Jade Bird catches up with Atwood Magazine for a chat about her new collaboration with producer Mura Masa, “Burn The Hard Drive,” and discusses the song’s background. Amid personal struggles, she perseveres to find the light again and use it to shepherd in a new musical season.
Stream: “Burn the Hard Drive” – Jade Bird
I’ve learned that my independence is paramount, that my ability to love is unending and fulfilling, and that in my art I really have my own voice and I can’t let that get diluted.
Jade Bird is ready to step into a new era.
The English singer/songwriter recently released the new single “Burn the Hard Drive,” an introspective, melodic synth pop collaboration with British producer Mura Masa. It depicts the dissolution of a relationship and the fiery, resolute desire to eliminate the memories for good.
“This song is about how my engagement ended… how one minute we store precious memories, the next you delete, erase and burn them. It’s a song I never thought I would write,” Bird shares with Atwood Magazine.
The bass line pirouettes around the drums, persuasive but restrained in this wonderfully mid-tempo gem, allowing the vocals and production to shine in equal measure. The flutes and the fluttering keys provide an airiness that supports the contemplative, wistful nature of the song. “Burn The Hard Drive” allows us to live in our heads a little bit, to poke around inside and sort through the clutter to find and hold onto the things that have the most meaning to us.
It’s too late
Too hard to make you love me again
Too many things that I cannot change
So my heart, it starts to pixelate
There’s no good goodbye
No right way to die
Photos only remind
So burn the hard drive
In the song’s video, Bird appears alone against expansive landscape backdrops that make her much smaller in comparison, showing that the world is still grand even though this portion of your life might be shrinking you down. You can look around and still be able to witness the grandness of life.
In the story of this song, a loved one gradually loses interest.
You aren’t willing to fully accept this at first, but you see the signs approaching. As things begin to recede from your control, you resolve to destroy that place inside you where the memories lie in order to ignite their elimination. It’s a process of clearing out the weight of the pain and nostalgia these memories leave you with.
But a strength emerges from this fraught situation. You learn to become a better, fuller version of yourself, and transmute the grief into tools useful for growth. “I think I’ve learned that my independence is paramount, and that in my art I really have my own voice and I can’t let that get diluted,” says Bird of reexamining herself through the lens of a breakup.
Fall away from you
It only takes so long
‘Till there’s nothing left to do
But erase moments one by one
If I had to choose
There be nothing left to remind me of
You, you, you
In the spirit of clearing out the old to make way for the new, Jade Bird has been sharing some of her old song demos with fans throughout the last year. Making listeners privy to the songwriting process was important to her; it comes from a natural feeling of wanting to share the emotional moments of life with them. “I’m a songwriter, so why on earth would I not be sharing these really emotional moments of my life just because they weren’t on a release schedule?”
The spirit of community pervades this song from its composition to its accompanying music video. Of working with Mura Masa, Bird tells Atwood Magazine that the collaboration has allowed her to feel the most understood she’s felt in her whole career, and describes her working relationship with director and videographer Aries Moross:
“Aries has known me since the very start and shot the ‘Lottery’ and ‘Uh Huh’ music videos [from debut album Jade Bird], so starting a new year with them felt so full-circle and cathartic.”
Now a new creative era begins. Jade Bird is revitalized, her confidence and humor restored, and she’s wielding the light to impede the darkness.
She’s looking forward to getting back out in front of audiences to play with a refreshed feeling, free from the heaviness of previous baggage. She finds inspiration in everything from the new Americana wave of music to the lasting connections she feels with her fans: “The fact that people have stuck with me for that long and have made a memory is so beautiful, I think it’s my favorite part of the job. It genuinely makes me emotional,” Bird shares.
With eyes to the horizon, Jade Bird spoke with Atwood Magazine about “Burn The Hard Drive,” recent developments in her personal life, working with music icon Linda Perry, the connection she feels with her fans and what to expect from her new era of music.
Stream: “Burn the Hard Drive” – Jade Bird
A CONVERSATION WITH JADE BIRD
Atwood Magazine: Firstly, I want to congratulate you on the release of “Burn the Hard Drive”! What were your favorite things about collaborating with Mura Masa and Aries Moross on this song and video?
Jade Bird: I think having these collaborators allowed me to feel the most understood I have in my whole career. Aries has known me since the very start and shot the “Lottery” & “Uh Huh” videos [from debut album Jade Bird], so starting a new year with them was just so full-circle and cathartic.
You mentioned in a social media post about the song’s debut that “I think my subconscious knew before I did that (my last relationship) was over. But also, that the ending would be where so much more could begin.” What was going on at the time you were writing this, and what have you noticed has begun in the meantime?
Jade Bird: I think as I mentioned, my relationship was entirely crumbling and I was in a tornado of low self-esteem and all of those feelings you can imagine come with that. What’s beginning is a creative era with my light back, my sense of humor and my confidence.
In examining the pitfalls of a relationship we often end up reexamining ourselves through the same lens. What have you learned about yourself through the dissolution of your previous relationship?
Jade Bird: Great question! I think I’ve learned that my independence is paramount, that my ability to love is unending and fulfilling, and that in my art I really have my own voice and I can’t let that get diluted.
This collaboration brings to mind the opening track, “DKOL,” on 2021’s Different Kinds of Light. Both have electronic, ambient-based production, and are both very different from your other songs. What was the significance of this new avenue, and do you have a desire to continue incorporating sounds like that into your music?
Jade Bird: It’s ironic, that was actually made by my ex-fiancé in my tiny garage when I had a real intrigue into the world of atmosphere and synthesis. I think it feels in line with what I wanted at the time, sort of pixelating sounds, but right now I’m going back to my voice and my acoustic leading the way.
In the song’s video, you’re depicted alone in several sprawling locations (driving a long stretch of road, roaming expansive fields, in the middle of several streets and freeways, standing in a very large, mostly-vacant parking lot). Why did you decide to include these scenes?
Jade Bird: We definitely wanted to shoot where I lived, which is now Los Angeles, so that inspired the locations you see. It was run and gun, a point-and-shoot sort of vibe.
How has the relationship with your fans and the kinds of things you’re able to share with them informed you as a writer and artist?
Jade Bird: I think my fans—it feels strange to say fans—but people I’ve met and who support me along the way are the kindest and truly make me feel safe to share. I had this epiphany on the second record where I knew I needed to share a little more about what these songs were about. “Houdini” was sort of received as a breakup song, but it’s really about my dad. You can interpret songs however you want, but I want to express as much vulnerability as I can to give people connection and context with these little babies I’m really proud of.
In one of our last chats back in 2021, you mentioned wanting to convey “a sense of community, especially to all the young women I had met along the way.” Why is it important to you to maintain the sense of community you have with your fans?
Jade Bird: What’s so special is I still have messages like “I saw you in 2019 supporting Hozier,” and “We met at the Brandi [Carlile] show” even now! The fact that people have stuck with me for that long and have made a memory is so beautiful, I think it’s my favorite part of the job. It genuinely makes me emotional.
Last year, you collaborated with the legendary Linda Perry on the song “Find A Way” for the Nyad film soundtrack. What stands out the most to you about that experience?
Jade Bird: I love Linda so much and have such an infinite respect for her. I was flattered when she called me for that. The most memorable was probably her in my headphones vocal producing me. I’m usually so controlling in my own delivery, so it was really funny to go with someone else’s direction, like, “This is your vision Linda, I’m here, tell me what to do!” [laughs]
In 2023, you began releasing some demos of your older or unreleased songs through Substack (“Stay Broke,” “As Far As He Knows,” “17,” and “Marry Myself”). Why was it important for you to do this?
Jade Bird: I’ve really been trying to let people in on the process of making an album, which for me is writing hundreds of songs that never see the light of day. I’m a songwriter, so why on earth would I not be sharing these really emotional moments of my life just because they weren’t on a release schedule, you know? I think it’s something I’m going to continue to do forever I guess, because I’m never going to stop writing songs, ever.
How do you find balance in sharing your authenticity as a songwriter and protecting the parts of yourself that may be more vulnerable?
Jade Bird: Another great question! I’m definitely reckoning with that. I think the people in my life that I love and who love me I am far more hesitant to share about, but I think that I was purposefully not sharing the stories of these songs that I wrote out of a lot of pain.
I got to the point where I didn’t know who I was protecting by not giving the sentiment of the songs away, but it wasn’t me. So I’m feeling way more open, because it’s healing to know those experiences are shared. Most often, life isn’t perfect and you can struggle and not have to look bullet-proof, which is a huge lesson for me personally.
What are you most excited for in this new era of your career?
Jade Bird: I’m so excited to play live again. Obviously I played with my ex-fiancé in my band before, and I really can’t wait to get out there on my own two feet and unload. [laughs]
What kinds of things have been inspiring you lately, musically and non-musically?
Jade Bird: I’m super inspired by this new Americana wave. I listened to the new Waxahatchee song the other day and was like “woah.” Sierra Ferrel is also blowing my mind. They make me want to rush and grab my guitar and write.
You mentioned on Instagram that your next album “may be bigger and louder” than Different Kinds of Light. What kinds of influences and sounds can listeners expect to hear across this upcoming third album?
Jade Bird: It’s very much like my debut. My vocals up front, live drums, a lot [being done] around the acoustic. There are definitely some new reaches into soundscapes: there’s songs with drum machines now. I’m Benjamin Button-ing. [laughs]
The songwriting is the best I’ve ever done. That’s usually the thing I really judge myself on, so I always say this, but it really is the best thing I’ve ever done.
Stream: “Burn the Hard Drive” – Jade Bird
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© Aries Moross
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