The AU Interview: Birds of Tokyo (Perth) talk Anchor EP, live shows, and musical progression

After releasing their EP, Anchor, a couple of weeks ago, Birds of Tokyo have been busy, busy, busy. Last week the band wrapped up a national tour around the country to promote their new release and it was clear that vocalist, Ian Kenny and guitarist, Adam Spark were still buzzing from the shows, as they revealed to the AU review’s Jana Angeles. “We were playing some of our favourite venues around the country – it was killer.” Kenny states.

Reception-wise, the new material was very much well-received by the crowd and both members said nothing but positive things. Since 2013’s March Fires, both men were proud of what they put forward in Anchor. With a refreshing start to the band, their new material has translated well to the audience in their live shows. Both Kenny and Spark admit that the tracks have brought a positive atmosphere that kept the excitement alive for the audience. “It’s going down really well – surprisingly.” admits the frontman.

Spark explains that the different sound energies coming from tracks such as “Weight of The World”, “Puzzle” and “Touch The Screen” added a good balance to the setlist in their national tour. With their current discography consisting of four studio albums and three EPs, the guitarist continued to explain that compiling their setlist meant that those songs were relevant to them and to of course, keep fans happy.

“It becomes interesting because we gotta pick songs that we sorta enjoy and makes sense to us but then certainly there’s other ones where we feel compelled to add on because people know them. It’s more about building the show that comes from a similar time and era,” He says. “We’re not that kind of band that feels like we should add instruments to new material that we used in previous tracks – it’s not really adhering to the times so much as keeping it to the show, you know.”

People may remember the 2010 hit single, “Plans”, which resonated a very strong alternative rock sound. Since then, their new EP has taken up a very electronic and layered approach – still keeping a sense of consistency in their music. Spark continues on by saying that their foundation in music has always evolved naturally and as growing musicians, they too like to use bands/musicians as influence as well. “There’s still a lot of guitars and drums. We just wanted a way where you’re sort of used to hearing it. We listen to fucking everything and we’ve always been big fans of the soundscapey Sigur Rós and whatever,’ explains the guitarist. “For us, it was a matter of doing stuff that was a bit of a surprise.”

Obviously, when it comes to the maturity progression in a band’s career, there are learning curves that they must face and both members agreed that making decisions was something they struggled with – especially when making the EP. “Something we constantly come against is decision-making. It’s always such an unusual process on writing song genres; sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn’t,” Kenny explains.

Although there were learning curves that were faced during the creation of Anchor, it didn’t take away the fact that the EP was something that represented something meaningful for the band. With Kenny’s genuine insight behind the songs, Birds of Tokyo still made music that was meaningful and honest.

“”Anchor” was sort of the lead song off the EP so that’s why we chose it as the title. The song itself is about the reflection of what it takes to be in this band time-wise and it consumes all of our time – all the time,” continues the frontman. “We don’t get to see the people we love and care about and ‘Anchor’ is just about making sure you check in with the people you love ’cause you need to know what’s happening.”

Indeed touring Australia is not over for the band as in October, they will be playing the much loved Deni Ute Muster Festival at Deniliquin of regional NSW. Spark and Kenny were beyond stoked that they were part of such a great line-up including the likes of Cold Chisel and more. Here, the festival celebrates Australian culture and food with a crowd of over 25,000 people expected to come. Needless to say, they were thankful to be a part of something that changed the scenery for them – even for a little while.”It’s something that we’ll take advantage of. We don’t often get to play these sort of regional areas – a lot our touring is mostly in the main cities. You know, it’s good that we’re throwing ourselves in the deep end.” chuckles Kenny.

With bands such as EvermoreThe Temper Trap and Eskimo Joe releasing such big hits and then disappearing for quite some time, it’s difficult to make new material and keep the loyalty of an audience – especially when it comes to looking at the Australian marketplace of music. For Birds of Tokyo, their drive in making new songs that engages an audience is why their determination to succeed is so strong.

“As long as you feel like you’ve still got something creative and you sort of have this sense of anticipation on what to do next – you just keep going. I think if we felt that something was really not that up to scratch for us – we would probably just disappear from Earth,” explains Spark. “We don’t have the head or the heart to half-ass a track and put it on an album. We turn on the radar on what we think is excellent. I think we’ve set the bar really high.”

Although consistency is important – a band ideally should evolve in their music by bringing in new material that doesn’t sound the same. For frontman, Ian Kenny, he speaks the truth and only the truth for bands that don’t escape their comfort zones; you’ve got to admit – his opinion stands strong. “Sticking to the same thing – record for record – that’s like the death of the band sometimes,” says Kenny. “We’re not in the business for pleasing people – fuck that. It goes either way. The business is writing something that entices you in.”


Catch Birds of Tokyo at this year’s Deni Ute Muster Festival! Details below:

WHEN: Friday, 2 October and Saturday, 3 October, 2015
WHERE: Conargo Road, Deniliquin, NSW
TICKETS: Go here for more info:


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