Reminiscent of Fiona Apple and Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine), Dead Bird Lady is the solo project of singer-songwriter Laura Salas. Drawing inspiration from Icelandic and Latin-American folklore, Dead Bird Lady has a unique and otherworldly sound. We speak with Laura about her single ‘February’, music videos and much more!
Can you tell us about your single ‘February’?
‘February’ is my first single that was released last December. It is a soft melancholic but hopeful ballad about mental health and finding balance with oneself. The overall atmosphere is highly inspired by my walks along the ocean when living in Reykjavík, Iceland. It is musically slightly different from my other alt-folk style songs as it is more contemplative and calmer, but it felt like the best way to give an honest introduction of myself. I chose to go for a minimalistic approach in the production as I wanted to focus on the message of the lyrics.
Something I love about this song is I have had a few people come to me and say they’ve listened to it after a stressful day and they actually felt more peaceful as if the weight of the stress lifted. This is honestly the best I could hope for. ‘February’ was meant as a liberating and cathartic song for myself, and I hope it can help others as much as it has helped me.
What was the recording and writing process like?
‘February’ has been in process for a few years. See, I’m constantly writing bits of lyrics to use for later, so the first lyrics were written a couple of years ago. However, it’s during the first lockdown that I finally had the space to shape it into its final form. Like many indie musicians at that time, I performed all of the instruments and vocals for this single in the comfort of my bedroom. I trusted sound magician Alexis Michallek for the mixing and he was able to really enhance my vision for ‘February’ and created something I consider beautiful.
Why did you choose to make a music video?
I think we are all aware of the importance of the visual aspect of music today and a music video is probably one of the best ways to introduce people to your world, but that’s not the sole reason I wanted to make a video for ‘February’. Whenever I am writing a song, I instinctively envision it in terms of shapes, colours and textures, so it made sense to present this song through this medium as well.
Did you face any challenges when producing the video?
Oh yes, many! The video was also shot during lockdown, so I had to do the entire production alone. From the props and makeup to lights and camera work and even the editing. It’s not easy to crawl under a tripod in a cool dress and still look together while lip-syncing right after. Sure, it was challenging, but I still had a lot of fun making it and believe it or not, no glasses were broken during the shoot!
What inspires you to make music?
Anything really. I’ve always found myself playing music or singing random melodies without thinking. Music is essential. It’s what makes me happy, relaxes me and allows me to express what’s on my mind.
I am an overthinker by nature and as a child, I’ve quickly developed the habit of taking notes of my thoughts and ideas in a notebook or a recording device. I still do it to this day, the only difference being that I now put these words to music.
I like to write and sing about what I know. I believe it results in the most sincere and powerful messages. From actual personal experiences, friends’ stories, colours, a conversation, landscapes …. anything that I care about can inspire a song, really. I love being able to set a memory “in stone” and keep that feeling forever.
Do you come from a musical family?
I’d say my family culture is deeply linked to music. My great grandfather was well-known Costa Rican poet and musician José Joaquín Salas Pérez, and my cousin Ricardo Machado was a founding member of the reggae fusion band Cocofunka. But trained musicians or not, everyone I know will still be an avid listener or a creative in their own way. I’m lucky to have been encouraged to dive into my creative side from a young age.
I have early memories of my older siblings playing the piano and thinking that as soon as I am old enough, I’d play too. So, I did. I started playing the piano at 5 and took on as many instruments as I could as I grew up: the violin, guitar, flute, and more recently the mandolin and the autoharp.
If you could change something about the music video what would it be?
Honestly, I don’t think I’d change much. At some point when you create something, you have to accept that this is the final edit. Ok… maybe I’d change some tiny details which I won’t mention because no one but me would notice them, but I consider these lessons for the next video.
What is the best way to discover new music nowadays?
If this were more than a year ago, I would have said live music of course. I love attending festivals, going from one small stage to another, discovering artists I wouldn’t have come across another way. But considering the current situation, music videos and playlists are likely the most common medium to discover new music.
Can you recommend any new artists to our readers?
Sure thing. There have been plenty of amazing releases over the last few months, but I have two in mind. I recommend you listen to UK-based dream-pop and visual artist Clementine Blue (FKA Tiger Lion). She recently released her song ‘Island’, which is one of my favourite tracks of 2021. There is also the French master of musical textures Sacha Bernardson, who’s far from being new but you should check his beautiful ‘Pearly Ants’ and everything else he’s created.
Do you have future plans?
Yes! I have just finished recording my first EP called the granny house which will be released in a few months. This is a result of many years of work and I am very excited to share these songs soon, starting with a new single by the summer.