Rogue Valley, Oregon-based quintet Nightbird Casino emerged onto the scene as a duo and in the last six months have manifested into the fully functional unit they are today. Known for their ambient and cohesive indie signature sound and inspired by prominent 90s artists like Hum, Interpol, Silverchair and Radiohead, the band formed in 2017 and quickly began hitting the ground running, putting out a handful of prominent releases since their inception into the market and proving that their artistic merit is more than deserving of your undivided attention.
Now in 2021, with their highly anticipated upcoming LP ‘Russian Carpet’ slated to release in two days on September 5th, we got a chance to sit down with the members of Nightbird Casino for a comprehensive interview where we got to discuss the past, present and future of the band.
•How long have you guys been active under your artist/band name?
Nightbird Casino has been around in some fashion since mid-2017. The band was started by myself (James Moore, lead vocals/guitar/piano) and Don Shepherd (guitar/piano/backing vocals). We met in a tribute band and branched off to start writing our own original music. It took until 2020 for us to get serious and actually write a full album. It wasn’t until early 2021 that we recruited our other three members (Oliver Orion – drums / Amanda Moore – ondes martenot/keyboards / Patrick Manville – bass) and really took off.
•What music scene/city do you currently represent?
Currently we live in Medford, which is in southern Oregon – but there’s not much of a music scene here at all. We’re originally from LA, so ultimately I’d say we have much more of an LA vibe than a rural Oregon vibe.
•The pandemic has really thrown a wrench into the live music experience and for artists altogether. How has it affected you and your career (if at all)?
It’s been a mixed bag for us. On the downside, we haven’t been able to tour, which has been frustrating of course. It’s pretty difficult to build an audience without playing any shows. On the plus side, it’s allowed us an enormous amount of time to write and record. I doubt we would’ve finished two full LPs, a live album, an EP, and four singles in just over a year if it weren’t for the pandemic.
•What are some of your music influences?
There are five of us in this band and we all draw from different influences. Some of those might include some more indie/alternative rock artists: Interpol, Radiohead, The National, King Krule, Modest Mouse … a lot of early 90s grunge i.e. Nirvana, Bush; The Beach Boys are a big influence, lots of classical music too.
•What kind of concepts do you tend to write about as an artist? Shine some light on that.
I don’t have a particular subject matter I plan out when writing lyrics, but I think most of our songs have themes of alienation and anxiety running through them. I tend to use intimate personal stories and dreams as metaphors for more big picture concepts about what’s happening in the world. Frequently I’ll find out what I was writing about after the song is finished… lyrics are usually the last part I finish. I’ll write down words and phrases and stream of consciousness ideas and then I look at it all and think ok, what is this about? What was my subconscious trying to say through these lyrics? There’s also a pretty prominenttheme of psychedelia and the psychedelic experience that comes up again and again.
•If you could put together a dream show or tour, what bands/artists would be on the bill?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard question. We’d love to tour with Radiohead or Modest Mouse, I think our style of music would make sense with those bands.
•When is your next release coming out?
Our 2nd LP, Russian Carpet, will be released on September 5, 2021. (on all streaming services everywhere, physical copies available to purchase via our website nightbirdcasino.com).
•What’s in store for you in 2021? Give us the goods.
So much. Our second LP Russian Carpet will be released in a few days as I mentioned. We also have a live album / video series that’ll be released in some fashion later this year. Also, with a full band in place and some covid restrictions easing, we’re finally able to start playing shows and touring. We’re currently planning a west coast tour as we speak. Also also, we’re in the beginning stages of LP3 – we’ve just started putting together some ideas for new songs and we’ll be recording that in – hopefully – early 2022 with Matt Talbot of HUM.