Birch’s New Song Calls Out Haters Who Hide Behind Their Phones
We all have that friend on social media who annoyingly posts a never ending commentary on all things Trumptastic. You may have had it already and deleted this friend, or you may still be trying to be polite and deal with this person in which case, hats off to you, girl.
Chances are, this person is likely also the person who comments on things and says all the shit that should not be said and uses #sorrynotsorry or #ImmaDoMe after the shitty things they say. Insert eye roll here.
Well, Brooklyn-based electro-pop duo Birch wrote a song about this person, aptly called, “Cell Phone.”
“It was during the early stages of the election and I started reading people’s comments and was struck by just how hateful so many of them were,” frontwoman Michelle Birsky says. “The way people speak to each other when they’re hiding behind a screen makes me so angry.”
If reading political comments on your feed has your head ready to explode, then this tune is one you need to listen to.
“The song is about how technology, particularly our ability to hide behind it, can keep us from remembering that we are all human,” Michelle adds.
Also bonus, Birch tackles topics from technology to women’s history and gender equality, you know, all the important stuff — check out “Cell Phone” below, and then peep our Q&A with singer Michelle Birsky.
What inspired you to write “Cell Phone”?
The inspiration for “Cell Phone” came from one of those internet deep-dives that we all inflict upon ourselves. The song focuses on this from a female lens, I’ve found that men are much more likely to be insanely misogynistic when masked by a certain level of anonymity.
What was the inspiration behind the cover art, which includes drawn on eyes? Is there a meaning behind that?
There is! The EP “Not Human” is about the ways in which we forget that we are all one (human). Each song demonstrates a specific reason (Cell Phone, for example, is about how technology keeps us separate). The eyes drawn on top of my eyelids symbolize our current way of seeing the world: we think we are awake, we look awake, but in reality we are blinded by fear/hate/separateness.
We’ve heard rumors that the next album is going to be centered around women’s history. Can you reveal anything about what we can expect from that?
I can tell you that the album takes you through the past 100 or so years of female evolution in the US, with topics ranging from intersectionality to abortion rights to free speech.
Why is singing about women’s history and women’s rights important to you?
Women make up 50% of the world, and yet, we have still not reached a place of gender equality. I believe that in, order to make change now, we need to understand our past. Systemic sexism is real and the only way to break it is to understand the root causes. The more women step up and make their voices heard, the faster things will change.
What do you hope listeners will get from your music?
We are all one. Diversity is good. Love each other. Don’t be mean.
What’s the story behind the name “Birch”?
Growing up I spent a lot of time at my family’s house in Vermont. In the yard there were two small birch trees that had gone through many Winter storms and were bent towards the ground. But they never fell. When I moved to NY I liked the dichotomy of nature vs. metropolis. Birch is a nod toward my quiet roots and a symbol of persistence.
Did you seek out a specific sound on this EP or for your music in general?
I decided to go in a different direction with this EP as my sound and taste evolved. Our last EP “Halfway” was made as a four-piece band and had a more indie-rock sound to it. Since late 2015, when that EP was released, the band has slimmed down to a duo, just me and my pal Mat Towles, and we use more electronic instruments. “Not Human” was made almost entirely in my producer Ariel Loh’s apartment, as we added layers of electronic sounds and vocal loops. This way of making music is more fun for me, it’s more hands-on.
What are your inspirations to write songs? Who are you musical influences?
I’m very inspired by what is going on in the world right now, particularly our current political climate in the US and the inequalities of the world. I write to understand it. In terms of musical influences, I listen to a lot of female musicians: St Vincent, Grimes, FKA Twigs, Sylvan Esso.
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