After jamming since 2010 the psychedelic stoner rock ’n roll Birthday Kicks from Larissa finalized their then line-up in 2013 and released their first single ‘Gotta Believe’ in 2014, and their debut album ‘Black Echo Trap’ in 2016. Within 2017 their second album is (hopefully) expected. Until then, the fans of the kind and of Birthday Kicks will enjoy them on January 27th at ILION Plus in Athens along with The Snails and Youth In Outer Space.
‘Black Echo Trap’ has received righteously many positive critics. I guess that many of your fans and supporters know you from your live shows around the country. When you first started jamming had you imagined things to take this course so far as a band?
To be honest, every time we start jamming we don’t know where it can go or how long it will last. In the past, the band line-up changed several times and the possible expectations used to change accordingly. This is a fact that makes us throw the weight to the present and this probably reflects on each of our live shows, as none is identical to a previous one. We were happy that our debut album was widely heard and that people noticed it. In fact, we weren’t even prepared for some of the very positive comments written on many internet media.
You go independently under no label, and based on your fans, live shows, and a supporting network of other bands. What is the most important kind of freedom you enjoy following this “strategy”?
Total independence. But it also makes us feel as a part of a greater company. All our releases start in the studio with 3 people, during the way friends who design the artwork come along and, in the end, more friends, bands and even festivals make the release possible with their financial support. It’s like we are all releasing this material together, we all become a part of it.
We are experiencing in general a tough time. Is the path you are taking as a band parallel, against, or in the same route of the one of the daily routine?
We have never actually thought about it this way. I would say all of the above, depending on the point of view each time. On the other hand, rock’n’roll was always something more than just another music genre. It carries a great deal of social element and it always expresses anything that doesn’t have the strength to be said and heard. In relation to this, we feel that the microphone standing in front of us is a tool we must use against everything that feeds fascism in society, regardless whether we actually experience difficult situations in our daily life.
Three cover songs are included in ‘Black Echo Trap’ (‘Hole’ by The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You” by Willie Dixon, and ‘Dishwasher Blues’ by Pink Fits). Will you include more in your next work, and are you performing still other artists’ songs in your live shows?
In the past, we have also covered Depeche Mode‘s ‘Personal Jesus’, while we have taken on songs by The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Dubrovniks, The Smiths, Sonic Youth and many others on our live shows. Our most recent release, a 7-inch split vinyl with Screaming dEAD Balloons – from Larissa as well – which was out by Vault Relics, includes a cover on Ramones‘ ‘She Talks to Rainbows’. We don’t know if we will include a cover song in a future release, but the songs we would like to play our way are already a lot. We’ll see in the future…
Are your influences exclusively from the kind you represent, and if not would you cover in your own style a song from a different genre?
We have influences from all kinds of music. Our very covers are on songs and bands that are not similar to our sound. On the contrary, if a song is very much close to our sound, it isn’t challenging enough for us to analyse and play.
You are performing live on January 27th in Athens at ILION Plus. What will your audience expect to listen? Will you also give a taste of your upcoming work?
We will play songs from our releases so far, as well as songs we are working on right now. We should stress that our live show at ILION Plus will be our first with the new line-up. Replacing Jeroen, who was a founding member of the band and now lives in Belgium, is Manos from Craang, who was our producer on ‘Black Echo Trap’. We have felt him as a member of the band since back then already, and now we will be together on stage. The people who will come to that live show should expect a different version of Birthday Kicks. We hope they accept this change as gladly as we did.
Are there also plans for live shows abroad?
Not in the immediate future. After ‘Black Echo Trap’ we met many people from many European countries and some ideas have been expressed, but they’re still pretty incoherent. We’ll see in the future.
Your second album I think is on the way. When can we expect its release?
Before Jeroen left for Belgium, we recorded the material we had made until then. We thought about releasing it as our second album, and this was the basic idea for quite some time. Then we gave it some more collected thought and we decided that it would be unfair to release a material that hasn’t matured like we would want it to. These days, we are working on some of those tracks and on some new ones made from scratch with Manos. We think there is still a long way ahead of us.
Thank you for your time! Close this interview as you will!
Thank you very much for your hospitality and we call the people who love the underground scene to support the bands of their neighborhood.
Photo credits: Giannis Chatziantoniou