Birds and Arrows on new album, learning to ‘let your weird flag fly’

Birds and Arrows on new album, learning to ‘let your weird flag fly’
Birds and Arrows on new album, learning to ‘let your weird flag fly’

Birds and Arrows – the rock band made up of couple Andrea and Pete Connolly – made their Chapel Hill debut 15 years ago with often acoustic folk music. But their new record Electric Bones leans into the electric side of the band with the help of some friends in Tucson, Arizona, where they’ve lived since 2016.

They took the stage Friday night at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro for a homecoming of sorts.

Andrea and Pete recently joined WUNC to talk about the inspiration behind the album.

This is an excerpt from an edited transcript of that conversation. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the LISTEN button at the top of this article.

Is “Dark Watchers” about climate change and ancient trees watching and experiencing wildfires out of control?

Andrea: “Yes, that is part of it.”

Peter: “It mentions the redwood fires and everything, but it’s also about this legend on the mid-California coast about it, like spirit watchers.”

I quite like this idea. Where did you hear this story?

Andrea: “We actually did a writing retreat in Carmel, California, you know, right up the coast for this album. And we did it right before COVID hit. We went there and spent a week and came back with almost half of the album. And one of the songs, “Dark Watchers,” was written there.

“And so we looked into a lot of local folklore and because Carmel and this whole area is so foggy and kind of weird and scary, but also beautiful at the same time. That juxtaposition really inspired us to write this. And then see – hike through these redwood forests – and see half-burnt redwoods that are as old as they can be, but survive these fires. It was just a very interesting way to think about time.

I liked the attitude in “Gemini”, Andrea, where you sing “If my light is too bright, you better cover your eyes, ‘Cause I won’t pretend, just so you can take it .” Have you had compromises in your career that you are tired of?

Andrea: “Yes, of course. I especially want to be a little more into the folk scene, everyone really expects you to sing nicely and look pretty and there’s that expectation to be a certain way. And when we went out to Tucson a What was really refreshing was how free it was. Like, everyone in this area lets their weird flag fly in amazing ways. And so we felt we could do that more than ever. And so I just kind of had this independence and this kind of feeling of, ‘I am who I am.’ I turned 40, so I thought, you know, I don’t need to worry about it as much as I used to. I can go wild, I can be whatever I want to be.

I have to ask you about “RadioShack” because I remember going to these stores as a kid and trying to figure out how to make a radio from scratch. But really, it sounds like a protest song about how ubiquitous technology has become in our lives. Is this a good catch?

Peter: “It’s a good catch. It’s just kind of a commentary on the whole level of technology and how much it almost interferes in your life. And I know that’s supposed to be useful, but I write songs that yearn for the days of simpler technology.”

Andrea and Pete Connelly are “birds and arrows”. Their new record is called Electric bones. You can catch them on Friday, September 2 at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro.

. Birds Arrows on new album learning let float your flag weird

. Birds Arrows album learning weird flag fly

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