Bird Feeling 'Big And Spacious' On New Album
Andrew Bird is in the midst of recording his next full-length album, due early next year.Andrew Bird is in the midst of recording his next full-length album, due early next year. The as-yet untitled album has been recorded "all over the place," from Bird's barn in rural Illinois to Electrical Audio in Chicago to studios in Minneapolis. Working closely with producer Ben Durrant, Bird says the forthcoming set will be "slightly more eccentric and rough around the edges."
"I'm writing stuff that's big and spacious, with long, stretched out phrases, a sense of large, open air. But it's also really concise. I'm trying to keep it to 10 songs, but short is pretty hard to pull off when you're trying to create space," Bird tells Billboard.com. "I did a recording session in the barn where I opened all the windows and miked everything, just recording three hours of ambient noise. Now I just have to find a way to work it in."
Bird has written several songs that revolve around science, politics and fatalism, though with "subtlety." Its centerpiece, he says, is what he tentatively titles "The Armchair Apocalypse," which describes a societal overthrow from the comfort of one's living room.
"My angrier songs tend to be more peaceful sounding. It's a twist I do to make every song believable," the Chicago-based songwriter says. Many of the new songs have been featured at Bird's live performances, including "Dark Matter," "Plasticities" and "Sycophants."
Bird has enjoyed "pooling" a number of Minneapolis and Midwest-based musicians for the effort, including singer Haley Bonar and Chris Morrissey, who backed him on his "The Mysterious Production of Eggs" tour, and drummer Martin Dosh. He selected Durrant based on recommendations from his friends and has been at work mixing the effort out of the producer's basement.
"After releasing all the records I have, the expectation was that I would step it up and get a big-name producer and buy a bunch of elaborate, expensive gear at some big studio," Bird says, "But I'm reactive of that. What we have now is even more humble and unceremonious. In the studio, I spend a lot of time with just myself so the engineer is my only audience. My confidence can spiral because having no audience means I have no one to impress except the engineer. But Ben is engaged, he's a slice-and-dice guy and helps putting the songs together really fast."
It is unclear when the disc will be released or if it will come out via Righteous Babe, which issued Bird's 2005 effort "The Mysterious Production of Eggs."
Bird plans on previewing more material during his stints at music festivals this summer, including Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.