PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hey, thanks for having me. I’m James Moore, I’m the vocalist and guitarist for Nightbird Casino. We’re a post-punk and gothic rock-inspired four-piece indie band from southern Oregon.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
Our last single, Sunglasses After Sex, was released a few weeks ago. It’s a post-apocalyptic song about climate change masquerading as a love song. We do have a new album in the works – possibly releasing late this year but no exact date yet Sunglasses will definitely be on the album.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
I often find myself inspired by new pieces of gear and this song was no exception. The main guitar riff was inspired by an analog delay pedal, the Akai Headrush. I love those, I currently have two in my rig. All of my guitar parts in Sunglasses rely heavily on delay.
Of course, from a musical perspective, all of our songs are a team effort – I wrote the guitar for this particular one, but at the end of the day, the song wouldn’t exist as it does without the rest of the band.
Lyrically, like many of my songs, everything is told from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. On a surface level, it’s a rather shallow love song – maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s a sex and drugs song. But under the surface, it’s about humans ignoring climate change. Really, it’s about the seemingly endless human capability to avoid dealing with any problem in favor of living in ignorance, which is of course more comfortable – for a time. I started writing the lyrics last summer, and it was blisteringly hot here in Oregon – we were having weeks straight of 100F days (that’s 38C for you in the UK), and you couldn’t be outside for more than a few minutes … hence the opening line, “hot summer and we suffer the sun”.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
Internet, doing hot girl shit. Maybe babe you should be throwing a fit.
That’s one of my favorite lyrics and I think it sums up the “message”, if there is one, fairly well.
As far as our new album, it’s very much still in the beginning stages, but my hope is it will be more personal and more intense than our previous works.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
I’m gonna go with two if that’s okay – Neon Ballroom by silverchair and Hail to the Thief by Radiohead.
Neon Ballroom I picked up off a girl’s bedroom floor and took it home. We broke up a week later so she never got the album back … but that record blew my mind. At the time I was listening to pretty much whatever was on the radio. Neon Ballroom was the first time I can remember classical orchestration mixing so flawlessly with rock music. It opened up a new world of music to me and has inspired by writing ever since. It’s also the album that got me playing guitar seriously, and got me into singing.
Hail to the Thief was by introduction to Radiohead. I was just a kid when Kid A and OK Computer came out … but I clearly remember driving home from work at 16 and hearing “There, There” come on the Radiohead. I was like “who is this?” … of course we didn’t have Shazam back them so I had to keep listening to the radio until it came on again and some dj finally said it was Radiohead. I went out and bought the record the next day. Later I realized, wait this is the “Creep” guys?? Obviously, I’ve had a obsessive love of Radiohead ever since.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
I can’t not plug my own music video, so yes, Nightbird Casino’s video for Sunglasses After Sex is pretty amazing. We filmed it in our drummer’s back yard and you should absolutely check it out on YouTube.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
Sleeping, listening to music, or nervously drinking coffee. Or some combination of those things.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I don’t, but I think that just comes with experience. I can’t speak for my bandmates, but we’ve all been doing this in some capacity for a while. The first show I ever played, I was 19, and I thought I was going to vomit. My hands were literally cramping up… I don’t even know how I managed to play, but I did. I was in a cover band and I was the bassist – I sang lead vocals on one song, and I was dying inside leading up to that moment. Somehow I got through the song and the fear kind of evaporated. Every show after that there was a little less fear until eventually it just kind of dissipated.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
So back in 2017, maybe 2016, I was living in Los Angeles and playing guitar in a band called I Lit a Fire. The drummer, Kelly Hutchinson, approached me and asked if I wanted to start a side project to explore some more experimental music ideas. We started meeting at a studio in Anaheim every weekend … it was nothing formal, the band didn’t have a name right away, and it was just us two at first. We were both singing, switching back and forth between keys, guitar, bass … he was also playing drums and eventually we had a few different drummers who would jam with us sometimes. We wrote a handful of Nightbird Casino songs: Flume, Catharsis Train, Cascades, Amuse Bouche … I think those were the first ones. Eventually we named the project “Nightbird Casino” and recorded a 4-track EP. We never played any shows, and eventually went our separate ways – quite literally, we both moved away from LA in opposite directions.
Around 2020, Kelly sent me some songs he’d been working on and I suggested we get together and see if we could develop those or write anything new. So over the course of a month in 2020, we wrote our first album, Gregorian Nap. It was a combination of old 2017-18 Nightbird tunes, solo stuff we’d each written, and some new songs we wrote that month. Since then, Kelly has gone back to releasing solo music but I kept the Nightbird Casino name and brought Oliver, Mandy, and Landon on and here we are.
HOW DO YOU WRITE?
We all write equally. I write all the lyrics and vocal melodies, but that’s done after the songs are completely developed, which is a group effort.
Every song happens a little differently – some are born out of improvised jams, but generally, one of us will write something – maybe a riff, or a chord progression, and then bring it to the rest of the band. Most of us write on piano or guitar (including Oliver, our drummer) initially … and then that will evolve – eventually – into a fully formed song.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
From a musical perspective, I’m inspired by hearing what other musicians have done and are doing, by gear – any particular instrument, pedal, software, what have you – might inspire me.
From a lyrical perspective, at this point in my life I find myself inspired by what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in my own life, and in observing other people.
WHAT IS NEXT?
We’re taking over the world, of course.
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.
Sure thing … you can check us out on
And we’re streaming on every major platform – Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, whatever you listen to.