Friday, March 28, 2008

Mini-Interview: Dirt Bird

You never know what you're going to get when you go out to see live music on the east side of LA. On any given night, you might end up catching western-tinged psyche rock or pleasantly melancholy indie rock or freak folk or upbeat danceable electronic pop or ... "two girls singing very tight harmonies"?

That's how co-lead/pianist Claire Mc Keown undersells Dirt Bird, the haunting yet pleasant (or pleasant yet haunting) band she shares with singer/drummer Athena LeGrand.

We checked in with Claire to hear more about the act, as well as ask a few questions about the other local band she's a part of, indie pop all-stars The Afternoons.

dirtbird (4:28:11 PM): You there, mister?
RFSL (4:30:08 PM): Hey! Really sorry to run late.
dirtbird (4:30:35 PM): Dont even worry about it.
RFSL (4:30:36 PM): I brought my dog to work today and security kicked me out when I tried bringing him back in from a pee break.
RFSL (4:30:53 PM): Cue Charlie Brown singing No Dogs Allowed...
dirtbird (4:31:04 PM): Funny. What do they have against dogs?
RFSL (4:31:28 PM): They said if he got loose and bit someone, they would be accountable.
RFSL (4:31:59 PM): So how are you doing today?
dirtbird (4:32:25 PM): I'm great. You?
RFSL (4:32:39 PM): I'm doing pretty well.
dirtbird (4:33:01 PM): Good to hear.
RFSL (4:33:16 PM): So, you're in two bands in town.
dirtbird (4:33:28 PM): Yesim.
RFSL (4:33:35 PM): And both have albums coming out soon?
dirtbird (4:33:49 PM): Well. One does.
dirtbird (4:34:04 PM): Dirt Bird is going to take a little more time than expected.
RFSL (4:35:04 PM): How did the band start up?
dirtbird (4:35:20 PM): It grew out of The Afternoons.
RFSL (4:35:20 PM): And how would you describe it to the uninitiated?
dirtbird (4:36:07 PM): Hmmm. Dirt Bird? I don't even quite understand it.
dirtbird (4:36:23 PM): Two girls singing very tight harmonies?
RFSL (4:36:53 PM): (I am terrible at describing bands.)
dirtbird (4:37:05 PM): Me, too.
RFSL (4:37:23 PM): How did it grow out of The Afternoons?
dirtbird (4:38:20 PM): Athena and I started singing together and realized we sounded nice. I had a bunch of songs I had written years before, and it just worked.
dirtbird (4:38:39 PM): That was a terrible explanation.
RFSL (4:39:05 PM): And you're a trained opera singer, correct?
dirtbird (4:39:14 PM): Yes.
dirtbird (4:39:33 PM): I have been studying for over fourteen years
RFSL (4:40:57 PM): Wow. And you'd written these songs before but not recorded them or anything?
dirtbird (4:42:17 PM): I just started writing songs about three years ago and really had no plans for them until I met Athena.
RFSL (4:43:05 PM): And what's Athena's background?
dirtbird (4:45:17 PM): She was in Lily and the Ladies, December Stars. But where we connect the most is we both were in choirs as kids.
RFSL (4:45:35 PM): Ahh.
RFSL (4:46:47 PM): Is the song Buckminster Fuller an ode to Buckminster Fuller?
dirtbird (4:47:03 PM): Yes. He is a hero of mine!
dirtbird (4:47:58 PM): The lyrics are based on things he said.
dirtbird (4:48:04 PM): RFSL (4:48:15 PM): Really? What's a line?
dirtbird (4:48:49 PM): “How will we survive on spaceship earth.”
dirtbird (4:50:18 PM): He coined the term spaceship earth. And lived his life by the notion of, what can one man do to improve the earth?
RFSL (4:50:58 PM): And Alice and Jabberwocky come from the poems? What about Cliftons?
dirtbird (4:53:17 PM): Alice and Jabberwocky poems are written by Lewis Carrol, which I have loved since I was a child. And I found the lyrics to Cliftons on the wall at the cafeteria in downtown with the same name. Can you tell I don't like writing my own lyrics?
RFSL (4:55:46 PM): So found art and poetry... Where does the name Dirt Bird come from?
dirtbird (4:56:01 PM): Funny.
dirtbird (4:56:13 PM): My mom calls me her little dirt bird.
dirtbird (4:56:47 PM): It’s from when I was 16 and a little smelly punk rocker
RFSL (4:57:07 PM): Ha, ha.
RFSL (4:57:09 PM): That's great.
RFSL (5:00:08 PM): So, what's next for the band?
dirtbird (5:01:45 PM): I want to get the album finished. We are about half way through but... Okay, maybe Athena got knocked up and is busy getting life-situated.
dirtbird (5:02:11 PM): I won’t hold it against her. At least I have the other band to keep me busy.
RFSL (5:02:47 PM): Are you two performing any time soon or not until after the baby?
dirtbird (5:03:25 PM): We don't want to do anything until the album is done.
dirtbird (5:04:04 PM): Hopefully that will be before the baby is here.
RFSL (5:04:37 PM): Right on.
dirtbird (5:05:39 PM): She is due in July. I'm so happy for her and Tom. She is going to be the best mom ever.
RFSL (5:07:41 PM): Excellent. I'm trying not to find a silly way of writing this, but it's great when good people have kids. The folks in The Monolators are enormously cool parents.
dirtbird (5:08:12 PM): So true
RFSL (5:08:54 PM): People were just picking up instruments and playing at their BBQ on Sunday and he asked me, "Why are they playing that song again?" I said, "Maybe they really like it. Or maybe they're practicing."
RFSL (5:09:01 PM): He said, "I think they're practicing..."
RFSL (5:09:07 PM): He's five?
dirtbird (5:09:36 PM): Some kids are the best.
RFSL (5:09:49 PM): Yeah, it's like you hang on their words.
RFSL (5:09:55 PM): So, how did you start playing with The Afternoons?
dirtbird (5:14:10 PM): I had started a choir about two years ago called Le Choir. Brian Canning heard about it and asked me if I could write some arrangements for the choir to singing on some of his songs. I did, and over the last year the choir turned into just me. There used to be six of us!
dirtbird (5:14:28 PM): It just mutated that way naturally.
RFSL (5:15:09 PM): I heard you guys on the radio the other day.
dirtbird (5:15:22 PM): Cool
dirtbird (5:16:13 PM): Indie 103?
RFSL (5:16:55 PM): Yep. It was funny because I'm not used to hearing music I like on the radio and when I started up my car I had a moment of, "Hey, I thought I left this cd at home..."
RFSL (5:17:03 PM): Any word on when that album is coming out?
dirtbird (5:18:06 PM): I have no clue! Hopefully soon.
dirtbird (5:18:18 PM): We still have some work to do.
RFSL (5:18:41 PM): I'm looking forward to the residency at Spaceland in June.
dirtbird (5:19:00 PM): Me, too!
dirtbird (5:19:50 PM): Good times!
RFSL (5:20:13 PM): Cool. One last question for you... You hear a lot of live music. Who are you liking the most these days?
dirtbird (5:25:08 PM): The Movies.
RFSL (5:25:47 PM): Yeah, they're kind of amazing. Can't wait for that new cd.
dirtbird (5:26:07 PM): I hear yah. best band in town.
RFSL (5:26:20 PM): Well, that's all I've got for you. Thanks so much for your time!
dirtbird (5:27:17 PM): Thank you!

- Dirt Bird’s Buckminster Fuller MP3


Blogger amnion said...

Nikki and Aaron spotted Athena at the Echo Curio on Friday night. She's the launchpad for SpaceshipBirth!

5:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home