They won our Year End Readers' Poll. You know them. You love them. And so do I. Here is my interview with Criminal Birds...
D: How did you guys come together?
CB: Three of the birds (Grahm Robinson, Taylor Dondlinger, Reggie Hastings) began playing together in high school and formed their first band together, Copasetic. After a year of struggling to find a competent and dedicated bass player the group disbanded in 2010 and reformed with the addition of bassist Gunnar Ebeling in 2011. The group is now known as Criminal Birds.
D: What's the story behind your band name?
CB: One evening we were "brainstorming" what we'd like to call ourselves. In that process we came up with more jokes than actual names. A very close friend of ours blurted "Criminal Birds" and initially we laughed, thinking that was his input to the "Who Can Come Up With The Most Ridiculous Name" game. This story ends with a text telling him that the name stuck and us asking for permission to use it.
D: What's your songwriting process like?
CB: Reggie is definitely the primary lyricist, but the music is totally collaborative. It starts in the jam room, typically with just one or two elements (bass & drums, etc.) Then we add layers, alter parts, and keep chipping away at it until we have a clear idea of what the song is or could be, and then we polish it. We like to keep the sounds fresh and ideas plentiful.
D: If you could tour anywhere, where would it be and why?
CB: Europe, no question.
D: Being from Denton, how did it feel to play in Austin for the first time?
CB: It felt a bit like home. The show was a success, we had an excellent crowd, saw some old faces, and met several new ones. It was also our first ever road trip with our new band wagon, so now it feels almost nostalgic to play in Austin.
D: There seems to be a burgeoning music scene in Denton, in your experience, how does it compare to Austin?
CB: In the past we've heard a lot of people try to put Denton and Austin in this sort of contest as if one is better than the other. Both scenes are teeming with talent, and have both produced numerous nationally and internationally successful acts, which to us speaks volumes. Naturally we tip our hats to our hometown, however the music fans and show goers in Austin have exceeded our expectations of the scene over the past year.
D: How stoked were you to hear you won our Readers' Poll?
CB: Like any competition, we were excited to win, but we were especially pleased to win this given Deli Magazine's track record and popularity. The credit really goes to our fans who voted and helped spread the word.
D: What's on the horizon for Criminal Birds?
CB: We will be releasing our sophomore EP in April followed by touring. We intend to really focus on Texas this time around. Which means we'll be stopping by to hang out with you guys quite a bit this Spring.
D: Long term goals and dreams?
CB: Like any aspiring musician, we'd all like to make the band a full time endeavor. Being able to book longer tours and eventually quit our day jobs is the main goal. Touring overseas would be pretty badass as well.
D: Anything else you'd like to say?
CB: Thanks to the reader for taking time and interest in us and what we do. Thanks to Deli and our fans for making this all happen. Just, thanks.
D: You're welcome. Best of luck to you guys. -- Interviewed by Charise Sowells