by James Olson
VANCOUVER – Born from the ashes of Owl Field Recordings, the lads of Wind-Up Birds bring a breezy blend of jazz, funk and pop that is both familiar and refreshing. Guitarist and vocalist Sam Willett points to Mac DeMarco as a rallying point for the band in their embrace of cheesy retro pop with distinctively modern sensibilities. “He’s doing stuff that people might not consider cool but he’s making it cool,” Willett explains. “We all like that kind of music. We like Steely Dan. We like Paul McCartney. We like dad rock. It’s groovy, it’s funky and we thought it would be nice to incorporate that into a band and play.”
Spend enough time with Wind-Up Birds and an endearment for the nostalgic yesteryear is palpable. A discussion of their penchant for the retro evolved into an interesting conversation of the relationship between dad rock and vaporwave. “There are always people that are looking back at what people did before, sort of retro stuff, and wanting to incorporate that into their own art, be it photography, film, or music,” says Willett. “We like that mixing of aesthetics. That’s what vaporwave does really well, is it mixes this diverse bunch of weird aesthetics together to make a new one.”
Wind-Up Birds first full-length, Casual Music Album, is a labour of love for the quartet. Recorded in Willett’s living room with a plethora of handcrafted and borrowed equipment, the process, from Willett’s perspective, went better than anyone in the band could have expected. What was both a cost-saving and creative-control measure promises to be an anticipated local release for 2017.
Along with their upcoming release show, the band already is ready to start recording again in the late spring and summer, with seven to eight new songs written. “Our philosophy is, we don’t know how long we’re going to be able to play together as a band. We’ve all got school and various commitments so we want to make the most of what we’ve got,” says Willett. “We’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to play lots of shows and we’ve been able to meet lots of cool bands and cool people. We’ve been able to put out T-shirts and tapes, which I don’t think any of us have been able to do in any other band. We’re just trying to make the most of it.”
Wind-Up Birds play 333 on March 19 with Kai Bravewood, Wax Cowboy, and Dear Rabbit