Birds of Tokyo flying high: interview with Adam Weston

"AFTER touring with Muse in November and December I think all our favourite places are massive arenas," Birds of Tokyo drummer Adam Weston says from Brisbane, when discussing the band's finest locations.

"If we could play at that every night that would be quite fun indeed."

The Perth-born band Birds of Tokyo has claimed one-digit rankings in Triple J's Hottest 100 over the past few years.

More recently the band's newest, highly celebrated album, March Fires, was certified gold within four weeks of release, with Lanterns reaching number two on the National Australian Airplay Chart and certified triple platinum.

On Tuesday, Adam chatted about the weekend's Triple J's Hottest 100 countdown and what it means to be successful in music today.

"Hi, how are you," the easy-going musician said in a friendly tone as the interview began.

His question was met with an immediate cross-over of friendly formalities. "Hi, how are you - oh good thanks, and yourself?"

The conversation began to flow nicely as Adam said he was just sipping an icy cold glass of water.

"It's getting humid at the moment in Brissy."

While various members were in different areas, Adam said Brisbane was currently his home.

But with the band's busy schedule, he only gets to enjoy a few months at home at a time.

"I guess we don't really hang out in the way we used to. Not like when we lived in the same Perth suburb."

Adam said Ian Kenny, Adam Spark and himself were, back then, all practically in the same street.

The days consisted of studying during the week and hooking up for rehearsals.

"But the way our calendar has been the past five to six years, we're always together," he said.

"Sometimes we just like to plan trips and hang out as a band.

"It can get you down a bit if it starts becoming all work and no play."

FAME: It is hoped Birds of Tokyo hits are included in the Australia Day Triple J Hottest 100 countdown.
FAME: It is hoped Birds of Tokyo hits are included in the Australia Day Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. Contributed

But while they clearly make time for fun, the band is known for hard work.

And it's hoped their efforts will pay off in this weekend's Triple J's Hottest 100 countdown.

"I'd like to see Lanterns get in there," Adam said.

"The song did come up last January - it's been around for a while and sometimes when that happens you tend to forget about those songs."

Adam laughed when asked about band members voting for themselves in the Hottest 100.

"No - we kind of joke about that but whoever is processing, even if it's a machine, we think they'll detect it somehow."

Though the fact of the matter is, it's expected they will have a few songs listed in Sunday's countdown.

But there's no such thing as making it - I think you're only as good as your last record.

"The scene is always changing," Adam said, in relation to what it takes to be successful.

"The way people are connecting with music seems to be changing but the one thing that will never change for emerging bands is the commitment, sacrifice and hard work."

He said in reality, nine out of 10 bands won't have their dream break-through.

"There's too many people getting themselves out there too early and not spending time to hone in their craft," he said.

"But there's no such thing as making it - I think you're only as good as your last record."

When asked whether the mining boom had helped or hindered Perth's live music scene, Adam said: "I guess there's different scenarios."

"I've spoken to a lot of people in bands that have broken up because the money to work away, rather than play in bands, is too good to refuse.

"But then others put bands on hold and earn a bunch of cash and use that to invest in their original plans."

He said in Perth and Western Australia, more bands could tour regionally and there was a great festival now established, called North West Festival, in Port Hedland, which is a short flight away from Perth.

"That's in the epicentre of the mining boom."

In that region, he said the population had jumped from 8000 to about 20,000 since about 2004.

"The infrastructure has tripled. Without that there wouldn't be any reason for bands to go there."

And on that note, with Gladstone in mind, Adam said he thinks the music scene will improve in time if the numbers are there.

In the interim, the band is stoked to be coming to Gladstone in one of their last Aussie shows before heading to Los Angeles for a few months.

"We're really glad we get to come up."

THE BIG EVENT

  • WHAT: Birds of Tokyo concert
  • WHERE: GECC
  • WHEN: Thursday, February 6
  • TICKETS: gladecc.com.au, and be quick before tickets sell out


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