Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview: Leaf Bird

By Rachel Angres

photo: Jacob Hand
Chicago's own Leaf Bird are set to release their new full-length album Diamonds From the Cherry Mine Vol. 1 on June 22nd via Chicago-based cassette label, Plus Tapes. The band will celebrate the release on the same day at Reversible Eye along with fellow Chicago acts  Heavy Times, Bone & Bell and My Dad. They will also be appearing in Brooklyn on June 17th at Zebulon, alongside up and coming Philadelphia-based Power Animal and New Jersey-based Slow Animal. We caught up with Larry and Tyler of the band to ask a few questions.

WCR: Names, instruments you play and an interesting fact about another member of the band?

Tyler Beach: Guitar, vocals and keys.

Larry Robertson: Guitar, vocals.

LR: Tyler has a very strange super power. He's immune to the chemical Capsaicin.

TB: It's really weird, but I don't feel any burning sensation when I eat spicy food. No matter how spicy it is. I just don't have any sensitivity. I even put JalapeƱo juice on my eyeball one time and nothing happened. Pepper spray doesn't work on me either.

Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

TB: We used to play a bunch of crazy house shows with our old band, Fingers & Toes. I remember playing as part of a burlesque--like, circus freak show--back, in like 2006. There was a lot of crazy nudity going on. We wound up playing at like 6 a.m., when the sun was coming up. I remember one time our old band, Fingers & Toes--who was a six piece at the time--took pot brownies just before going on. Back then we used to do completely improvised performances. We played for like 3 hours straight.

Some influences?

LR: When we were making Diamonds, we were listening to The Microphones, The Raincoats, Black Flag and My Bloody Valentine among others. There's a timeless quality to some of those songs, but what is really awesome is to hear them recorded and produced in such unique ways.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?

TB: I saw Prince several years ago. The whole band was incredible, but he is a truly amazing performer. I hope one day I have 5% of the sex appeal that Prince has.

What are a few items essential to your “tour survival kit”?

LR: A pocket pussy and plenty of lube/icy hot.

TB: (laughing) going to Canada seems to be our best tour survival strategy. People are super friendly up there and willing to check out new music. Also a lot of incredible bands come out of Canada. Oh yeah, and my Tempurpedic pillow.

Recording your album DIY style, is that what the band collectively prefers? Why or why not?

TB: We do all of our recording and mixing at home. It can be frustrating at times but that's nothing compared to having the freedom to tinker with sounds for as long as you want. There's definitely a learning curve but we've been doing this now for several years and I feel like we're getting pretty good at it.

What is your favorite kind of mustache?

TB: I would have to say the Chop 'stache. Because our band mate Stefan rocks a pretty mean one.

Who would be your featured soundtrack artist on your biopic?

LR: I'd have to say The Beta Band. But I would have the opening theme be the theme song from "Taxi."

What’s more important, music or plumbing?

TB: Definitely music. I could live without plumbing if it came down to it.

What can we expect from the band in the future?

TB: We're releasing Diamonds From The Cherry Mine, Vol. 1 this summer on Plus Tapes. We're heading to New York in June to shoot a music video.

LR: We're also working on another album and we're hoping to get a label for that and do some touring this Fall. 

Check out the track "True Lies" off Diamonds below:

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