We are very excited to offer Blow The Scene readers around the world an exclusive interview with Laval, FR’s indefinable purveyors of emotional hardcore, Birds in Row. The band has been generating a fair amount amount buzz in recent weeks with the premiere of a new music video for song “Pilori,” taken from forthcoming album You, Me, and The Violence, to be released soon via Deathwish Inc. This follows a spat of tours both in the US and abroad including a recent Philadelphia performance with Converge, Loma Prieta, and Pianos Become The Teeth, where we caught up with the band for an exclusive photo set. The band has also been supporting a recent LP entitled Collected on Vitriol Records which features the band’s now out of print Rise of the Phoenix 7″ and Cottbus EP (originally released on Vitriol Records in 2009 and 2010).
In this interview, Birds in Row take us in-depth with insight into the formation of the band, current musical and political influences, the making of forthcoming album, You, Me, and The Violence, and touch on their upcoming European tours with Converge, Rise & Fall, and Touche Amore, and much more.
Editor’s Note: BIR’s grasp of English is fantastic – and although some edits were necessary – we chose to edit as little as possible to keep the integrity of their responses. If something sounds a little odd, just read it with a French accent.
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the World! Let’s begin by just having you introduce yourselves with France’s indefinable and emotionally compelling hardcore-tinged outfit, Birds in Row.
Hi. We are a three piece band from Laval, FR. We started 3 years ago, played around 250 shows around Europe and lately the US. We put out two EPs and our first LP is coming soon on Deathwish.
Joshua BTS: Birds in Row recently wrapped up a US tour with Converge and Loma Prieta that we covered in Philadelphia. What was it like touring with these two powerhouse bands? Anything particularly memorable either on or off stage? We know both bands have some very interesting personalities amongst them.
Birds In Row: We didn’t tour with Converge but only played two shows on the east coast. Actually, we toured one month and a week with Loma, played two shows with Converge/Git Some/Pianos become the teeth, played 4 shows with Code Orange Kids and Full of Hell and toured almost two weeks with Touche Amore/Defeater/Code Orange Kids. We have plenty of stories but none particularly come to my mind … Except that we really laughed when Jake Bannon thanked us for playing with them … Converge … One of our favorite bands on earth … Ahah
Joshua BTS: Tell us about your forthcoming release on Deathwish Inc, “You, Me, & The Violence” for which you recently released a music video for opening track “Pilori.” Where, when, and whom did you record with?
Birds In Row: We composed pretty much all the songs between November and December, recorded in January with Amaury Sauvé and Sylvain Biguet in Laval. Sylvain mixed it and Alan Douches mastered it.
Joshua BTS: What does the writing process look like for Birds in Row? Is this a collective effort? Or is there a captain of the ship that steers the prevailing direction?
Birds In Row: It has always been a collective effort. Sometimes someone comes with an idea and we all develop it together. I don’t like that expression but most our songs are composed jamming.
Joshua BTS: When did the writing process begin for “You, Me, & The Violence”? How long do you take with the final editing processes? And this anything that is off the table when it comes to your sound or will you include just about anything you find appealing?
Birds In Row: As I said before we composed over two months and recorded it the next month. We wanted to have it done that way to keep something urgent and coherent in our songs. It’s hard to write a good album, listenable from A to Z, that keeps an ambiance, an identity. The mixing and mastering took longer than we thought as we really worked on it to sound the closest to what we wanted. We’ve always worked on our sound, trying to make it special somehow.
Birds In Row: We wanted the album to mainly talk about the fact that we are young kids feeling old. This feeling comes from different sources: The small city we live in, the political statements we take in a system that doesn’t care about them, … So most of the songs talk about this, but also about how it affects your relationship with the other people. How you get to denigrate and underestimate those faces you see in the streets, for being part of a herd you wouldn’t join. This is where that title comes from, how the violence has slowly sneaked into peoples’ basic relationships, into our relationship with the casualty. It is a bit a “us against them” feeling. There is also a song talking about struggle, that we wrote to have it talk about veganism.
Joshua BTS: Who crafted the cover art for “You, Me, & The Violence” and how did you settle on this design?
Birds In Row: D and B worked on it. We were about to show a violent scene, something that got common (like physical violence between two people), to put an image on a violence that has no real face. You cant see all the violent thoughts that live in people’s mind but you can see what they make them do. It is also a way to put people in front of something they would consider shocking and violent, when in their everyday life they got used to things that are as violent as that, such as poverty, animal genocide, moral harassment.
Joshua BTS: Where did you record the video for “Pilori”? How did you come to link up with director Mr. Fifi?
Birds In Row: We recorded it during our studio session and some of the outside scenes after our US tour. Mr. Fifi is a good friend of ours for a while. He’s been working around us taking live pictures since our very first show. We’re about to work on a solid project with him during several tours.
Joshua BTS: Birds In Row present a sound that driving with elements of hardcore, screamo, and punk, but remains somewhat indefinable throughout your current catalog. Were there any special pieces of equipment or recording techniques that you employed to capture the prevailing sounds on “You, Me, & The Violence”?
Birds In Row: We mostly played on our gears, except the drumset and one guitar head. We recorded it live as usual, but added a track of guitar to make it thicker and wider. There is not much to say as Sylvain and Amaury are really respectful of your original sound. They are very good at reproducing it well (or better) on a recording as they use good studio equipment and know how to use it.
Joshua BTS: While I would not consider Birds in Row a strictly “political band”- Are there any politics that you touch on in your lyrics or current issues you are focused on as a band?
