erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Fifty-Five: Cameron Bird of Architecture in Helsinki

instigated by dave heaton

The Australian band Architecture in Helsinki strikes me as one of the few current-day pop groups making music that's genuinely new, that has its own original sound. Not to discount their great debut album Fingers Crossed (Bar None), but that originality is especially true of the dynamite In Case We Die (Bar None), a technicolor bubblegum extravaganza that's one of my favorite albums ever. Check out their website and MySpace.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

Probably the element of unknown. I am still really new to songwriting, recording, arranging. So, everyday I learn a new chord or realise something else works. I love the way that once a sound is comitted 'to tape' it is forever. The way that moment kinda crystalises and is interpreted and is re-interpreted by hearts and easr and minds everywhere.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

The shortness of people's attention spans.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

Sitting in a one bedroom railroad apartment in Brooklyn dreaming and writing songs for our next album. And watching HBO DVDs.

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

At the end of last year we were the first indie band to play in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, since Fugazi in 1996. That was pretty incredible. We played to 2000 people... who were obviously so starved of live music that we could have farted on our microphones and they would have screamed for us! It was such a huge honour.

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

Australia is obviously pretty damn isolated, which is both its greatest plus and its greatest detriment. That isolation has always made for interesting music, yet it has also seen us not having the confidence to stand up to all the bands existing in the rest of the world. People living there just have this mentality that everything that is made overseas is better. Which kinda comes around to bite us in the ass.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

The last song I wrote was when we were on tour in Europe a month or so ago. I was walking in a largely Indian part of London and there was some hot Bangra pumping on a passing car stereo and I kinda made up a melody to the beat in my head. Then Kellie and I walked around singing it for two days until when we tried to do a kinda impromptu version of it at a show in the middle of nowhere in France. It is called 'Heart it Races', it'll be on our next record.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

More and more. I couldnt listen to enough music everyday. I am always listening ot what production ideas people have. In the last 5 years top 40 production has been really exciting, so, you know it is great do go to some big evil chain store and see what's on the listening post. I feel a duty as a musician to be aware of everything that is going on around me whilst trying to keep what our band is doing as isolated from that as possible.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

All kinds. I really despise narrow minded people in music. You know when someone is like 'I hate Hip-Hop There's no talent in that'.. or 'fuck techno' or 'DJs arent real musicians'... Whatever!!! I am all for cross polination between artists and genres and scenes. I love that. Last year i was really into the field recordings of Alan Lomax, I feel like the stuff that he was recording around the world was just so unaffected and honest, Folk songs that were the essence of human spirit recorded in their native habititat. I think that music which really reflects the culture and experience of life in a certain place I find particularly inspiring. Be that Calypso in Trinidad or Hip Hop in The Bronx.

Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Wu Tang Clan. Everything they ever did was incredible. As far as records to listen to. Maybe start at the beginning and work your way through. And then there is all the side projects... damn near impossible not to be blown away by it all. RIP ODB. Wu Tang Forvever.

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

"Unchained Melody."

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

this month's issue
about erasing clouds

Copyright (c) 2006 erasing clouds