands ambition is to be the biggest band in the world. We wanna make great music, travel, play electric shows and inspire people. We wanna change our lives. That’s why we are doing all this. That’s why we jump through the hoops and run the rat race but we definitely want to become the things that inspired us to do it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, we’d still do it even if we knew we weren’t going to break through but the slightest idea that we might is just enough to keep us believing in something.”
Thank you Goldbirds for the interview ! May the road rise with you !
(All band pics: Amy Mills)