Birds In Row: We have always talked about how we all three decided to show the way we wanted to live and how it can be a struggle in a well established system. Focusing on what you wanna do instead of what you’ve always been told to do, is the first step to freedom. We talk about it through our little French city kids sight. It’s all about making choices that your life (with all it features as opportunities, resources, …) offers. We wanted this album to also feature that text about veganism (that can also be read with another theme in mind) as it’s been a daily passive struggle for us, and it got pretty important for us to talk about it.
Joshua BTS: For our readers just tuning in- How did the band form? And is there a specific story behind the band name?
Birds In Row: We started rehearsing one week after T and B’s previous band broke up. And we recorded our first song one week after that and started playing the next month. It all went fast as our goal was to tour a lot and asap. The band name is just an image of the society we have: People could be free like birds can fly wherever they want, but they all end up flying together or standing on the same wire. In a good English it should have been “Birds in a Row” but it sounded like shit ahah.
Joshua BTS: How did you come to link up with Deathwish Inc?
Birds In Row: They contacted us after getting their hands on our records by different ways. Some people told them about us (as Jeremy from Touche Amore) and they liked it. So they decided to propose us a repress of our previous EP which ended up in an “album deal”
Joshua BTS: When you are not busy writing and performing with Birds in Row– What do your daily lives look like?
Birds In Row: We recently all tried to settle up our lives on a professional level. We used to not have any job and only focus on the band. Now, D started his screen-printing company, T is working on a piercing/ jewelry company and B is a tattoo apprentice. We try to balance the need to have a job, the need for it to be interesting and the fact that we still wanna tour a lot.
Birds In Row: We’re about to play some shows with Alpinist (Germany) soon. It’s a very nice neo crust band. We always support our local homies in As We Draw, Puzzle, Throw Me Off The Bridge, The Brutal Deceiver, Calvaiire, … And all the French bands we love like Sugartown Cabaret, Aussitot Mort, Burning Bright, Plebeian Grandstand, I Pilot Daemon, Montreal on Fire, Sélénites, Drawers, Verdun, Bokanovsky, The Rodeo Idiot Engine, Gasmask Terror, Black Spirals, Parween, … A lot of great bands which should get more attention.
Joshua BTS: Apart from music- Are there any other art forms exciting you right now?
Birds In Row: Tattoos / graphism / design / photography … Some of us are naturally curious. B was a graphic designer before and D had been into clothing design and design in general for a while. Anything artistic can be interesting as long as it talks to you though.
Joshua BTS: What does Birds in Row have in store for the latter part of 2012 as we head into 2013? Or are you banking on any End-Of-The- World prophecies?
Birds In Row: We believe the end of the world will happen when Cliff bars wont exist anymore … So, until then, we’re about to tour more (with Graf Orlock, Converge / Rise & Fall, Touche Amore this summer), Europe and maybe back to the US next year. We have some recording plans but nothing solid we can talk about right now.
Joshua BTS: Thank you kindly for taking a few moments with Blow The Scene readers from around the world, as we look forward to keeping up with your future endeavors. Any final thoughts?
Birds In Row: Thanks for the attention and interest.
Interview by Joshua T. Cohen
More info on Birds in Row:
Birds in Row – song: “Pilori” – forthcoming album You, Me, and The Violence” on Deathwish Inc.
Upcoming Birds in Row Tour Dates
30/06/12 – Lorient, FR – ALL ABOARD FEST @ le Galion -/w Alea Jacta Est
03/07/12 – Lille,FR – @ La Rumeur – /w Graf orlock, Mörse
04/07/12 – Caen, FR – @ El Camino – /w Graf orlock
05/07/12 – Paris, FR – @ La Miroiterie – /w Graf orlock, Coke Bust
06/07/12 – Koln, DE – @ AZ – /w Graf orlock
07/07/12 – Karlsruhe, DE – @ New noise fest – /w Defeater, Graf Orlock, Church of Ra, Downfall of Gaia, Loma Prieta, No turning back etc.
08/07/12 – Berlin, DE – @ K19 – /w Nine eleven, Aussitot Mort
09/07/12 – Prague, CZ – @ Cafe na pul cesty – /w No guts no glory
10/07/12 – Need help !! – @ TBA
11/07/12 – Metz, FR – @ L’Astrophone – /w Siamese queens, Cendre
04/08/12 – Hannover, DE – @ Chez Heinz – /w Converge, Rise and fall, Oathbreaker
05/08/12 – Dendermonde, BE – @ JH Zenith – /w Calvaiire, Fade away, Decades
06/08/12 – Paris, FR – @ Glazart – /w Converge, Rise and Fall, Toxic Holocaust
07/08/12 – Genève, CH – @ L’Usine – /w Converge, Rise and fall, Toxic Holocaust
08/08/12 – Munchen, DE – @ Feierwerk – /w Converge, Rise and fall, Toxic holocaust
09/08/12 – Wien, AU – @ Szene – /w Converge, Darkest hour, Rise and fall
10/08/12 – Plzen, CZ – @ TBA – /w Calvaiire
11/08/12 – Karlsruhe, DE – @ Statmitte – /w Converge, Rise and fall
18/08/12 – Ieper, BE – @ Vort’n’vis
19/08/12 – Berlin, DE – @ Magnet – /w Touche Amore
20/08/12 – Wiesbaden, DE – @ Schlachthof – /w Touche Amore
21/08/12 – Zurich, CH – @ Dynamo – /w Touche Amore
22/08/12 – Stuttgart, DE – @ Juha West – /w Touche Amore
All photos by our Senior Staff Photographer, Dante Torrieri of taken from our Converge, Loma Prieta, Pianos Become The Teeth, Birds in Row Gallery from April 2012 in Philly.