Music Journeys: Bird and Byron
Blake Bergere and Nick Lorenz formed Bird and Byron after college, recording their first songs in 2020 and four more this year. The WonderBus Festival marks the duo's first live session in almost two years due to the pandemic. They talk about the inspiration for their new songs and in the spirit of WonderBus, which also shines a light on mental health, Bird and Byron share their own struggles and what's helped.
In The Clear plays...
Ohio-natives Blake Bergere and Nick Lorenz form the duo Bird and Byron. In The Clear marks one of four recent singles, which collectively represent struggle, redemption, ascent, and hope.
"I think the last year or so has been really taxing mentally and hard to get through the day sometimes," Bird said. "I think we wrote music to partially bring up the spirits but also inspire. It was almost like therapy for us writing these songs. There was a lot of emotion."
"Yeah, I think another common theme would be hope," Byron said. "We really witnessed a lot of people's struggles mentally and physically due to the pandemic. We wanted to make an escape through our music with a hopeful message. In the Clear shows everything is going to get better eventually, we just need to stick together and get through it."
"When I was really young, my family would have childhood dance nights in our living room," Bird recalled. "My dad had a big stereo system and would crank it. That's the first time I remember really enjoying dancing and listening to music."
"For me, the earliest time that it impacted me was probably the trips my dad and I made to my baseball games and practices," Byron reflected. "On the drive to the field, he'd have a CD collection in his car. That's where I started to gain some taste in music"
"We were both doing music in college and linked up after school through the connection of his mom," Bird said of forming the duo with Byron. "We've known each other as childhood friends for a while but didn't realize how serious we were about music until we got out of school. We started writing together, and we've been at it for about two and a half years now."
The Boy Is A Storm plays...
"We recorded it in an apartment in Los Angeles when we were living there for a brief period of time," Bird said of the duo's first song The Boy Is A Storm. "I was going through some stuff. We went in, and I recorded vocals in a closet. I just remember weeping afterward. It just felt good, kind of like therapy."
Year After Year plays...
"That first verse brings together the whole song," Bird said of Year After Year. "I'm just wrestling with how to live life at this time. My profession is completely halted. I'm just struggling with how to continue on as a productive and happy person. What should I listen to, what should I not listen to in order to stay sane. Life is what you give and take and make. It's simpler than you think. You just gotta keep going."
"Another one of our songs, Sunshine Shakedown, is pretty meaningful to me," Byron added. "We're trying to show hope through this dark period. Even coming up with the guitar hook in the chorus, I wanted it to feel like you're floating in a more bright melody. I feel like that matches the lyrical content in that song of making the most of the summer and coming out of this."
Sunshine Shakedown plays...
"When we started out, we were so green," Bird said. "We thought let's put out music, promote it, hopefully people like it, and we'll gain a big following. We quickly learned the effort to do this thing full time. We didn't expect it. Now we're on TikTok a lot."
Where'd All The Time Go plays...
"We thought we'd be playing live more," Bird said. "We're playing live on TikTok, but it's grown our audience even bigger than we'd ever imagined, and it's still going."
"Yeah, I was a little weary about TikTok," Byron admitted. "Then we started making One Take Tuesdays. Just seeing the reach we were getting, we thought let's stick with it and make the most of it and try to connect with as many people as we can."
Would You Believe plays...
"For me to deal with some of these tougher situations, it's been a mix of regular therapy and exercise," Bird said of mental health. "When I was down in 2020, I just went to the gym and started running. I ran all winter. It would center my mind. It helped bring me back from below and more to the middle. I always have some level of sadness hanging on my shoulders, but I'm always trying to hit center and not fall too deep. Nick keeps me centered."
"Yeah it's kind of weird, but the same place where we were trying to name our band," Byron continued. "Byron came from James Dean's middle name, and we thought the alliteration worked. I was obsessed about reading books about him and his mindset on life really changed how I see things. Just that you should take every opportunity you have and make the most of it and try not to get too down about things. It helps me stay centered and try not to get too depressed with things. Working out helps a lot mentally too and then playing guitar and writing music regularly is my escape."
Bird and Byron perform Saturday afternoon at the WonderBus Music & Arts Festival. Wonderbusfest.com for details about the lineup and safety protocols.