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Wallis Bird Interview April 2014

Lisa Ward

Triangle

Wallis Bird’s new album Architect offers a stark contrast to her previous releases. With a departure from London to build a new life in Berlin, she explains that the album “began with needing a big change in my personal life and environment, and as soon as I realised that I was going to move to Berlin I felt the muse immediately. That gave me a kind of blind confidence to experiment freely.” The new album certainly has a more playful sound, which indicates the move has been a success. “Right now where I am in Berlin is the closest thing to home I’ve ever felt. I don’t see myself leaving any time soon.”

Having toured extensively in Germany and previously chosen to record material in Berlin the relocation wasn’t too much of a surprise, but inevitably comes with a few sacrifices. “I miss my London friends and my old locals, but I gave it a good run and the city was good to me up to a point.” Inevitably though London is a tough place to feel at home in, something which she explains is doubly hard when you’re involved in it’s competitive arts scene. “I left before I felt sour about the place. There’s too much ‘competition’ in arts in London, which is exactly the ethos I feel kills art. But yeah, not having all my instruments in one space, living in a tiny room in a house that was more like a squat, and being in a dying relationship was cracking me up. Time to go.”

Her previous releases have been driven by catchy lyrics and infectious melodies, whereas Architect seems somewhat more experimental. When I ask her about her approach to songwriting, she reveals that “it varies completely. If it’s a lyrical based song, melody will project the empathy of the words and rhythm will follow, or if it’s a percussive based song, the beat and the bass line take hold of a basic mantra that I want to say.” So is there a set formula for song writing? In a word – no. “It’s hilarious trying to cram the process down to one thing, because mostly it’s a wild subconscious thing.”

With a tour alongside the new release, I ask Wallis how she sustains her high adrenaline shows. “It’s not even a thought in my mind. I know the energy will be there so as long as I turn up for stage time, the rest is easy.” It seems then that those who relish in Wallis’ high energy live performances can expect more of the same.  She’s also quick to highlight that they’ll contain “much more complicated arrangements in a simpler flowing song. We also have a new band member, her name is Emma and she is too talented and too funny for her own good so she’s injected a new lease of life into the group.”

Architect is released on the 14th April.

www.wallisbird.com