The Daily Tune caught up with the English Budgies after another great performance in salt Lake City, Utah.
Joe Vickrey – Vocals and Guitar
Jena Vickrey – Vocals and Bass
Jacob Dayton – Drums
Daily Tune: What was the inspiration for the name “English Budgies”?
Joe: We just saw English Budgies, like the actual bird and we were talking about them off hand once and just thought that would be really cool band name.
Jen: Plus the bird is really smart and cute.
Joe: Yeah, they are like weird little birds that are loud and goofy.
Daily Tune: Is this more of a “as an idea comes” you just roll with it like how you take your image in marketing where is the band a bit deeper than that to you?
Jen: I think with marketing we’re just kind of rolling with the punches cause we don’t really know how to market music in the 21st century. We just know how to write it and we really enjoy doing that. so I feel we take the music really passionately with writing and with marketing we’re just trying all kinds of stuff cause we really don’t know what we’re doing.
Joe: Yeah, the music is very thought out, but our image is just sort of on a whim.
Daily Tune: For the music I can see almost separate genres throughout the singles you guys release, do you guys have an overall sound you’re going for or is it in a moment you decide what style you want to go for next?
Joe: It’s just, I don’t know we will come up with a song and by the time we write it and record it for release it changes so much and I think we’re just so caught up in making the song the best it can be that we kind of lose track of any influence we wanted to have over it. Like we could start out with “what if we wanted to do a modest mouse thing or a Johnny Marr thing” and it can come out sounding like Nirvana.
Daily Tune: If you had to pick only one well known and as your biggest influence who would it be?
Joe: Red Hot Chili Peppers, I wouldn’t be the guitarist I am without them.
Jen: Probably Radiohead, I just feel like I learned a lot listening to every song, even if they’re not my favorite songs. They all just really know what they’re doing so it’s really fascinating to listen to them.
Daily Tune: Do you guys have an big local influences? Or a favorite local band?
Joe: For right now I think, I just saw them live it’s “Fake Nice” it’s just super cool like distorted echoing almost out of control vocals with this like garage rock style. Their drummer is so tight and she was so hard on the kit and my mind was blown by that, I’m excited to see what they do.
Jen: I was gonna say “Fake Nice” too, but I would say before they broke up and became “kippersnack” when “sardines” gave out their EP and hearing that quality I’ve never really heard a local band try that hard and it inspired us to try to make our mixes that good.
Joe: We totally stole their mixing guy, that’s who mixes our stuff. We heard it and we were like “oh we gotta get that guy” so Shaun who is in charge of “Kippersnack” and now we both use him so there’s good blood.
Daily Tune: what would be your favorite song that you’ve written?
Jen: Mine right now is “Haunted House” just cause it’s different and the lyrics are meaningful. I had this jazz progression that I was working on and it was one of those moments where it was gonna be this jazzy song and then it turned into this very Radiohead inspired thing.
Joe: The recording is allot different than the way we do it live so we’re hoping to get it out sooner than later.
Jen: It was just a fun process to write cause it changed so much.
Joe: It started really fast like almost a Latin feel and then somehow we slowed it down then we had an idea to change it to keyboard so it became this electronic thing that we’ve never really delved into.
Jen: I think we wrote it back in August and it’s just taken this long to write it and it’s just been really fun.
Joe: I think Pollock for me is just so fun cause there is so much I can do with it and I kind of change it every time we play it. I’m always trying to see what I can get away with in the lyrics, I didn’t do it tonight but one of the changes I do is at the end of the second verse I change it to “I’ve been taxed I’ve been bled, I’ve been short of breath and I know that Epstein didn’t kill himself” I just like to get a rise with that.
Daily Tune: What is something you guys want to make the audience feel when they listen to your music?
Joe: I just wanna make them feel. Every song is different for me, like “Do Your Worst” I want you to get pumped and slightly angry and then “Pollock” I just wanna make people move and feel something inside.
Jen: that’s interesting cause mine is a very different answer. I think just cause I’ve only been playing bass for about a year and a half and I’ve only been singing for about a year I just feel like I’m trying to prove myself so I try really hard to have good stage presence so I think for me it’s a gaining respect gaining recognition thing and trying really hard to prove that I love this you know? I’m not just trying to fake it.
Daily Tune: to close out the interview do you guys have any words of wisdom?
Joe: For people wanting to go to shows the community especially in Utah is so loving like I went to a show and I was so nervous I didn’t know anyone there and by the end I had a few new friends and everyone here is totally supportive and I love that. If you were in a band trying to get around my advice is to make friends with everyone cause you’re all in it together. I’ve never reached out to someone and then had a bad experience from it.
Jen: I think my advice would be, you can’t have the school and the work and the social life and then be in a band, I think you have to put four hours a day into it at least. You have to give it something and for us that was like with work we had to give up hours, give up video games and eating out it takes money and time and to think you can do it all but if you really want to do this you have to get those four hours a day.
REVIEW: The English Budgies have also announced the release of two new singles (Coming Soon!). Follow on socials and Spotify to get a first listen to “Haunted” and “Hey, Elise” to be released May 22nd.
Of the two releases, Hey Elise sounds more in the ballpark of what we’ve heard from the Budgies so far, that’s not to say it’s old news though. This single captures a punk esque sound while bringing something fresh and melodic often missing from recent punk / indie tracks.
Haunted House has a much more hypnotic sound that puts you in a trance. This is an exciting release that has some added synth sounds and has been composed brilliantly.
English Budgies Interview Part 2 – Gear Talk!
Daily Tune: I’ve noticed generally you float more towards offsets, what makes you go for something like a Jag or a Jazzmaster?
Joe: you know it’s funny, like two years ago I was not an offset guy at all, all I had was like telecasters or Les pauls and Jen used to have a Jaguar and I hated it but now when I picked up the one I played tonight it was just a magic moment where I thought ” I have to do this” and then I saw Courtney Barnett live and she pulled out a Jazzmaster with humbuckers and I loved that, to me it was a mind blowing moment so now I’m kind of painted in the offset world. Some of the recordings for rhythm stuff I’ll use a tele still.
Daily Tune: I love your bass with the paint you had on it and the sound of it, tell me a bit about that?
Jen: So it was inspired by Jackson Pollock, the bass when I bought it I loved the sound but it looked ugly as hell. It’s a Steve Harris signature from Iron Maiden and we just took some acrylic paint and just splattered it and it just kind of formed into whatever it looks like now.
Daily Tune: Aside from your main instrument what is your favorite or most essential piece of gear you own
Joe: Fender amps probably, I couldn’t exist without a Fender amp but for like a weird piece of gear that I’ve had for years is this Trex yellow drive and it’s this two channel drive that I always thought was a cheap piece of crap but it’s like an always on drive for me.
Jen: am I allowed to say pickups? I researched what bass I wanted for a year and I just wanted to sound like Paul Simmons from the clash, that very mid 70’s big pbass sound and I just couldn’t find it, come to find out Steve Harris specifically built his guitar after a mid 70’s pbass and it was just amazing finding these pickups, they’re that perfect sound I was looking for.
Daily Tune: Your bass definitely cut through the mix incredibly well and it sounds amazing and huge.
Joe: Since we’re only a three piece were always fighting to see how much sound we can get and everyone has to kind of pull their weight with that.