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Blackbird Blackbird Interview

July 17, 2010

Blackbird Blackbird is a psychedelic-pop outfit from San Francisco, CA.  Mikey S, the sole songwriter and bedroom producer behind the project, is known (according to Pitchfork) for writing “short but also pretty sweet” pop songs with killer hooks.”

We can call Blackbird Blackbird Dream Pop or Chill Wave, but  I think we’re all over assigning titles and categories. Either way, it seems like Mikey’s music isn’t trying to fit any mold. He’s collaborated with some like minded artists and come up with some fantastic tracks. His remixes are transformational and he’s one of those artists that constantly comes up with quality stuff.

Here’s a little Blackbird Blackbird/ Nightdrive conversation to get you guys up to date with the band:

ND: What’s Blackbird Blackbird up to lately?

BB: Lately I’ve been working on a new EP which is to be released in Europe through R&S records (Aphex Twin, Joey Beltram, Jaydee). On July 2, I digitally self-released Summer Heart on bandcamp and itunes. The physical copy (12″ vinyl) is to be released on Arcade Sound Ltd., a label home to artists Memoryhouse, Millionyoung, and Teen Daze, sometime in September/October.

ND: How did you land that Concretes remix?

BB: Good question! Actually Lisa Milberg (founding member) of The Concretes sent me a direct message on twitter asking me to remix one their songs. I was extremely excited and I chose Good Evening to remix. She promptly sent me the stems and I sat down for a good while and recreated the song to sound completely different from the original. She posted my remix on her blog & twitter saying that it was the best remix her band has ever had. I was really happy, considering how long they have been around and how much respect they have as one of the forerunners of Swedish indie pop. Lisa is actually a really awesome person and (as requested by her) I would love to play a show with them in the future.

ND: What does your home studio consist of? (for our gear head readers)

BB: My home studio consists of a very simple set-up: Ableton Suite 8, Logic Pro 9, AKAI MPD 24 midi-controller, and Axiom 49 M-Audio midi keyboard.

ND: When did things (musically) really start picking up for you? Was it after a particular show? After a big blog got a hold of your stuff? Can we thank your manager?

BB: Musically things started picking up the moment I released my first EP “Happy High” for free on bandcamp. It was a great way to get the music spread to bloggers. When Don’t Die Wondering posted me, soon-after Transparent and Pitchfork got the word about my music. The blogs who supported me constantly are No Modest Bear, The Road Goes Ever On, and Smoke Don’t Smoke. Without these bloggers consistently posting new material, I would have much more trouble reaching larger audiences.

ND: Have you considering picking up an accompanying band for live shows or do you just want to keep it solo for now? Why?

BB: I want to do both. Right now it’s going to be a solo act live, but In the future I want to get a full band together and write some new material. I was thinking about recording a new EP written for a full band (but with me playing every instrument on the recording–similar to what Wild Nothing does).

ND: What is your favorite chill wave artist right now? Have you worked with them in the past? Would you like to in the future? Whare do you think this genre is going?

BB: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the genre, but all in all its enabled young musicians to get recognition regardless of whether they are generically “chillwave” or not. My favorites of the genre would have to be Teen Daze and Millionyoung–I would love to play some shows with Millionyoung, Memoryhouse and Teen Daze sometime, they are all making some prolific and inspiring music lately. A lot of folks have considered chillwave dead since it first started, but artists and bloggers continue to keep it alive and solidify some of it’s defining traits by relating it to other well-established genres such as shoegaze, indie-pop, and electronica music.

Stuff:

Blackbird Blackbird – Happy High EP

Blackbird Blackbird – Let’s Move On Together EP

The Concretes – Good Evening (Blackbird Blackbird Remix)

Blackbird Blackbird & Neon Canyon – We Have To Know

Summer Heart LP

Click for Bonus

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