is a british band composed of Mike Bird, Dave Pen and James Livingstone
Interview with Dave Pen singer and
guitarist of BirdPen :
BirdPen have recorded and self released 3 EP’s and one
record which have all received great reviews throughout the UK and
Europe and gained radio play all around the world. They released this
year their full debut album On/Off/Safety/Danger.
BirdPen are also involved in other projects, including writing with
brilliant London based band Archive.
S: When and how was Birdpen
BirdPen was born in 2003. We were actually making videos and live
images for other bands and we went under this name BirdPen…
S: Where is the name of the
band coming from?
The name comes from nicknames that we had. Dave was called Penster
hence Pen and Mike was called Manglebird hence Bird. We never actually
thought the name would stick.
S: How and when did all begin
We were working together in various other bands and projects. The band
we were in before BirdPen was an 8 piece full on progressive band which
split up. 2 weeks after the split we had written 10 songs and had a
brand new EP which we started sending out to people.
are the positive and negative sides of being a musician in UK?
The positives are that we are so spoilt for choice for music in the UK
so there is always new music to discover which is a great thing. On
the flip side of that a lot of new acts really struggle as the market
is so swamped. The UK has always been great at recognising
independent music – with the crash of all the majors and the
limits on what they can release regarding new material, means that the
independents are more important than ever.
S: Do you feel anxious before a
Ummm sometimes a little bit but in all honestly we love it and
it’s a great way for us to let go on stage and loose
what we have created…
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
Between us all it varies a lot…Pink Floyd, The Beatles,
More, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, Massive Attack, New Order and the
whole Warp records label had a huge influence on Mike and I…
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
Yes it was Rage against the Machine’s debut
album on record was Guns and Roses - Appetite for Destruction.
S: Do you think the emotion is
different between a song in English and in another language?
Only because I can understand the language and words hold a lot of
meaning but I have seen bands singing in another language and been
completely blown away…
S: How could you define the
music of Birdpen?
Its DOOM GROOVE.. Like watching the end of the world with a smile on
Its built on thoughts about random things. Robots, war, the corruption
of our societies, love, ghosts, and Birds…It goes around and
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
S: When you write a song you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand?
: All 3 in
no particular order…It depends on the mood and how it will
S: What is your favourite song
of Birdpen and why?
Only the Names Change at the moment. Its about 3 lost souls in the
world and how things never change apart from the names. Its our last
song in our live set and we all love performing it…
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
Its good and Bad. Its amazing for the outlets musicians have through
media sites, but Piracy is and always will be a problem for up and
coming bands that need money…Its moved the Live scene
a massive way which I hope will benefit new acts a
isn’t a problem Money is…
S: Do you think "Machines Live
Like Ordinary People" ?
Definitely… Haven’t you seen my new 100 Inch
Plasma tv – she’s all you need in a woman!!
I've heard you wrote something like an hundred songs for this great
album and only selected 11, what have you done with the rest, did you
We didn’t write 100 songs for just this album we just spent a
of time writing a lot of material. For a long time we wrote
material rather than performing live. We built our own studio
spent 3 years being hermits. Everything we did is archived,
there’s some really great stuff, and we’ve also
writing new material for our next album.
S: Can you describe what is a
typical Birdpen's day?
From a recording point of view, coffee, a discussion about songs
writing or recording, then full steam ahead.. we work quite
frantically. A good day is when we start recording at 11 am
we’ve written and demo/recorded a brand new song by
love working this way. Then walking home listening to the
my ipod ready to work on new material the next day.
S: What are your hobbies aside
All 3 of us are obsessed with the HBO tv network. And I like
reading, cooking and hanging out with our friends and loved ones.
you venturesome persons?
Yeah James Livingstone Seagull and I climbed the north face of Ben
Nevis in Scotland in April. A few years back Mike Bird and I
climbed the Dragon in Switzerland. We like
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
The Cabaret Metro in Chicago, I don’t know if it’s
there, but I’ve always wanted to play there. When
comes, I’ll choose somewhere else.
there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music?
I only ever listen to my music when I’m working on
BirdPen material is mixed and mastered I very rarely listen to
it. I only listen to new BirdPen material that I’m
our website is related with Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say
some words about them?
One of my first 12 inch records was Motorcycle Emptiness on limited
edition picture disc, I played it relentlessly and I still absolutely
love this song. It is one of the coolest songs ever.
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
On/Off/Safety/Danger as I never seem to be able to keep a copy of the
album – I always give it away. I would rarely
listen to it,
and would give it to the other last person left on earth.
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
Across the Universe by the Beatles as I’m also in a musical
collective called Archive, and we covered it on French Virgin radio in
Paris. The next will be Falling by Angelo Badalamenti as
I’m currently watching the whole of the David Lynch series,
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
I quite like the track 1901.
S: And say something in French?
S: What are your plans for the
5 week tour of Europe supporting Archive – I’ll be
doing two gigs a night.. Rock on..
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
love and honesty.
MANY thanks to Dave and Birdpen for the interview!
More informations about Birdpen:
- on their site:
- on their Myspace: