There’s some of that going on with Grand Union. ‘Caledonia’ sticks out as blending a bunch of different elements, sound-wise.

Yeah, to me, I think most days that would be my favorite track on the record. There’s just something different about it. I can’t even put it into words, what we captured in that.

With material rooted in old school rock, you get a lot of bands who take a retro approach to production, and you guys have never done that. Grand Union sounds clear and modern.

That’s interesting, because I guess I hear different things from different people. Some people say our stuff is too old fashioned, it sounds exactly like Cream or Humble Pie or whoever. As somebody who really doesn’t listen to those bands, I find that quite amusing, because I don’t think there’s much of a similarity. It’s obvious we’ve heard them a lot and we’ve absorbed a tremendous amount of influence from them, but I don’t think that our records sound very similar. The way studios are run these days, it’s just so different. No matter how hard you try, you can never truly get back to that sound from that period. For me, I’m just happy that we have a record that’s ambient and natural. We just go in there and do our thing. With technology, some of it’s unavoidable, for obvious reasons, but we’re not getting into editing, ProTools, or click tracks or AutoTuning. We’d rather just stand aside from all that.

Carcass is doing summer festivals and Firebird’s doing the UK this month into September. What else do you have coming up?

Carcass is doing three or four more festivals this year and that’s it. Firebird’s doing just tons and tons of UK stuff. We’ve got dates in September, October and November. We’re also going to be playing Sweden and I guess we’ll be going back to Italy. Whether that’ll be before Christmas or just after, I’m not sure. Alongside of this, we’re working on new material. We just want to be, for once, ahead of the game, so we’ve started to get some new tunes together. Smok and myself also have this acoustic duo, so whenever we have a bit of time we get together and play acoustic guitars and sing various weird songs. That’s something else we do. I’ve also been playing guitar in a band from Leeds called Gentlemans Pistols. Their lead player, he left a few weeks back, and they asked me to step in. I was already a fan of the band, they’ve been friends for a few years. That’s been a lot of fun so far.

Grand Union is available now on Rise Above Records. For more info on Firebird, check out myspace.com/firebirdblues.

JJ Koczan thinks you should know this is only a portion of the full Q&A with Bill Steer and if you’d like to read the rest, you can do so at theobelisk.net.

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