How did you get started?
Ben: We’ve all known each other since school and Luke and I have been playing together in various bands since we were teenagers but The Whybirds started in 2006.
Did you all have a sound in mind back then?
Luke: Not really. It grew fairly organically from the way we all wrote songs. It was never going to sound like Guns N Roses, and was always more likely to sound like the singer/songwriters we all loved – Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young – with our playing influenced by the Seattle bands of our youth.
You recently became a three piece after losing a member. How has this changed your approach to writing/recording?
Ben: I wouldn’t say it’s changed our initial approach to writing – the songs were still written on an acoustic guitar, or at least, that’s how they started life. But this is the first album where a good chunk of them are co-written. I think we’ve only done it once or twice before.
Dave: It was a really fun process stripping songs down and putting them back together again. We've never really worked that way before. Sometimes we would literally take an upbeat country song and turn it into a slow melancholy ballad.
Ben: We really worked on the arrangements this time, trying out lots different things while we were in the studio. Nick Mailing, the producer, helped us think about the songs in different ways and look at them from a different angle.
Does new album A Little Blood contain any particular themes?
Luke: Absolutely. More so than any of our other records. The last one, Cold Blue Sky, had a very optimistic feel to it. We as a band were being promised the earth, we were younger, less jaded… This record, well, I think the things that happened to us between this one and the last – including losing a member – influenced the songs greatly. The record, to me, is about hitting your 30s, with the backdrop of maybe not having the best government, people struggling to get by, having dreams go unfilled…but still being alive. The song “A Little Blood” is talking about one thing, but for me, the album’s title is summed up by the penultimate track, where it says: “They ain’t killed us yet, there’s a little blood to bleed.”
Tell us about your single 'The Cure'?
Dave: Ben couldn't make a writing session one night so Luke and I penned this. It’s about a guy down on his luck. It started out as mix up of a Crazy Horse-style jam we tried out a few times and a chorus I'd written a few years ago. We changed the arrangement in the studio to bring out the groove.