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Those Mockingbirds Interview
         
 
   

Those Mockingbirds Interview

By: Morgan Y. Evans
January 21, 2014

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With the exception of Maid Myriad's "Be Careful What You Wish For," indie band Those Mockingbirds' lean yet ghostly and lush "A Ballad From Hell" is perhaps the most immersive tune I've heard in awhile. "I'll never leave your side," croons a deceptive vocal that kicks up dust shortly after and considers/accuses that, "maybe we're both going to Hell." Fans of Murder By Death, The Decemberists or even The Kills could find something to grasp on here, as the band is both ambitious yet centered.

 

Their latest album Penny The Dreadful is self-absorbed in all the right ways, an indictment to fake music and nothing short of a semi-jaded but ripe with passions all-out-celebration of life's ups and downs. This record hits home like pop, blues and indie/folk had a summit and decided to form a pact. "My bad dreams can be yours too..."

 

Adam Bird and Tory Anne Daines fill us in on the stellar release.

 

 

Spacelab - Penny The Dreadful has this cinematic quality to many of the songs and a good balance of pro production but real sounds to the instruments. What were the goals and challenges of that record?

 

Adam - the goal was exactly as you stated it actually, so that's a good thing! We wanted it to sound slick and huge, but without crossing into the all too common sound of being drenched in Pro-Tools tricks. We left some mistakes in, because we didn't want it to be perfect; we wanted it to be real.

 

Tory - Penny was the first complete LP I’d ever recorded with a band I call my own. I’ve recorded a number of EP’s but this was a completely different experience. I was a bit of a know-it-all going into it, and came out completely humbled. If I could do it again I would approach it differently, but that’s what the next album is for.

 

Spacelab - How is the Jersey rock scene these days? I keep discovering cool NJ bands lately like your band or Screaming Females. Things seem to be getting exciting in the Garden State again for rock.

 

Tory - The Jersey scene musically has always been good, but we did see a lull in shows for a while. That only made us, and a number of other NJ bands, work harder. You can expect the scene to get much more exciting in the coming months as more and more of us keep crawling out of the woodwork with new music.

 

Adam - The NJ scene is getting very strong again. There are so many excellent bands right now, but I think a big difference from the past is that there are a variety of sounds being made. It's not like in the late 90s and early 2000s when everyone was either hardcore or emo. I really love that we've got variety going on here at home.

 

Spacelab - Your website described you as "Classy Grunge." Explain? When I think Grunge it's, like, Tad Doyle spitting beer or something. Not super classy but pretty awesome. I get more or a rustic feel meets alt rock vibe from your band ("Teenage Fantasies," for example.) Or "S.A.L.T." The music reminds me of Annie Lennox or even Gotye in the verses. It's pretty wicked.

 

Adam - Thanks! We just kind of made it up because people kept telling us that they couldn't put their finger on exactly what our sound was and we figured there is a lot of 90's rock influence mixed with strings and such. It's probably not that accurate though after the Penny record. Haha.

 

Tory - Much to his guitar tech's dismay, Adam abuses his guitar most every show while I stand next to him playing a violin. Classy Grunge just seemed fitting to us; classy being a reference to classical music.

 

Spacelab - What is the story with a carbon monoxide leak in your building? I saw a vague reference on your band Facebook.

 

Tory - We practice at a place called Streets, it’s an old warehouse with very tiny rooms and a lot of noise. Streets has been a solid staple of the scene here, fostering bands since 1994. Last Saturday a heater sprung an undetected carbon monoxide leak. We lost 2 good people and 12 of our friends and fellow musicians ended up in the hospital. We were fortunate not to have been there at the time but it’s still a sombering blow to the music community here.

 

Spacelab - How was it working with Dean Baltulonis? I mostly know him from hardcore records, but I guess he did The Hold Steady and that Gay Blades record I love also, which is more akin to what your band does than, say, Subzero or Madball, haha.

 

Adam - We wanted to work with Dean because of the Gay Blades record Savages. I personally love that record so to work with Dean on Penny was a dream. He is such an easy guy to work with... He makes the entire process feel very relaxed and comfortable.

 
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