The Bird and the Bee Talk ‘Recreational Love’ + Possible New Tribute Album
LA-based indie-pop duo the Bird and the Bee are one of the most vibrant acts to come out of the west coast in some time, which is refreshingly ironic considering their life experience and firm position as parents and family-oriented individuals.
Their latest album, Recreational Love, which was just released on July 17 via Rostrum Records, is a recognition of the difficulty that non-committal romance presents. It's a testament to the fact that "friends with benefits" simply does not work. The disc, which has been in the works for five years, serves as the band's follow-up to 2010's Interpreting the Maters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates.
We had the chance to chat with frontwoman Inara George about the album, their kooky new music video for "Will You Dance?," as well as the possibility of a new tribute album coming soon. Check out our exclusive interview below:
How was it working with Patton Oswalt and Simon Helberg on your music video for "Will You Dance?" ... and why sing from a bathroom stall?
[Laughs] Well, Simon is actually a really old friend of me and my husband and then Patton is a newer friend of Greg's [Kurstin] and they're both super lovely and fun. We tried to make it super easy and quick. As for the bathroom idea, Greg and I were trying to think of a way to sort of express a part of the song about just doing something without caring, you know? Like dancing while nobody's watching. That's the kind of feeling we got with the idea and thought that it would be a fun way to express that. My husband does movies and I mean, if you've ever been on a video shoot or any shoot for that matter there's always a lot going on. When I see what's on camera there were a couple of moments that were hilarious. We were all packed into a bathroom with a smoke machine and disco lights so I'd say that was a pretty funny experience.
How do you find time to balance your two projects, the Bird and the Bee and the Living Sisters?
Well, I think Living Sisters is sort of similar to the Bird and the Bee. For the Bird and the Bee, we work continuously. We have one day a week that we hold just for us, in the morning, every Friday. We only work on the Bird and the Bee while we're together -- we never spend any outside time working separately on the band except if it's like finishing up or mixing, but because we're continuously working it's not a huge time commitment. It becomes more of a time commitment when you put a record out, obviously, but with the Living Sisters we'll decide to make a record and pull it together really fast and record it really fast. They don't really overlap all that much. There's not much I can really put all of my attention to because I have three kids and that's my number one job. Everything else kind of fits in where it can. This release, however, is probably the most time I've had to spend on any musical project since having kids, so it's been difficult, but you have to really manage your time well.
Were you and Greg often on the same page when it came to producing the new album?
Well, you know, Greg is really the primary producer, but I think that he is very interested in what I think about stuff. He would work on something, and I'm always very excited about whatever he's doing, but we were kind of talking about what we wanted it to sound like and what sounds we wanted to hear, so I think yes, he's going to ask me what I think about things but he's definitely steering the ship in that way.
Why did you choose to dedicate your 2010 album to Hall and Oates?
We had done a cover of "I Can't Go For That" and we had this idea of doing a cover record and so, we just found that it seemed like a challenging and fun project to do. We are both fans of Daryl Hall and John Oates and I don't know, it just seemed to make sense for us because we like to explore pop music, whether it be the Bee Gees or Burt Bacharach, or sometimes pop music that doesn't get as much credit as it should. It just seemed like Hall and Oates was a good idea.
Will there be any more tribute albums to come?
There will. We're about to start working on one. We think we've found our "tributee" if that's how you say it. We just have a direction at this point, so we haven't started working on anything yet, but soon.
Where did the tennis theme come from for the new record and cover?
Well, I had come up with the title of the song, "Recreational Love," before I even wrote it, but I thought it was kind of an interesting title for a record. I think the song is actually more about how there isn't such a thing as recreational love, but for musicians, taking pictures are not always the most comfortable thing to do. It's not what we're trained to do, so when you have some kind of concept, which we've always had for any photo shoot that we've done, like the time before for Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future we did a spy theme. When you have a concept it just gives you something to work toward.
Is that central theme of "recreational love" something personal for you?
I mean, I think any young girl has experienced that "thing" of feeling like you're into some guy or person and they keep telling you that it's not that they don't want to be with you but it's just not what they do or they're not capable of it. I think ultimately, the truth of the matter is, that of course they're capable of it, it's what everyone needs eventually. It's just that they're not into you that much. So I think that's the reality of it and I think yeah, of course I've felt it. I think anyone who has had romantic exchanges would agree that it's a universal experience.
What types of life circumstances got in the way of releasing the album sooner?
I think it's mostly having kids and I just think that life gets fuller and more complicated. Greg is a very busy guy. He's an in-demand producer, but the fact that he makes the time to do this is great. We both really love doing it but it's definitely not the first thing on our list of things that we have to do. We have families and other obligations that we have to do. You know, we don't make our living off of the Bird and the Bee and it's definitely a thing that we do for fun, that we enjoy to do.
Are you planning on any type of full tour in support of the album?
No. I think we're going to do little shows here and there, like two-day or one-day shows, but nothing elaborate. We just can't get away. I mean, we're both in our 40s and we've done a lot of touring in our lives and because our music is not really our bread and butter we just can't really afford to leave our families for that long. I'm mostly a stay-at-home mom and Greg is a very busy guy. We love to play but it's very time consuming and when you go on tour you're away from your family and you're missing out on them getting bigger and so that's really all it is. It's not that we don't enjoy playing -- we love it, we just can't get away.