Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
We just released a new single called “The Devil’s Hands” and brought on a new drummer so its an exciting time at Cam Bird HQ. We’re getting ready for a Battle of The Bands here in Melbourne where the winner plays at Wacken Open Air Metal Festival in Germany so that should be a lot of fun.
Last year was an intense year for me with the release of my debut album “Beyond”. It was a much heavier and more intense outing for me where I went to a darker place in myself. I also sat in the producer’s chair for the first time and self-produced and engineered the record which was a massive undertaking for me. It’s nice to drop a single and have a bit more of a smaller commitment but still push my boundaries and try and uplevel myself on something like The Devil’s Hands.
How long has the band been together?
I’m a solo artist so I’ve been going under the Cam Bird banner for about 5 years now. I’ve released a few EPs, then my debut album and am always writing so there are lots in store for the future that I’m excited about.
I played in bands previously but was always the main songwriter and contributor so this time around I wanted a lot more freedom and artistic control. The solo artist thing has been great for that.
What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
As a kid when I first got into music I was just obsessed with creating and experimenting with sounds. I had a shitty little FX pedal that had a looper on it and I’d just sit with it for hours writing chord progressions and riffs and soloing over the top. I came up in high school and went through a lot of different bands and played with a lot of different musicians during this phase and after it once I got out into the scene. The thing that’s always stuck with me is I have a very strong creative side and that little kid sitting in his room experimenting with sounds, the artist side of me, has never really gone away. That’s the main reason for me doing what I do. Of course, there are artists out there who inspire me along that journey, I don’t think I’d do what I do now as a frontman if it weren’t for guys like Hetfield, Serj Tankian and then guitarists like Dimebag Darrel.
What is your music background?
I’ve played in a stack of bands. In high school pretty much everything from jazz to orchestras. Then I got into metal and rock and fell in love with it. Never really stopped from there. I’m not formally trained, but I’ve had good mentors and a strong work ethic to keep teaching myself and pushing myself along the road.
What image do you think your music conveys?
My music is dark but it comes from the heart and soul so its an image ultimately of hope. I believe music is the most powerful force known to man. Something that we love, that heals us, that connects us, that binds us and that can revolutionize us and the human systems we have here on this planet. Ultimate it’s about expressing myself and having people feel it’s ok to express themselves and be who they are deep down and make the world a better place in that process.
What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
I’d love to get an overseas tour happening and get outside of Australia. It’s not easy getting there for us Aussie artists as we are so far away and quite isolated down here but it can be down with a bit more work and grind 😉
What are your long-term career goals?
I’d love to keep playing and writing music for the rest of my life. Long term I’d love to get into orchestration and composition and contribute to a big film score. That industry and those musicians/composers who did the big film stuff, like Hans Zimmer, have always inspired me.
Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Writing and recording for sure. I love the creative part of music the most. It’s a very special moment for me where I feel connected and tapped into something bigger than myself. Then I just want to share that with others.
What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
I don’t like to dig too much into this topic as I like to leave this part open to interpretation a little. What I will tell you is that my songs come from a deep place and are often reflective of my own journey and some of my own turbulence, questions, struggles with others or with the world in general. When writing lyrics I try and get into a deep almost meditative state where I almost channel things. The words and lyrics just come flowing out of me that way and its a very deep, sincere and authentic expression, rather than something manufactured.
Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Nothing too outrageous as I’m a pretty straight edge dude but I played a Japanese tour with an old death metal band of mine years ago. It was an amazing experience but we were crammed on a tiny little bus with 4 other bands for 2 weeks straight so the conditions weren’t the best. One night the tour managers stuffed up and we had to sleep in a tunnel on the street in 100 deg heat. If you can imagine what 4 bands look like sleeping on the side of the road in a tunnel, you’ll get the picture, not very glamourous. We got up the next day and somehow managed to pull off an incredible gig playing to a sold-out show in Tokyo. Surreal experience. The bed was pretty amazing after all of that.
What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
That’s a tough one. I get some funny cover requests at times. I have a joke with one fan of mine about Celine Dion and aspiring to do a song with her one day. Can you imagine My Heart Will Go On with some blazing guitar work and death metal screams behind it!?
Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
My parents have been amazing. I think they worry at times, I can be a very stubborn and determined person and never really wanted to live a life fitting the status quo. They’ve learned over time that I’m just going to do things my way and I will somehow make it work, which I always have, even if it’s tough at times.
What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Screwdriver from my album Beyond. The midsection of this live goes nuts. There’s lots of dynamics, a big fat groove section the band jams on and then a melodic solo I love playing.
Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
James Hetfield from Metallica. Just seeing how a dude can literally command and conquer an audience with an explorer wrapped around his knees in an arena has always been something that fires me up. You can tell music is an extension of him and I love how much he pours himself into every performance.
If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Metallica, Pantera (RIP Dime and Vinnie), Cam Bird. That would be the dream!
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Musically, stepping up to the role of vocalist was a big one for me. It wasn’t easy but was very rewarding. I’d also say self-producing Beyond and having complete artistic and creative freedom was another huge feat for me.
If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
I love helping people and I still work on the side. If music was to disappear from my life completely I think I’d learn to become a pilot or work with animals in some way.
What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
I have an Fractal Audio Axe FX Ax8 and a PRS USA Custom 24. I keep things pretty simple and spartan now and this does the job amazingly well for me.
What do you think of the current music scene?
It’s a very tough climate. There are amazing artists out there and some incredible people and players. I think the rock and metal scene is a little dormant atm and I’ve always wanted to try and carry the flame forward for it and breathe new life into it.
For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
That I’m a massive movie and video game buff and a hardcore Star Wars fan!
If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
It rides the line between Metal and Rock. Little bits of grunge, a big 90s influence from bands like Metallica, Pantera, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains with a modern production sound and some shred 😉
Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Thank you guys for all the support! It’s an honor to do this and means the world to me when you guys throw love or cash my way to keep me going. I can’t do it without you!
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!