Cam Bird – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
CB: I’m a solo hard rock and metal artist.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
CB: I started playing guitar at 10 but didn’t take to it very well until I had a guitar mentor in early high school show me the blues scale and improvisation. This lit a big flame in me when I realised I dont just have to play others people’s music, I could actually create my own. I then excelled on the guitar and got into a lot of different bands in a number of different styles throughout school and then university.
I then fell in love with metal and played through various metal bands and had a bit of local success with a death metal band called Create|Destroy as a lead guitarist and backing vocalist. We released our debut album, did a bit of regional touring and hit up Japan for our first international tour. The band ended up falling apart (as a lot of bands do), I then went on a journey figuring out what was next. I realised I wanted to sing and write not only the music for songs, but the lyrics and vocal lines too. I brought myself an acoustic guitar and got to work and wrote my first complete song called “Rust” which I released on my debut EP called Phoenix.
The solo artist thing is a very different game to bands. There’s pros and cons to it. I love the artistic freedom it gives me and the ability to move a lot faster with writing and releasing music than a band does. A downside is its a bit more of a revolving door with musicians who collaborate with you live, but I honestly think thats a big part of being in a band as well. So I moved through a few line ups and I went pretty hard and released another two EPs to work on my sound and then took the self producer role and released my debut album “Beyond” last year. On this record I went a bit darker and heavier than my EPs and got back in touch with more of my death metal roots, brought back the lead guitar solos and shred and dug into a pretty ferocious place in myself on the mic which you’ll hear and can see in the lyrics.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CB: My musical influences are quite varied. Metallica and Pantera are huge ones for me as well as Alice in Chains and System of a Down. You’ll hear remnants of those bands throughout my music. I’ve grown up following Mark Tremonti’s career as well so he’s another big influence on my playing and songwriting. Then there’s harder metal bands like Children of Bodom, Meshuggah and more recently more progressive bands like A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, Opeth and a few more. I’m also very into my Movies so follow the film scoring and composing scene quite closely. Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard and Danny Elfman are all big influences for some of the sonic choices I make sometimes. I love bringing that world of crazy huge orchestral sounds and madness into the guitar driven world.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
CB: Being a modern musician is very tough but in reality I think its always been hard. I’m not blind to the modern day challenge of being an artist, the lower barrier to entry, the flooded market and the lack of compensation and monetisation for artists since streaming and downloadable mp3s hit the music industry.
I grew up wanting to do the Hetfield thing of an explorer between my knees playing sell out stadiums but I’m not sure we’ll see many more stadium level rock or metal bands moving forward with how the industry is. So for me its more about impacting as many peoeple as I can without music burning me out or throwing me into financial disarray which are very very real threats for the modern day artist. Music can be a venture which requires a SH*! tonne of work for very long sustained periods with very very little return.
So for me, I would love to get it to the point where it sustains itself and I can comfortable make decisions to tour internationally and have the financial side and risks covered in doing so. Thats very hard as an independent artist but is still achievable. I just want to keep building and see where it takes me for now and keep releasing music that excites me and impacts others.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
CB: Me 🙂 I don’t like jamming down peoples throats what they are about and tend to leave things open to interpretation. Music is art, and when I write I write from an extremely deep place where its almost like channeling in a spiritual sense. So whatever needs to come through me I let pass through me. Sometimes its sadness, sometimes its anger. Sometimes its disbelief about the world, other people or the systems we have in society and how F-ed up human beings can actually be. But bottom line there is a fundamental and underlying optimism and hope. We can be better. We can treat others better. We can set up a better world if we work towards it and take a stand against all the shitty things we are capable of as humans.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
CB: Mainly online. The internet is an amazing way to connect and opens many doors. I’m on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook. I try not to let social media consume my entire life and existence anymore, but you can find me, talk to me and interact with me online wherever you are in the world.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
CB: Honestly I think it sucks. The first album I downloaded was an All That Remains album and I felt ripped off. I got it through itunes and I really felt empty not having the experience of opening the lyric booklet and connecting with the lyrics and artwork. But thats the way the world is nowadays. Shorter attention spans and quick sugar consumption of things, including art.
PD: What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
CB: Its pretty messed up. I think since the early 2000s everyone has been scrambling. Labels don’t really make much money anymore so they’re wanting a cut of the things that traditionally were just the artists (merch, tours etc). But I don’t think its ever been easy. Labels used to be banks for artists to get a loan with and leverage, now you have to do a lot of the heavy lifting yourself with no guarantees. Saying that there is a lot of opportunity as its an open playing field so if you’re smart, entrepreneurial and not afriad of hard work you can carve something out for yourself even if its little, like what I have.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
CB: Master of Puppets by Metallica. Its a classic and I think probably the greatest metal song of all time.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
CB: It can be how other artists dont really want you to win or when you do, they just try and take something out of it for themselves without really giving. An example for me is when I lined up my first endorsement, you get people hitting you up asking for you to help them do the same. Early on I tried heaps to help but then realised a lot of these people don’t really want to give anything back to you for your help and efforts in return, not even a simple beer, or meal. Sometimes I find other artists can be pretty selfish and dont really understand that we can achieve a lot more together but you have to be willing to give and take to do that.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
CB: Probably self producing my album Beyond. It was a big moment for me to have complete artistic freedom and explore who I am not only as a songwriter, but as an Engineer and Producer as well. Behind that would be a sold out show we played in an old band in Tokyo. Crazy cool experience.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there
CB: My next show is a Wacken Battle of the Bands gig in March here in Melbourne at the Evelyn Hotel. We’re bringing in a new drummer to the lineup for this and it will be the most energetic and “raw” live band set up we’ve run yet. I can’t wait. Its going to be electric. We’d love for people to be a part of it and we’ll be smashing it as usual so come on down to feel the energy, break the grind and experience the power of music with us 🙂
Cam Bird links:
Band/Artist location – Melbourne Australia
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