Doombird - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the chance to interview Kris from Doombird. Check out the full interview below!

First off, thanks for the interview.

Kris: Thanks for interviewing me it’s really nice of you!

Your new album 'Past Lives' just came out. Can you tell me a little about the writing and recording process of this album? How long did it take you to write and record it?

The album took little over 4 months to write. Essentially, Joe and I would compose a theme we had in mind about how we would structure the music. We then started writing songs, some vastly different from others. Once we wrote Fog Rolls In we realized this was the context we were going for. We went up to Stinson Beach, Ca to record the music with some very close friends Aram Deradoorian, Arelene Deradoorian, Mike Sparks, Dusty Brown and Bob Cheek who engineered and co produced the record. We played all the tracks live and then added some more variations to the songs i.e (synths, vocals). This took about 12 days.The recording process was really really smooth and everybody had a wonderful time up in Stinson, it will be probably one of my greatest experiences even though 98% of time I suffered from anxiety.

You talk about this album being really personal and detailing experiences with anxiety. When did you decide to make the album so personal and what was it like to put so much of your personal experiences into these songs? Did it make the writing easier or harder?

Anxiety is very tricky to explain. People who don’t suffer with it get lost in translations over it, meaning, they just thing it’s some form of stress, which it is, but can effect your mind and body. I wanted to express this emotion so I could have some form of healing. Some songs were more difficult to write then others only because you are looking for that lyrical metaphor that really captures how you feel and try not to make something that effects everyday people become some sort of cannon fodder for a melody structure. In Fog Rolls In I enter with the phrase: “I’m turning blank pages on a blurry white line. As the arms go numb and the mouth goes dry.” Basically, in this context I’m looking through a story and trying to keep in on track but I can hardly see it and it becomes disoriented and I begin to panic. Anyways, it wasn’t really easier or harder to do it, it just really depends on my mood.

The album has all these really bright atmospheric moments kind of underlined with dark sensibilities at times. I love how moody the music sounds and the album feels like a complete piece of art. When you worked on this album did you take it more one song at a time or did you write it with an overarching flow in mind?

For sure! Joe and I really always try to have a theme within the record. Like I said when we were writing the songs we had written maybe 30 and TONS didn’t make the cut, we actually didn’t have enough songs to enter the studio and at least three of them we wrote in the studio (got lucky). But we knew once we wrote Fog Rolls In we had to carry that dark ambient theme throughout the record. I really have never been so proud of anything, when we were finished with the album I knew in my heart that I had finally accomplished writing a record that was me and my own personal art. I was really happy with it.

One song I really like from the new album is "Overflowing". In a way, vocally and at times musically, it reminds me of Joy Division and New Order. Can you tell me a little about writing this song specifically?

So, like I said we recorded all these songs live so we would do about twenty takes until we were like I think we got it and then we would add some love to it like overdubs and vocal takes, but when we were recording this song just felt so comfortable like we’ve been playing it for years it was really amazing. Plus we were recording in this beautiful house looking out to the ocean and Muir Woods the vibe was there, friendship was there. As for the vocals, I wanted to have this angelic vocal over these dark tones because it really work in contrast in the songs and then you have Arelene’s voice really haunting in the back. Was pretty excited about the whole vibe. I can feel that Joy Division vibe kind of like that haunting song Atmosphere, the vibe is so strong on that song.

The last time I interviewed you was way back in 2010 and you were just releasing your first album, kind of coming off everyone knowing you from An Angle, and kind of establishing Doombird. Now that you've been writing with this project for quite a few years, I feel like Past Lives could be the best album you've ever written. How does it feel to still be able to write music of this quality this far into your career? How do you keep the ideas fresh and exciting?

Holy sh-t! I don’t even remember =P. Well I love music! I love expanding new ideas and creating new forms of music, there are so many un tapped sounds you can get your hands on and I just want to create as much music as possible. The ideas fresh and exciting part is I’m really starting to listen to other friends ideas and there inspirations and how they would view this song, it makes for a new exciting time in my musical career. With An Angle I would just take the wheel, but in this project it’s nice to just sit back and no your role as a songwriter and to value the amazing musicians you have surrounding you. The record was not my own doing it took a collection of people who have put there ideas within the songs. Probably of should of done that awhile ago!

We talked about this back in the 2010 interview about An Angle and kind of the uphill battle you had it with it and you talked about it being a bit of a nightmare due to it in part being compared to Bright Eyes a lot. It seems like the Drive-Thru era has become even more storied and historical even since then. Has your opinion on that project changed at all the more time you spend away from it creating songs with Doombird? Is it cool to be a part of that Drive-Thru era?

Drive-Thru gave me the chance to explore music and to make a living off it and it was an amazing journey. The Bright-Eyes comparison was a nightmare (JEEZ), you know, I don’t know if that would happen today in music? What do you think? But, I sure got a whole lot of sh-t for it. So many great artists have been apart of Drive-Thru and have went on to make successful music and i’m so happy to be apart of that collection of people. I will say some song I look back and i’m like “oh, this is pretty cool” and some songs I’m like “F----CKKKKKK, what was I thinking?” Ha ha ha. But, that’s natural I think.

I guess that wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Listen to John Luther Adam’s piece Become Ocean, it will blow you away.

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