We’ve known Adam Bird for years now. First as lead singer of Those Mockingbirds, then as a solo artist finding his way with a newer more inspired sound. You definitely knew what you were getting with the Mockingbirds and their straight forward rock. With the help of bandmate Nick Ivory, Adam is producing his new solo work under the name aBIRD. The debut record is called Hard Times in Two Dimensions. It’s practically unrecognizable… and wonderful.
Previous guitar-bass-drum sounds have morphed into a gaggle of synths and spare guitar. Bird and Ivory’s live show rivals Kraftwerk’s setup. Adam is exploring the depths of his psyche and giving us emotional and raw lyrics that might have been present in his earlier work but it’s a deeper wound this time and closer to the heart.
We sat down for breakfast with Adam this weekend to ask him a question semi-related to each song on the new record out now on Spotify. You can hear it at his record release show at The Pet Shop this Thursday night with Ruby Bones (also celebrating a new EP of their own) and Pioneer the Eel.
1. Fuck You (and you and you)
Q. Is there a “Fuck You” moment in your life that you regret?
A. There’s a lot. I really relish the fuck you moment. I have my whole life. Sometimes it’s a positive and sometimes it’s a negative. I have such an aversion to authority, to an embarrassing degree. I can feel my fists clench when someone tells me what to do, if they don’t have the right. So, I have had my fair share of fuck you moments where I should have just shut up.
Nothing recent, because I can’t think of a time where I’ve boiled over to actually say that deal-breaking moment unless I meant it. When I was a teenager, I used to use it more for dramatic effect. I think anyone who I’ve said fuck you to, figuratively or literally, in the last ten years… they deserved it.
I told my art teacher fuck you in high school. I get hung up on wanting to feel justified on what they do and decisions they make. Some people can justify shitty abusive behavior. I don’t know if anything’s been ruined to the point that I give a shit. But, maybe I don’t give a shit because I told myself I was justified. Maybe the other person doesn’t think I was.
The song is my way of expressing my “fuck you” to some people who I either couldn’t say it to anymore or people who would cause me a headache if I said it to them. Directed to people for selfish reasons. I couldn’t say it to their faces. It’s the opposite of saying “you know who you are.” They probably don’t know it’s about them, but they’re out there. And, they know me.
2. Cool Island Song
Q: You and Nick are stuck on a deserted island. Who survives?
A. Nick. I think a lot of people think they’d be fine because they’re the main character of their stories. When it comes down to it, I think we’re so coddled. We just ordered food that we didn’t hunt, gather or prepare. That alone is so far removed from what would happen in Armageddon. I think about that a lot because of being vegetarian. I’m a vegetarian because I believe in eating meat if you are responsible for getting it. Factory farming is just… ugh, I just can’t fucking do it. So, I think about that after the collapse of society, not even the end of the world. Are people really going to kill animals to eat? Nick would more than me. Nick would absolutely be better at that. I mean, Nick lived in Boston. Nick is willing to kill.
3. The Creatures We Ignore
Q. What are you ignoring that’s important right now?
A. To some degree, myself. That’s what I’m talking about in the song. I have the line, “We are the creatures we ignore.” From the time we leave the house in the morning to coming back at night we are such a different person transformed by the world around us. A lot of it is shit we don’t want to deal with. Not out of laziness, just having to interrupt whatever you’re doing in your head that could be improving you, just thinking about what face you have to show somebody or you get a news alert. We’re ignoring ourselves while we’re doing that. It sounds selfish, it’s about self-care. Protecting your own psyche. It goes back to not caring about what anybody thinks. What’s the balance of not caring what anybody thinks and functioning in society. How little can you get by and still function? That’s the golden land, finding that line.
That, and, the dentist.
4. The Lights
Q. Have you ever been afraid of the dark? What are you afraid of?
A. I’ve definitely been afraid of the dark. Being in the dark in the middle of the woods is terrifying. I’ve been afraid of the dark a lot. I used to be afraid of being abducted by aliens in my bed as a kid. Even as an adult, I’ve gotten freaked out by turning off all the lights at the end of the night and going to my room.
What am I scared of now? Finding out that everyone has reached a consensus on me and I don’t know what it is. Sense a theme here? What this record’s about? If someone I knew didn’t like a Facebook post about me, I’ll feel like… are they somehow upset with me? That’s fucking insanity. It creeps me out. But, that’s what I want to not care about.
I think I’m getting better about that because of effort like this. I’m not naturally getting better. Quitting drinking definitely helped. You don’t have that next morning of waking up and going “fuck, do I have to apologize to anybody?”
5. The Sun and The Moon
Q. Day person or night person? Has quitting drinking changed that?
A. I have always been and still am a night person. I prefer the time of day when there are the least people out. There’s something about the daytime with everyone awake that feels like effort’s going to be required of me that I don’t want to put out. Whereas at night there’s way less of that. As people start to go to sleep, there’s just not the inputs. I imagine a computer during the say is typing at full speed where at night it’s more hunt and peck typing. I much prefer that. Input can be anything… television, conversation, any distractions. Being sober hasn’t changed that at all. I can’t stand people just as much now as before.
6. If I Had a Gun
Q. Finger guns or water guns?
A. Probably water guns. I have had the pleasure of filling super-soakers with many different liquids that it should not have been filled with, including piss. My friends and I had a battle with them. You can’t do that with finger guns.
My mom said she can never listen to this song again. She did it once and said never again.
Q. What is your mind polluted with?
A. That’s the theme of this whole conversation. It’s polluted with doubt, insecurity, pornography, and addiction to nicotine. But, making this record and the exercises of talking about the songs is me shining a light on all these things. So, at the very least, they aren’t hiding in the dark anymore.
I’ve identified where I’m most fucked up.
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