You can be one of the best new bands around, but there are hundreds of hurdles to jump when it comes to taking a next step. Recording, making videos, playing gigs - the road to success is rarely an easy route. That’s where Curtain Call comes in.
Curtain Call takes the ‘road to success’ literally by basing itself on the iconic Curtain Road, a hub of creativity in London’s Shoreditch. Home to the some of the world’s best independent labels - Wichita, Bella Union, Secretly Canadian & many more - it crams together music, fashion and culture, making it the perfect location for a new band to take their next step.
This month, DIY and Jågermeister have teamed up with to Brighton trio Birdskulls. After releasing their debut album ‘Trickle’ last year, the three-piece have kicked off 2016 by recording a brand new track in the heart of Curtain Road, at Strongroom Music Studio. Tomorrow, they’ll be debuting it live for the first time ever when they play at Strongroom Bar, alongside Johnny Foreigner and Gang, and we’ve been keeping up with them every step of the way.
“It’s been really good,” drummer Sam Rack opens up, when we sit down with the band during their day at the studio. “There’s been a really good atmosphere.” “Our engineer Steph [Marziano]’s been amazing to work with,” adds in frontman Jack Pulman, “she’s been really encouraging and positive.”
Granted, spending a full day working on one track feels like somewhat of a luxury to the band, who, admittedly, are more used to the pressure of recording a whole album in a week. “When we did the record,” explains bassist Rory Marshall, “we knew we were doing eight songs so the finished product seemed a bit further away. Here, you can relax into it and concentrate more, and concentrate on specific parts. I guess that means the individual song gets better. You can see the end with this, so mentally it just feels more relaxing to handle.”
The track itself - ‘Clawing At The Wall’ - sees the band moving on from the work of their debut full-length while, in Sam’s words, “pushing you towards our favourite bits of the record.” “The song, we’ve been writing for a while now,” says Rory. “Maybe a month or so?” “We’ve got a few songs and we picked this one out of the five,” continues Jack. “We were flipping between two up until a couple of days ago, then we had a little freak out and picked this one.”
“You can still hear Birdskulls in it,” Rory offers up, “but we’re progressing. I mean, we recorded the album back in March last year, so since then obviously a lot has happened and we’ve listened to new bands. Plus, you keep listening to the tracks that you feel like you wanna move it in a certain direction and I guess that’s what the new song is. It’s a progression.”
As for the experience itself, the band seem to have really found a good balance. “For us, we hadn’t really done much stuff “in the industry”,” admits Rory. “Today, we’ve got a producer in here and we’ve had people filming. We haven’t really been put into that environment but it’s great to do more. We’ve got to be prepared for stuff like this, if we want to move on and work with different people. It’s been a good insight to it. ”
“There’s a balance and it’s worked for us so well today,” he continues. “When we did the album, we did it with our friend Jamie Stewart and that was obviously good because while he was friendly, he was still pushing us. It can be quite hard to get that kind of medium but it’s worked really well.”
Now that the track’s all done and dusted, the next step is playing it live: “I absolutely can’t wait,” Rory says, of being able to air the song during their set at tomorrow’s show. “You get a totally different dynamic, and you’ve got people watching. When you’re in the studio, we’ll just be playing the song but on stage, hopefully it’ll be a different experience with people watching us.”
Birdskulls play at Strongroom Bar with Johnny Foreigner and Gang on 26th January. The final few tickets are available now. Check back tomorrow for the premiere of ‘Clawing At The Wall’.