Salt Lake City’s Suburban Birds know how to lose themselves in their sound.
Their album Lituya Bay, premiering here, has reverberating melodies that get you forgetting to blink and soothing vocals that take you for a stroll down nostalgia lane.
Comprised of friends Zach Adams (vocals/guitar), Ian Kilpatrick (guitar/bass/synth), Chaden Hales (guitar/bass) and Cameron Cox (drums)—Suburban Birds blossomed from messing around with music and then never wanting to stop. Together they compose chill and beachy tunes that’ll keep your mind wandering.
Both Adams and Kilpatrick say the ocean is a huge influence for them. “It’s just really peaceful and existential to me,” Adams says, adding that they actually had ocean sounds playing in the background as they wrote the music for Lituya Bay.
“Every time I am near an ocean or on a beach, all my senses become tuned into the ocean,” Kilpatrick adds. “It’s one of the only experiences where I can just tune out my surroundings and just forget about everything else in the world for a while.”
Check out the premiere of Lituya Bay below and let the music flow over you like the ocean waves. Or listen to the premiere and read the entire interview with Suburban Birds also below.
BTRtoday (BTR): Why the name Suburban Birds?
Zach Adams (ZA): Ian thought of that during one jam. We liked the idea of these things from an ancient world adapting to a modern culture, and our music sort of fit that idea. We also just liked how it sounded so it just kind of stuck around.
BTR: What is your favorite type of bird? (Mine are cool birbs!)
ZA: Penguins, no question.
Ian Kilpatrick (IK): Owls are super cool because they sit there quietly and watch the situation and look majestic, but they could peck your eyes out if they wanted to.
Cam Cox (CC): Birds of paradise. I like their mating calls.
BTR: What are some influences that go into your sound?
ZA: I’m really into atmospheres, and this album was definitely influenced by ocean and watery sounds. It’s just really peaceful and existential to me. We’d have a recording of a beach atmosphere playing as we jammed and I have that same one throughout the album.
IK: I have always been inspired by the ocean. Every time I am near an ocean or on a beach, all my senses become tuned into the ocean. It’s one of the only experiences where I can just tune out my surroundings and just forget about everything else in the world for a while. That is something I have always wanted to produce with music.
BTR: How did Suburban Birds come to form?
ZA: We all lived together while going to university. All of us had separate projects before and when we knew how everyone was into making music, we did some jams in the apartment. That got loud for our neighbors, so we got a practice space and it rolled from there.
BTR: Did you grow up listening to rock ‘n’ roll and playing music? If not, when did the switch happen for you?
ZA: For sure, I got into recording random songs when I was a teenager. Some of them were weird, but I just liked creating stuff.
IK: When I was a kid, I had an old record player with the Monster Mash vinyl, and I had the cassette with Layla by Derek and the Dominoes. I would listen to Layla nonstop. That’s probably how I got into it.
BTR: What’s currently a favorite band of yours?
ZA: Lately, I’ve been really into Beck. I like how he makes albums have a cohesive atmosphere. I was always into Sea Change, but I started listening Midnite Vultures and to me it’s one of the funkiest and strangest albums ever made.
IK: Khruangbin right now, a super cool band that records in a barn in Texas.
CC: Childish Gambino for me. I love that sound.
BTR: Tell me about this new LP—what was the creative process like?
ZA: We actually started making a much darker album during winter, but then we all decided that we wanted to make something more hopeful and optimistic. So we scrapped the entire album, except for “New Noir.” Some songs we’d jam 10 minute versions of together and then we’d cut it down and I’d write out the lyrics. Some others, like “Kaleidoscope” and “Magnata,” I made some acoustic demos for and then brought them to the band and they made them cooler. We decided we wanted to record it and mix it ourselves to give it a personalized lo-fi sound. We didn’t want this to sound like something from the radio, we wanted it to sound like a dusty record from an attic. Then we gave it to Ryan Morey to master, who did Funeral by Arcade Fire, and we were really excited to work with him.
BTR: Are there any common themes throughout the album?
IK: Water. For some reason, we were into natural disasters and were talking about Lituya Bay, where the largest tsunami in recorded history happened. Because of that, there is always a beachy or washed out sound going on throughout the album, and it kind of ebbs and flows from track to track with some songs more beachy and light, and some songs more chaotic and crazy.
ZA: I wanted every song to really be about something one of us was going through at the time so when I listened back, it means something. And when we got together, we’d talk sometimes about feeling like time is going too fast, refreshing our minds from being caught in routines, learning to accept things. So I put some things like that in each song.
BTR: What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
ZA: “Kaleidoscope” is the one I think we all get the most into lately. We all seem to get into the feeling of that one.
CC: It’s that one or “Out Of Control.”
BTR: What should we be expecting in the future of Suburban Birds?
ZA: We have a lot of ideas for what we are going to do. We have two unreleased albums and a lot of songs, so we’re just going to keep refining things, playing them live to test them out.
IK: We want to do it all honestly. Tour, festivals, more records. It is a difficult time to be a musician for sure, but we definitely want to keep playing and performing music for as long as possible.