23 November 2011

Scots Way-Hay #77 - The Birthday Suit

They say you should never meet your heroes, thankfully for Idlewild's Rod Jones, he was spared the joy of having to speak to me in person. What with the band that he made his name with, going on an indefinite hiatus (damn you At The Drive In for ever coining that phrase), Rod has been keeping himself busy a new project by the name of The Birthday Suit. What with his partner in crime Roddy Woomble having morphed into a folk singer, Rod has gone in the opposite direction and gone back to his rock roots. The one thing that strikes me about The Birthday Suit is that they sound more of a unit than a group of musicians indulging one mans self indulgent project - that's meant to be a compliment. Anyway, that's enough of my ramblings here's Rod to tell you a bit more about his new band...

Hello, would you care to intoduce yourself to the Peenko readers?

Hello there. I'm Rod Jones of The Birthday Suit.

How did you all get to know each other, and come to be in a band together?

Most of us have been friends for a while and have worked together on various projects so when I was looking to put together the band it was an easy decision to involve them.

What would you say are the biggest musical infleunces on the band?

Songwriting wise anything from Sonic Youth to Bruce Springsteen to Crosby Stills and Nash. Although we don't sound like alot of the influences I think we take elements from everything we listen to, sometimes without knowing it.

In comparison to your earlier solo material which was a lot more mellow, The Birthday Suit is much more rock orientated, was this something you consciously set out to do with this band?

To an extent yes. I had started to write another record and it was sounding like a natural progression of the first but I just felt I needed a change. I missed playing rock music and wanted to see if I could make a record in that genre, outside of Idlewild.

Having been part of the music industry for over 16 years, does it feel harder to motivate yourself to be creative and challenge yourself or is this something that has never really left you?

Not at all. I make music because I enjoy it and playing with different people and writing new songs is motivation enough. I can't wait to get out and play this record live.

With your parnter in crime Roddy (Woomble) pursuing a much more folk orientated sound, are you enjoying being able to get back to playing heavier tunes?

I am. Although I do enjoy playing acoustic and trying different styles, I had missed the energy and frenetic nature of playing rock music. There is also something exciting about the uncertainty of a new band.

In recent years you've been involved in a number of projects, including the Scottish Mental Health Foundation's “Music Like A Vitamin” and more recently with The Fruit Tree Foundation. How did you end up getting involved with these projects? And how important to you is it to be able to do things like this?

I was approached by the Foundation a few years ago to help curate some shows to raise awareness and I jumped at the chance. It's something that is close to my heart and that I have really enjoyed being part of. The Fruit Tree was born due to a feeling I had that we were raising alot of awareness, but only around the festival dates. I really wanted to do something that had more longevity and would be around after the festival. Making records is what I know best and so it seemed the obvious choice. We now are "branching out" a little and have started a mentor program, putting together established musicians with new unsigned acts to give them a head start in the industry. I'm fortunate that I am afforded the time to do these projects which are in many ways the most fulfilling things I do.

What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond? Have you started thinking about working on any new material yet?

For the next few months we will be playing live and trying to build our fan base but I have started writing a second record and plan to record around Easter time. I feel we are just starting out and have a good way to go as a band yet and I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes.

The Birthday Suit - Do You Ever?

The Birthday Suit's debut album, 'The Eleventh Hour' is available to buy now for £7.99 directly from the band on their official website. The band play live at Beat Generator in Dundee on the 25thg of this month, followed by appearances at the Tollbooth in Stirling on the 26th and the 9th of December at the Greenside Hotel in Glenrothes. Then in the New Year they're hitting up King Tuts in Glasgow on Sun day the 19th of February. For further dates keep checking the bands website.

  • The Birthday Suit
    Rod Jones

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