Having been taken with the new Immortal Bird release, “Akrasia“, coupled with the fact the my Editor, Myron, loves Chicago metal, he encouraged me to write down a few questions. Not totally comfortable with interviews I figured this was a way to ease into things. Here is what Rae Amitay had to say about her newest project Immortal Bird.
Where did the inspiration for the band name come from?
The inspiration for our name came from David Tibet’s experimental neofolk group, Current 93. The album “Sleep Has His House” is one that has influenced me a great deal, and contains the song “Immortal Bird”. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time, and the lyrics really resonated with me. Some people have asked if our name is from the Keats poem “Ode to a Nightingale”(“Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!”). That crossed my mind when I was deciding on the name but our name is not directly referencing that piece.
Tell us a little about yourselves and how Immortal Bird came to be?
Immortal Bird was something I’d wanted to do in some form for a long time. The idea of having my own experimental project where I was in more of a songwriting/vocal role had been brewing since my last year of college, and I finally took the initiative to make it happen once I moved to Chicago last year. I’ve known Evan (Anderson Berry – guitar) for years (we went to school together) and he’s one of the most talented and brilliant musicians I’ve ever met. I asked him if he’d help me bring some of my song ideas to fruition, and I’m lucky that he agreed. Then we got John (Picillo, our bassist) on board and started demoing ideas and getting together to prepare for the studio.
What was it that inspired you to play your particular instrument?
I wish I had an amazing ‘epiphany’ type of story for you, but I was a freshman in high school and feeling fairly directionless. I’d been playing piano for a decade and was getting really tired of it, but I loved music. On somewhat of a whim I decided to give drums a shot, probably because one of my friends played drums and he was cooler than I was. I had no idea they’d turn out to be one of the great loves of my life! The drums, not my friend.
Is there any sort of concept to “Akrasia?” If so what is it? If not, what are the main lyrical themes in the songs?
Well, the concept is…akrasia. As in, acting against one’s previously held moral standards or set of values. Most of the songs are about holding grudges, burning bridges, and letting guilt and resentment fester and burst. Not all the songs are about my own akratic behavior, but most of them are. I’d say that “The Pseudoscientist” is more about other people, and not as introspective.
Your drumming is fantastic but the wonderful twist is she is the vocalist. When you formed Immortal Bird was it your plan all along to be the vocalist or did you entertain thoughts of recruiting another vocalist?
It was definitely always my plan to be the vocalist. The lyrics are so personal that I could never really envision anyone else performing them. As cliched as it sounds, being able to deliver them myself has been quite therapeutic for me. I’d accumulated a great deal of darkness and venom that was proving detrimental to my progress as a functioning human being and it needed an outlet.
How would you describe the writing process on “Akrasia?” Was it all your vision or was it a team collaboration?
Our writing process is undoubtedly collaborative. The band as an entity was my idea but as far as writing goes Evan plays an equal, if not greater, part. For every riff I write his arranging skills on guitar are called into play. I write on five-string bass so without him, I wouldn’t really be able to flesh out the songs. He also wrote a number of riffs on the album and was a great source of help and advice when it came to deciding upon drum parts and vocal patterns.
Hobbies outside of music?
No. Just kidding. Bar trivia.
If you could only have 3 albums with you on a deserted island for the rest of your life what would they be?
Wow, only three? Well, if I were stuck on a deserted island I wouldn’t live very long. My survival skills are decidedly unimpressive, so the “rest of my life” might end up being about a week or two. The albums I’d choose would be Rubinstein‘s collection of Chopin‘s 19 Nocturnes, Current 93‘s ‘Thunder Perfect Mind’ and N.W.A.‘s ‘Straight Outta Compton”.
What does the future hold for Immortal Bird?
In the immediate future, we’re going on tour from February 28 – March 10th. The dates are:
2.28 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
3.01 Chesapeake, VA – Roger’s Sports Pub (w/ Occultist)
3.02 Richmond, VA – Strange Matter (w/ Occultist)
3.03 York, PA – The Depot (w/ East of the Wall and Diamond Plate)
3.04 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
3.05 Brooklyn, NY – The Acheron (w/ Mortals and Zevious)
3.06 Worcester, MA – Ralph’s (w/ Obsidian Tongue)
3.07 Wallingford, CT – Cherry St. Station
3.08 Pittsburgh, PA – The Smiling Moose
3.09 Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
3.10 Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge (w/ Trials)
In the more distant future? More touring and recording our second release! We’ve already gathered some material so hopefully it won’t be long before we have something new to “unleash”, or whatever the kids are calling “putting out an album” these days.
Editor’s Note: Garry Naples of Novembers Doom and Without Waves will handle live drum duties.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Anything else you would like to say?
Stay in school, eat your vegetables and keep your nose clean. But in all seriousness, thank you for the interview!