birds may bite bio
birds may bite - where truth of the moment songs meet cinematic arrangements of voice, accordion, banjo, typewriters and more...
Delicate, intricate, and intimate, with Birds May Bite composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Scott Adams sketches dreamy watercolor portraits of the everyday and deeply human. The gauzy bedroom haze that drapes itself across the record belies the carefully considered sonics and judiciously applied instrumentation in which Adams wraps his tales of broken love in its myriad permutations; the lonely yearning of the unrequited, the desperate empathy of the voyeur, and broad-stoke brokenness of the new alone.
Adams grew up in Spokane, WA, fed a steady diet of elevator music, schmaltzy pop, and big band. As a teen he was captured by the arms race of the fastest, best galloping metal guitar music, which in turn led to speed metal, punk, and the playing of keg parties in college. Post-graduation Adams headed west to the dim lights and (then) small city of Seattle and its burgeoning grunge scene. “I was responding to ads in the local paper The Rocket, trying to find people to play with as a guitarist,” explains Adams. “I couldn't find any bands that wrote good songs. So I decided I should write them myself.” He released a three-song cassette in 1993, then formed a quirky trio that wrote naughty sex folk songs called the Service Berries.
Driven by a profound desire to further his ever-deepening music knowledge Adams enrolled at the prestigious Cornish College of the Arts as a composition major. He thrived in the new environment, writing for everything from full orchestra, to string quartets, to jazz big band, and beyond. Adams dabbled in electronic music, and even co-wrote a musical.
Adams graduated in 2000 and, taking the name from a sign he saw at the Woodland Park Zoo, started writing the songs for the first Birds May Bite record. Over the next few years he wrote a children’s musical, scored for a parade band, and sang in a Tuvan style overtone choir. A voracious performer, Adams joined and performed in, variously: pit bands for musicals, an all accordion band called Hell's Bellows, a traditional Irish band, a polka band, and a Gamelan. He performed free improvised music, accompanied an improv comedy duo, and taught music at an Elementary School.
Then Adams discovered the Immersion Composition Society, an underground network of composers, organized into independent groups, called lodges, who periodically spend one or more days composing unusually large volumes of music for the purpose of creating raw material for their new projects. “The goal is not to write great songs, it's to create as many as possible” says Adams. “Over the course of the day, you get into a groove and your critical/editor mind melts away; hopefully you are able to transcend some of your normal pitfalls. And maybe you do write some great songs! Anyhow, this works for me and all of these songs were written using this method.’
Adams was writing so many songs that he decided he would attempt to produce one complete track with full instrumentation per week. For a year he kept it up, working away in his little three-hundred square foot mother-in- law apartment. “It looks like a cross between a tree fort and a boat and boasts a view of a lush green space” says Adams. He started at the beginning of 2012 and managed one each week. The dozen songs that comprise Just To Taste are his favorite of those fifty-two, yet to get to the fifty-two that he recorded required writing hundreds.
Adams took the roughs to Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho and worked with Engineer/Producer Floyd Reitsma (Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam) to finish tracking and mix the record. “I met Floyd when the Klezmer fusion band I play with, The Debaucherauntes, recorded at Litho” explains Adams. Adams played the bulk of the instruments, and the record features additional contributions by jazz composer Amy Denio, Queen Shmooquan, and the 2012 CHA Middle School horns.
Overall, Just To Taste is a musical diary of a year spent fully, hermetically immersed in music. “I'm here because of the artists that came before. There's nothing else I've really wanted to do or felt suited to do. My purpose is to pay it forward. There's nothing else like that moment when a song captures your fascination, maybe sends a chill. I want to give that gift to someone else” says Adams. “I'm not eager to do the same thing again though. I'm eager to make another record, but I think I got the 'solitary man' out of my system on this one."
About Scott Adams
Scott Adams is a musician based in Seattle. He is a composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist in a variety of contexts. He has recorded in an underground cistern, performed music with an improv theater group, composed for full orchestra, played Javanese gamelan, played banjo in a polka band, co-written musicals (including one for children), performed on radio, written music for a parade, and is a recovering elementary school music teacher.
Current projects in addition to birds may bite:
The Debaucherauntes (klezmer fusion)
Trio de Femmes (post genre!)
Hell's Bellows (accordion quartet)
Some historic projects:
Ivory in Ice World (avant-pop?)
Erin McNamee Band (Irish band, covers)
2 Caterpillars (children's songs)
Seattle Harmonic Voices (overtone singing choir)
Monktail Creative Music Concern (improvisers)
Queen Shmooquan (guitarist in her pit band)
Secret Chefs 3 (multi instruments)
Boxitania (multi-media parade nationality)
Scott Adams appears on recordings by:
Bill Horist, Filastine & Nova, Seattle Harmonic Voices, Reptet, Joy Tyrants, Aaron English, Gamelan Pacifica, Smilin’ Scandinavians, Beef Curtains, Mended Heart, Daughters of Joy, and Susan Harper