BirdPen are Dave Pen and Mike Bird. Formed in 2003 as a duo making live visuals and videos for bands in their hometown of Southampton, their love of music, film and visuals soon took them onto recording and producing music themselves and they spent the next few years writing and producing literally hundreds of demos in the flat they shared. This learning experimental curve went onto see them self-releasing a handful of well-received EP’s over the next few years before finally unleashing a debut album in 2009 entitled ‘On/Off/Safety/Danger’ that was frequently compared to Radiohead, Depeche Mode, The Beta Band and Talk Talk. For its follow-up, 2012’s ‘Global Lows’, they recorded the album at Eve Studios in Stockport and worked with producer/engineer Jim Spencer (The Charlatans, New Order and Factory Floor) and Frank Arkwright (a renowned mastering engineer based at Abbey Road). The band gained more experience on producing, recording and mixing during the sessions for this album and the album was toured extensively throughout Europe once it was released. Over the years BirdPen have added new elements to their sound and took these elements into the making of their third album ‘In The Company Of Imaginary Friends’ of which Mike and Dave took full control, recording, producing and mixing the album themselves. The band ran a very successful Pledge campaign and toured the album upon its release and then teamed up with Fintage Music International to publish and licence the album globally. It gained excellent reviews in the UK and across Europe and the band toured the album across Europe again.
It was on the day of the “In The Company of Imaginary Friends” release that Mike and Dave were sat at their studio they had set up in The New Forest in Hampshire, England with a general election going on in the country which dominated the national and local press. The band, feeling inspired by all the speeches, spins, false promises and general bullshit that is fed to the nation to gain votes to fail us all that they decided to make another album right there and then all about lies. O’ Mighty Vision was recorded over three intense sessions and is musically filled with atmospheric dark fuzzy doom groove energy and lyrically talking about how we all get screwed over time and time again, the high end stealers and fraudsters, the ridiculousness of politicians with their stupid rehearsed hand gestures begging us to vote for them, the lure of the dark side that comes with power, the fact that we seem to absolutely love a downfall and the continuing desire that we the people can never give up hope!
The album was recorded and produced by the band and mastered at Abbey Road by Frank Arkwright.
Describing their sound as akin to “standing at the end of the world with a smile on your face” and “O’ Mighty Vision sounds like Talking Heads meets Pink Floyd’s Welcome To The Machine” BirdPen are a prime example of a DIY band with everything at their fingertips to play with. Still creating some of their own videos and designing the artwork gives them the freedom to tell a story to their music of no compromise through their own eyes in what is a very controlled world where lies, fear and tit-for-tat crap is force fed to us all on a daily basis.
Outside of the band Mike continues working alongside Dave as part of the successful London-based music collective Archive. For his part, Dave has been an integral part of Archive for over a decade as a singer and guitarist and has co-written on 7 of their studio albums (including the forthcoming new album due for release later this year). The band has a huge following and they continue to tour large venues and perform at major European festivals.
Dave has also collaborated with songwriter/composer Robin Foster. The pair wrote the main song for the film ‘Metro Manila’ (scored by Foster), which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was also nominated for a BAFTA. The soundtrack itself was nominated for a World Soundtrack Award. Dave continues to collaborate with Robin and they have their own artist project called We Are Bodies of which the debut album was released in 2015. They continue to write together with new material released soon.
Mike Bird and Dave Pen who are BirdPen certainly show no signs of falling off the solid perch they have built for themselves up until now and O’ Mighty Vision’s eight tracks of stories from the underground will take you on a journey of high end city rollers skimming millions off the top, drug crazed chairmen at the controls of it all, the promises, promises, promises, the lies, the need to fight back, shady deals, murder, and the ongoing strength from within to be free, because sometimes you can’t give a fuck, because there is madness everywhere.
O’ Mighty Vision is released on August 26th 2016 through the bands own label J.A.R Records and published and licensed through Fintage Music International B.V.
“The composition and detail of this music is at times astonishing. This is a truly remarkable work, surrender to it”
- Prog Magazine
"In the Company of Imaginary Friends has what it takes to develop long-term-effects."
- Classic Rock Magazine
"An hypnotic and timeless record that evokes comparison towards all eras of progressive rock, from Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Manfred Man to Talk Talk and the better days of Depeche Mode until Radiohead and Archive. Bird and Pen are masters of the artistic understatement.”
- Eclipsed Magazine
"With wonderful calm and melancholic songs Pen and Bird are taking us away into their own sound universe"
- Slam Magazine