Discovery: Mega Bog
ABOVE: MEGA BOG’S ERIN BIRGY. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW SWANSON
It’s impossible to define Mega Bog; built mainly on one-off collaborations with other musicians, its lineup changes show-in, show-out. But the one constant is Erin Birgy: Mega Bog is her brainchild. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter hones her natural state for much of her music, singing of skinny-dipping, adventuring, loving others and herself. Her pensive reverbed whispers create a dreamy landscape that listeners have difficulty escaping. In it, they find tranquility.
Mega Bog’s experimental-rock/dream-pop—or what Birgy recently dubbed “peace metal” in an interview with The Coast—has garnered quite the following out West thanks to Birgy’s endearingly infectious and oddball sound. Her live shows make everyone, if only for a moment, feel understood and at peace, despite—or maybe because of—the melancholia her lyrics sometimes express. Birgy’s incorporation of the saxophone in her latest string of releases creates a haunting thread to match her celestial sighs.
Five years and countless self-released compilations later, Mega Bog’s long-awaited debut LP, Gone Banana, finally drops September 23 via Seattle’s Couple Skate. Now on tour, the band is performing in New York tonight, August 13. The Silent Barn outing marks Birgy’s New York City debut with Easy Peasy, the new project from Ryan Howe of Punks On Mars and Luke Perry fame. Joining them is Montreal’s Sheer Agony and Brooklyn pop project EZTV. In anticipation of the show, we spoke with Birgy about being a “musician,” exploring New York, and collaborating with artists she loves.
HOMETOWN: Seattle, Washington
ON MEGA BOG’S ORIGINS: I feel like it’s just a group of friends that’s been pretty ambiguous at times, but I’ve been at the center of it since we started. And we started in 2009, I guess. After a swimming trip, we just started playing music together and sharing songs. My friend Zach Burba, who’s also playing New York soon, he’s been in the band a lot of the time, and we always include each other on the record. He’s from Phoenix but he lives in Seattle.
ON CRITICS CALLING HER A ” TRULY STRANGE SOUL”: I don’t know that I would identify as “strange,” but I think a lot of people are kind of uncomfortable by my trying to experience whatever shared spirit is possible, and maybe that’s why I’m called “weird” and “quirky.”
ON IDENTIFYING AS A MUSICIAN: I feel like saying “musician” is a really ambiguous term. I don’t even identify as a musician, I just make a lot of music. But I respect the people that call themselves musicians—I think that there’s a big difference between people identifying as musicians and those that, I don’t know, my music is just being. There’s a lot to be discovered by being really wild and being open other people’s wildness.
ON CHOOSING “YEAR OF PATIENCE” AS HER FIRST SINGLE: Everybody else really liked that song, and I think it’s a good song. It’s got the punch. Maybe a lot of the other tracks on the record aren’t as punchy as “Year Of Patience.” It was the first song that was written out of all those songs. I didn’t even know if it would go on the record, actually.
ON COLLABORATING WITH OTHER MUSIC-MAKERS: I try to be very involved in the community over [in Seattle], and, I mean, I get myself involved in a lot of communities. I’m in Montreal right now and have a band here that’s really awesome. I don’t know—I just approach people because I have, like, 40 projects going on at the moment, and they were very excited to start playing. I’m also always telling them how awesome they are, and beautiful, and how I could benefit off working with them.
ON MAKING MUSIC IN SEATTLE: It’s so encouraging, and everybody’s just sort of helping each other get to the next level—and the next level not necessarily being a record deal, but just pushing yourselves musically? Pushing all the time and offering spaces and just outlets to do what you believe in doing. I don’t think I would be very far if that place didn’t exist.
ON WEDNESDAY’S SILENT BARN SHOW: My Montreal band is actually going to be coming down, and they all play in a band called Sheer Agony. They’re people that I met on tour two years ago, and we’ve been wanting to hang out for a really long time, and now we’re finally doing it! They’re gonna be playing, too, and I think that I’m gonna be playing drums with them. They’re just a fabulous pop band. I was so obsessed with their music, and I feel so fortunate to be able to play with them now.
ON HER FAVORITE THING TO DO IN NEW YORK: There is so much! I have no idea, it’s such an unreal city. It’s so different than Seattle. I love just walking around. I love riding the Staten Island Ferry—I just did that pretty recently for the first time. So many friends moved to New York so it’s great to go and keep up with them, but it’s also very hard because it’s a huge city, but I love the train. I love public transportation.
CATCH MEGA BOG THIS WEDNESDAY, AUG. 13 AT SILENT BARN. GONE BANANA IS OUT SEPT. 23 VIA COUPLE SKATE. FOR MORE ON MEGA BOG, VISIT THE BAND’S FACEBOOK PAGE.