I recently had the chance to catch up with Mishkin Fitzgerald, vocalist & pianist for Brighton, UK’s Birdeatsbaby. The band recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign that will help fund their forthcoming record, due later this year. 2012’s Feast of Hammers was a brilliant record as was 2013’s Present Company – the latter staking its claim as Mishkin’s solo debut. 2014 brings winds of change (sorry, bad Scorpions reference) – a band member change and a slight shift in sound. The band has successfully built anticipation for the new record using social media and even got a shout out from Amanda Palmer during their Kickstarter campaign. Here’s a bit of what we chatted about.
Jason’s Jukebox: Has the dynamic of the band changed with the departure of founding member Keely? (violinist / vocalist)
Mishkin Fitzgerald: Yes and no. Keely was one of our founding members so it was a big step for us to carry on without her. But has the dynamic changed? No not really, it’s weird. Even though the members change, the music seems to keep everything together and everyone on the same wavelength. We’re definitely a bit better organized, and still working very well together. We’re lucky to have found Tessa – she’s a lovely person, and a fantastic violin player to boot 🙂
JJ: Can you describe the sound of the new record? How does it compare to previous efforts?
MF: It’s much cleaner, louder and a heck of a lot more going on. Our albums have been fairly stripped back without extra production until now. This time we’ve gone all out. It sounds huge. Musically I think we’re a little less ‘mad bastard syndrome’ (yes we’ve been called that) and a bit more ‘orchestral-punk-rock’. The songs are stronger, and the album is very different throughout.
JJ: The new record is being financed by Kickstarter – can you tell me what you thought of the experience?
MF: It was both amazing and terrifying. Because of the whole ‘all-or-nothing’ approach it was a big risk for us. £10k is a HUGE amount of money so we were unsure how it would pan out. Our fans are amazing though, we needn’t have worried and now we have enough to help us finish the record, and finance it’s promotion, which is amazing.
JJ: Do you have a favorite song on the new record? Can you tell me why?
MF: My favorite one at the moment is called Tenterhooks, because it’s very heavy, dark and constantly changing time signature. I love that. Also the piano line is very minimal so I’m looking forward to performing live as I’ll be able to come away from the stage a little more.
JJ: Any plans to tour the record in America?
MF: YES. You might have to wait a while… But we’re definitely coming back.
JJ: How do you juggle a concurrent solo career along with Birdseatbaby? How can you tell if it is a solo song or something for the band to work on?
MF: Er, with some difficulty! Birdeatsbaby is such a monster it really just eats up all my time, I have little left for myself as it is. To be honest, the solo thing is very much on the back-burner for me, those songs were old and I just wanted to put something out while waiting for Birdeatsbaby to re-form. But, I may well be getting involved with another side-project soon, we’ll see…It’s quite easy to tell the difference between a bird song and a Mishkin song, as one of my friends best described it: “Birdeatsbaby songs are angry, Mishkin Fitzgerald songs are sad”, haha!
JJ: As working artists, what do you think of Spotify and Pandora? Are your songs available on those applications?
MF: We’re on Spotify but I think Pandora is USA only. I love that is makes our music so readily available, but I hate that we earn so little from it. Even just a penny per stream would make a huge difference, but we can’t survive on 0.001p per play, that’s just crazy. But, there’s not a lot we can do until things start to change. Our fans are helping us along the way though, they’ve proven they value our music by actually buying it, so we can’t complain too much!
JJ: What are you drinking while we chat?
MF: I just finished a beetroot, kale, apple and ginger juice. YUM. Last night I was drinking Jägermeister.
JJ: As always, I”m drinking coffee. Thanks for chatting!
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out previous Birdeatsbaby and Mishkin Fitzgerald releases. The new record will be out in a few months and will feature both singles released to date – The Bullet and Ghosts – both videos embedded at the bottom of this article. Thanks for reading, as always.