The Austinmer seven-piece released their fourth album this year, full of cinematic slow-burners that are perfect for a rainy day.
Pinnies: So first off, your new album Deadlands is comprised of five tracks that range from 4 to 13 minutes long. Was that your intention for the album, or did that sort of happen organically as you were writing?
Russell: Yeah, we did some records before this one that was pretty pop oriented and we got real good at playing together as a band. So we kind of wanted to stretch out our improvisational muscles a bit. So we really just took advantage of the band interacting in a room.
Pinnies: I’ve always found your music to have quite cinematic undertones to it. If Deadlands was the soundtrack to a film, what kind of film would it be?
Russell: That’s a pretty good question because when I was listening back to the mixes for the first two records, I would go onto YouTube and I would have a visual in mind, and we’d start watching things from movies or aerial footage of the Outback and that sort of thing.
But I reckon Deadlands is pretty dark. It’s maybe an apocalyptic sorta Australian Outback. Sort of moody and a little bit Western-ey kind of vibe.
Pinnies: Yeah, I reckon that’s a great description of the record. So, you’ve got seven members in the band, does that make it difficult to write and produce such coherent records? Or do you have a process that makes it flow pretty smoothly?
Russell: Yeah it can get hard. I guess there’s like three of us who do the songwriting, myself, Dane and my brother Allister, and then we kind of take it into the band space and everyone kind of adds their parts. I guess we’ve all got a good sense of each other’s vibes and our egos kind of get left at the door and somehow it all fits together without stepping on each other. But yeah, it can get hard at times, for sure.
Pinnies: You’re kind of known for having a really good live show, and I read that this record was the first album that you recorded live. Has that aspect of the record translated into an even more exciting live show?
Russell: Yeah, I reckon it definitely has, we’re at our peak of live performance as a band. We’ve been playing together for so long now and we just kind of dedicate ourselves to our instruments. There’s not a lot of samples or special effects going on, more just really honing in on our instruments.
Check out Deadlands by Shining Bird right here.