One of the most original and enigmatic bands to emerge in recent years, the Doomed Bird of Providence are a mysterious quintet of musicians who utilise accordion, ukulele, and violin alongside more conventional instruments (guitar and bass) as a backdrop to singer Mark Kluzek’s macabre, gritty account of early Australian history.

The brutal tales of settlers and convicts arriving to a hostile environment soaked in blood, sweat and tears in the shadow of colonialism is captured meticulously in Kluzek’s harrowing lyrics, particularly on their debut album, 'Will Ever Pray', released on Manchester’s Front & Follow records (an earlier, self-titled EP was released on Laily Recordings).

The album’s rich mine of murder ballads might bring to mind a long tradition of Australian acts such as Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (particularly their soundtrack to the film 'The Proposition'), the Scientists, and more recently the Drones, but it manages to sound utterly unique all the same. On 'The Wild Beast of Goat Island' an unfortunate soul is chained to a rock on Goat Island and endures offal being thrown at him; on another track, 'On a Moonlit, Ragged Sea', flies circle around the corpse of an embezzler. Meanwhile the album’s centrepiece is a dramatic five-part suite entitled 'The Massacre', whose ominous droning violin and bloodthirsty lyrics concern the slaughter of the crew of a boat, the Sea Horse.

An intriguing bunch, TDBOP contain members of grindcore pioneers Extreme Noise Terror (authors of such songs as 'Raping the Earth') and luminous avant-rock outfit the Dead Rat Orchestra. The band’s decision to release a remix album of the track 'Fedicia Exine' from 'Will Ever Pray' has shown, too, that they are willing to extend beyond their musical borders. The remix album is a fascinating prospect, with the song manipulated and pulled in different directions.

One of the best remixes, an atmospheric, minimalist, bass-heavy version of the song, is by former Rothko member Mark Beazley, whose new trio Rome Pays Off will be opening the Pennyblackmusic Bands' Night on October 29th at the Half Moon in Herne Hill in London and at which the Doomed Bird of Providence will also be playing.

Pennyblackmusic found out what makes frontman Kluzek tick.


PB: How did the band come together?

MK: It started off as a solo project. Gradually various parties expressed interest in being involved and a band of sorts was formed.

PB: Is there any significance to the band name or would you rather not comment?

MK: It's a reference to a bird that kept the early convict population of Norfolk Island from starvation.

PB: Your songs and lyrics reference the brutal, bloody early colonies in Australia. Some of the lyrics on ‘Will Ever Pray’ are quite harrowing, particularly the references to maggots, entrails, and cutting out tongues, along with the description of the massacre onboard the Sea Horse. What has drawn you to this period?

MK: From reading a fair amount about early Australian history I realised there was a lot of interesting material to create songs from. All the imagery on the album is loosely based on things that really happened.

PB: What made you decide to utilise unconventional instruments such as the accordion and the ukelele?

MK: I believe I initially chose to play the accordion under the influence of Jacques Brel's music. The ukulele came along because my friend Drew offered to play live with the Doomed Bird and we agreed that it worked pretty well.

PB: Can you tell us something about Front and Follow and Laily Recordings?

MK: Front and Follow is a genre defying Manchester label run by Justin and Helen Watson. They have consistently put out great releases. It was a real honour having the opportunity to release an album on the label. Laily Recordings is my own label.

PB: How did you get in touch with members of acts such as Extreme Noise Terror and Dead Rat Orchestra, both of whom now play in TDBOP?

MK: I knew Staff from Extreme Noise Terror as he booked a previous music project I was in a few times, and he expressed interest in performing with the Doomed Bird when I played him some early recordings. Staff introduced me to Daniel from the Dead Rat Orchestra who kindly offered to play violin with the band.

PB: How did the remix album of your material by various artists come about?

MK: This was Justin Watson's idea. I thought the results were fantastic.

PB: What can we expect from the set for the Pennyblackmusic night at the Half Moon?

MK: Some songs from both releases as well some tunes from a forthcoming single. Looking forward to the show.

PB: Thank you.









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