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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Stacking The Deck with Birch
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

Armed with killer synths, and a frontwoman with an incredible vocal range, Birch have been at the forefront of the NYC’s indie pop scene since releasing their debut EP, Halfway, in 2015.

The Birch duo of Michelle Birsky and Mat Towles followed up Halfway with a bevy of live shows, a series of Living Room sessions on their YouTube channel, and this year’s Not Human EP.


I caught up with Michelle and Mat – who are currently putting the finishing touches on their next project, which is set to be released in 2018 – before their recent show at Mercury Lounge. We opened up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about badass women, silver foxes, and dreams of chaotic mathcore greatness.



Cher

Michelle: She’s obviously fucking iconic. I’ve always been obsessed with her hair. And when was the time she dressed up like Cleopatra?

Mat: Probably like every Friday night.

Michelle: That’s what stuck out to me. I don’t even remember which song it was, but I think it was a music video where she was dressed up like Cleopatra, and in my head I thought Cher and Cleopatra were the same person when I was like six years old.

Were you really upset by history books?

Michelle: I was a little confused about, chronologically, the order of events in this life, in this world. {laughs} I was like six.

Then when I found out Sonny died, by running into a tree while skiing, that really fucked me up for a while.

Mat: Cher’s one of those people that, as you get older, she becomes less funny, and more like oh, this is a true badass. She has the silly costumes, and her voice is really wild when you’re a kid, but when you get older your like oh, this person actually rules.

Michelle: She’s really cool.

Mat: Her Twitter’s awesome.

She’s totally no holds barred on Twitter, and at her age, why hold back?

Mat: Yeah, exactly. I hope that when I’m her age there’s some new nascent technology that I can take advantage of to troll younger people, and awful politicians.

On a boldness level, from 1 to Cher, where are you right now in life?

Michelle: Oh God. I’m like a 2. I need to up it.



Sting

Sticking with the AARP artists, Sting.

Mat: I love Sting.

Michelle: I think that Sting is the only man over the age of 70 that I would fuck. {laughs}

Mat: Wow. Is he even over 70?

Michelle: I think he is almost 70. (editor’s note: he’s 66)

Mat: But you keep that list running in your head.

Michelle: It’s a one person list. It’s not hard. I saw him play with Paul Simon a couple years ago, and he’s so fucking hot, and he’s old, like really old.

And he can do that tantric sex stuff, so if you’re in row 36 he can still have sex with you from the stage.

Michelle: Exactly. It’s pretty amazing.

Mat: He’s actually really influential to me. I don’t know how much he gets into our music, but in the same vein as Cher, when you grow up past an artist’s prime you only hear their hits, or you only know about their outsized persona, but when I started to get into The Police’s early stuff it’s like oh, that’s where all this music came from!



John Lennon

Michelle: One time in middle school, in chorus, we did a Beatles medley, and I had not one, but two solos, and I sang … I forget which songs.

Mat: Great story.

{laughs}

Michelle: I think I sang “Yesterday,” and the one about the …

Mat: That’s a Paul song.

So you had a Beatles middle school experience, and you had two solos, so it was pretty clear early on this was going to be your path in life.

Michelle: Exactly. And Yoko, I still love you.

Mat: Yoko wins. Put that in writing.

Michelle: Yoko is the baddest bitch. I hate everyone who hates Yoko.

Mat: Yoko’s the best member of The Beatles, besides Ringo. It goes Ringo, then Yoko, and then the rest of them are tied.



The Pretenders

Mat: Chrissie Hynde is one of the most badass people. Look at her.

That record, that first record, kind of like changed me. I got into it a little late, but “Precious” is just one of the best rock n roll songs ever made. When she says “Fuck off” …

We didn’t hear that lot in that era.

Mat: Yeah, especially coming from a woman, just being like, “Fuck off!” It gave me chills the first time I heard it.



U2

Michelle: Do you remember the time U2 put their music on our iPhones? It was just on my phone, taking up space, and I did not ask for that. I think that was super obnoxious.

But wouldn’t you love to do it yourself?

Michelle: I wouldn’t, because I don’t want to be that kind of person that’s like LISTEN TO ME!

Mat: I would, but only if I were in math grindcore band.

Michelle: Chaotic mathcore. {laughs}

Mat: Yeah, I’d want to be in a chaotic mathcore band, and like I knew an intern at Apple, and he got us on.

And everyone on the subway hears it simultaneously.

Mat: It plays automatically. It’s like a weather alert.



Dread Zeppelin

Mat: I just want to point out to everyone reading at home, the band consists of five reggae musicians and an Elvis impersonator named Tortelvis, and performs mostly covers of Led Zeppelin favorites.

Michelle: Do they still exist as a band? Would they cover Birch?


For more Birch, check out birchmusicnyc.com.

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