Morgantown’s It’s Birds will release their new CD My Bloodless Wife Friday at 123 Pleasant Street. We caught up with singer/guitarist Brian Spragg (far right) in time for the show to see what’s up…
WVRS: How satisfying is it to get the new CD out? How much total time went into the recording and just getting it done?
BS: Very satisfying. We tracked most of the drums in early November, then we did all the guitars and bass whenever we could after that on weekends and evenings. By the end of November we had all the basic tracks and were then able to track vocals with David Klug. We had to go up one other time in I think mid January to finish some little overdubs and that was it. It would have been done a little sooner but there were some things like FOX Japan had some shows in December, the mastering engineer’s email account kept sending my emails to his trash folder, and let’s not forget the bullshit snowstorm(s) that happened.
WVRS: You mentioned being burnt out musically, what’s up, just staying busy with other stuff?
BS: I love playing and writing and booking shows but those combined with getting things arranged for some benefit shows coming up, starting another project called Pat Pat, and recording various bands was wearing me out a little, but I think after April or so, I should be a lot better and not so stressed out.
WVRS: This is It’s Birds sophomore release, what if anything’s changed since 2007’s Horses Love Me Yes I Am? You’ve got a new drummer obviously, still recording in your bedroom?
BS: Yeah, the drummer we have is Jason Birch. He’s also from Wheeling like Andrew [Slater] and George [Zatezalo]. We tracked drums for 7 of 8 songs in a warehouse in Morgantown, then did all the main guitars and bass in my bedroom again. At the end of November, we went up to Pittsburgh to track vocals with David Klug. I feel like Bloodless Wife is just so much more interesting and challenging, and I’ll throw in the cliché, more mature. Obviously not that mature because we have songs about AIDS, Twix bars, and stalking.
WVRS: How do you and Slater split up and/or share singing and songwriting duties, smoothly or painfully?
BS: I think smoothly, I’ve never thought of a time when it was a problem. Usually we sing what we write and depending on what’s being played. If it’s easier for one of us to sing and play a specific part, that’s when we’ll make exceptions.
WVRS: You had Dave Klug in Pittsburgh do mixing; satisfied with the results?
BS: Extremely satisfied. David knows so much about recording and mixing. I plan on working with him a lot in the future not just with projects of my own, but for bands that I’ve started recording to hopefully go through him for mixing.
WVRS: You mention the track listing not being really set in stone when you shipped the tracks to Klug, how much thought went into just arranging the songs on the CD?
BS: It’s similar to our live show actually. It wasn’t real hard to figure out a way they seemed to fit the best together, but through a few emails with the other members it was settled on quickly.
WVRS: You’ve helped a few cool bands record; how neat is it to help other bands get their music out, and how does your experience being in a band help?
BS: It’s really cool. Most of them are my friends and I may have seen them perform live and know what they’re going for and try my best to recreate that. FOX Japan is a lot of hard work, but it’s usually fun. They like to try to get cool/new guitar sounds. I’ve recorded one and a half of their records so far. Also, I’ve been tracking for The Resonators full length, which I imagine they’d release sometime this Fall.
WVRS: Is there an actual bloodless wife? Or is that more of a metaphorical thing? Any other ideas for alternate titles that didn’t make it? Where is the cover art from?
BS: I was with my family at Christmas, and my sister had a few blankets on her and asked for another because she was still cold, then my brother-in-law said “My bloodless wife, everyone.” I think it’s a title that doesn’t sound too absurd or too serious. We kicked around a few different ideas like It’s Birds is Stalking You, Spaghetti Stay Water Go, and Bare Hug.
The cover art actually is from a mural in one my favorite restaurants in Morgantown called Rio Grande. We just went in late one night and asked if we can take pictures, but they never told us who the artist was. Whoever they are, I hope they don’t find out and I hope they don’t get mad at us. WHOOPS.
WVRS: Who is Warren Forrest, and why do you have a song about him on the new CD?
BS: Andrew’s father dreamt a musical, and in it, the main song and the name of the musical itself was “I’m in Love with Warren Forest.” We’re not aware of someone in real life with that name, but I think Andrew’s father read an article or saw on a TV documentary about the MC5, and they lived in an area or district or something called Warren Forest.
WVRS: Is the CD out on any particular label? Self-released? How important do you think a label is to a band these days?
BS: We’re just releasing it ourselves. It’d be great to be on a label especially to get better distribution and maybe help in the cost of pressing/mastering but we’re doing fine.
WVRS: You’re playing this Morgantown Salutes the Clinton Years show 3.20, what songs/bands will you be playing, and how neat is it to play for such a good cause?
BS: Yeah, I’m excited for it. It’s fun to cover songs every once in a while. I’m playing with members of It’s Birds and members of Russian Tombstones and a few other friends as one band, and I’m also playing in Pat Pat that night. Some of the songs we’re doing include Foo Fighter’s “Everlong,” Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.” This night should be a lot of fun. Or really stressful, who knows.
WVRS: The release show, how cool is it to be playing with FOX Japan, and what can you say about Christmas Lights?
BS: It’s always great to play with FOX Japan, and I’m going to get to hear some new songs. Christmas Lights come from Frostburg, and I really like their live show. It’ll be fun playing with them and seeing them again, last time was in December.
WVRS: Do you guys have any additional shows or plans for promoting the release? Big plans or just let it ride?
BS: Right now, no, but we want to. We’re going to see what happens after the release. Also I hope Furnace MFG doesn’t screw me over. Ever since this one guy left a year ago, their customer service has been total shit. Here’s hoping it all works out.