This week, we caught up with Conor Richards, lead guitarist from all-out pop group, Birthday Card to discuss where their band name came from, their most memorable gig so far and of course the release of their latest single, ‘Radio Star’ which was released at the start of the Month! Have a read below now…
How are you guys keeping busy during the lockdown? As a band we’ve been demoing a lot individually and passing our own parts back and forth to each other over the internet. It’s actually been a really fun twist on our usual songwriting process and has allowed us to dive into demoing – and only demoing – for the first time in a long while.
How did the band form and where did the name came from? Josh, Leslie and I were previously in another band, completely different in sound. When that project finished we felt it was time for a fresh start. We brought in Tom and George, friends from school, which is how we all know each other really. The band name comes from a lyric in a Sufjan Stevens song. We really liked the aesthetic it had just from the name, and how it doesn’t really sound like a band name at all.
Are there any particular musicians and bands you listened to growing up that have influenced the music behind Birthday Card? We all listen to so much music, and as there’s five of us I think influences tend to fall into our music quite subliminally, most of the time. For me I would actually say that the influences I’ve developed later in life have shaped what I bring to the band as a guitarist more than stuff I listened to growing up. Recently we’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from the likes of Charli XCX, Haim and Caroline Polachek. All of these artists feel quite akin to the direction of our sound at the moment.
Your latest release, Radio Star has just been released – what was the creative process behind it? This was a really fun one to write. George had this loop that we thought had something in it, and we basically decided it was going to be a single before we actually fully wrote it. Making that decision at the beginning shaped the writing – once you have that in mind, it changes the process. We thought there was almost an old FIFA soundtrack vibe to this track, which was quite a fun thing to pursue. We kept building it together in practise before eventually taking it into the studio with our friend Marcus Yates.
Is there a particular place you go to write your music? We have a rehearsal room we go to each week, which is where we take demos we’ve written individually and flesh them out together as a band. We also sometimes head into our drummer Leslie’s shed, which is where we used to write when the band was starting out.
Your single, ‘Shy Away’ was produced by Mike Spencer who has also worked with the likes to Tom Walker and Kyle Minogue – what was it like working alongside him on the track? Working with Mike was a great experience. That was the first time we have taken any of our material to a producer with credits like that. A lot of his suggestions were actually the simplest things in principal, but they just helped to make the songs come to life that bit more.
What’s been the most memorable gig you have played and why? Our London headline at Notting Hill Arts Club – just over a year ago – was really special. The room was packed out and the crowd didn’t stop moving for the whole set.
What advice would you give to artists / bands that are just starting out in the industry? Take your time at the start. Before you become a band or artist to the rest of the world, only you know about it. That’s not to say you have to keep your music secret, the beginning is your time to try out lots of stuff and find out what works for you and what doesn’t. We took a lot of time just to get music out of our system in the beginning and I think that has laid the groundwork for us to get closer to what we want to make now.
You guys are playing your biggest London show to date in September what can fans expect who have bought tickets? Non-stop pop.
What are your future plans for the band when the lockdown is lifted? Lots more releases are coming, and once lockdown is lifted we want to get back out on the road again. Who knew I would miss carrying an amp?
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