Aylesbury-based quintet Birthday Card dropped their new single ‘Radio Star’ earlier this month.
The single builds upon the momentum of the band’s 2019 debut single and was recorded and produced by Marcus Yates at Milk Man Studios just one day before the UK went into full lockdown.
In conversation with Riot, George Harrison of the band, discusses the inspiration behind ‘Radio Star’, the “mounting urgency” in the writing/recording process and what he thinks is Birthday Card’s most unique and intriguing quality.
What is the inspiration/message behind ‘Radio Star’?
In terms of its message, Radio Star is an all-out pop song. You can definitely hear that in the lyrics, It’s not necessarily about any one thing. I feel like the lyrics kind of serve to paint a particular vibe, rather than to convey a particular message. I suppose it’s slightly similar to our first single Shy Away. In that it’s reminiscent of a Daft Punk/The Supermen Lovers type thing, but in a bit more of a British and modern context.
The track was written and recorded in a few weeks, what was the process like from start to finish? Did it seemed rushed/forced or was it just the creative juices flowing on overtime?
Once we started writing it there was just this mounting sense of urgency, just from watching what was going on in the news and in other countries. I think most of it was subconscious though. We weren’t saying to ourselves it had to be done in a few weeks before lockdown because realistically we had no idea this was just around the corner. We were still going about our daily lives for most of the writing, just with this weird feeling in the back of your head the world was about to end which seemed to kick the creative juices into overdrive. I think also when all of our gigs started getting cancelled one by one, naturally writing became our only focus.
How would you describe your sound? How do you hope to see it evolve?
With there being 5 of us all heavily involved in the writing, we end up touching on a lot of different influences. You’d think that would dilute it and prevent us from having a consistent sound. But I think in a weird way that is our sound. Although the influences are pretty varied, once it’s filtered through each of us laying down our parts and bringing a bit of ourselves into it the total sum of that ends up feeling very much like the same band. Most of the songs we have in our live set reference a lot of different genres that our first releases haven’t touched on yet. So I think once we put them out that will probably come across as some sort of evolution, and only give us more license to push that further.
What message would you like your music in general to convey to your listeners?
I wouldn’t say there’s any one message we try to push on anyone with our music, mostly it’s just us getting stuff off our chest really, so if it encourages people to do that themselves, or if people relate to how we feel then that’s great.
What are your expectations for your debut London show [currently planned for September]?
Musically I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular; we’ve been working away at all of our existing unreleased material to a point we’re just so happy with now, and there’s loads of new material we’re really excited by that no one’s heard yet. Outside of that I’ve no idea what to expect, it’s hard to know what live music is going to even look like in 4 months to be honest.
In your own words, what is Birthday Card’s most intriguing or unique quality?
For me, I love that we manage to touch on so many different genres and sounds, without losing the qualities that make our songs sound distinctly like us. That’s something I can’t wait to show everyone more of as we get more releases under our belt.
What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far? What’s next?
I think in terms of experiences we’ve had or milestones we’ve hit, playing to a packed crowd at The Great Escape always stands out for me. But then again the most memorable on a more personal level would have to be Matty Healy from The 1975 getting hold of one of our demos last year, and Jamie Oborne from Dirty Hit tweeting about us. That was just cool from a personal perspective of being a huge fan of them, rather than it feeling like a particular moment in our career as a band.
Our next move is getting a bunch more singles and EPs under our belt, just showing everyone a bit more of what we’re about, and hopefully be putting the foundations in place to build towards maybe an album and a headline tour.
Finally, what song on your personal playlist have you had on repeat recently and why?
I’ve been listening to Open Eye Signal by Jon Hopkins a lot again recently. It’s one of those tunes I revisit every couple of years, it’s probably one of my favourite pieces of music ever really. I can’t speak to why I’ve been listening to it any more now than usual. Despite feeling quite ethereal and dance-y I do feel it has some sort of weird apocalyptic vibe to it, so maybe that’s why.