“So I’ve been a really shitty person to the people I care about the most for some time now. I’ve been drinking too much, saying things that I don’t mean, and pushing everyone who I care about the most in my life as far away from me as possible. This is my apology. I’m getting my shit together. I love you all. You know who you are.” – James Harvey
Photo by Rosie Presnell
You haven’t met James Harvey and neither have I, but in searching out the man behind White Birds through their songs and the internet I’ve become fascinated with what drives him. Most creatives can relate to the focused desire to create at all costs and see projects through, being so deeply involved in process as to build up a barrier to the outside world and the ones who care about you the most. I know I’m guilty of this – alienating myself from friends and family when I’m having internal fights to wrap up a project. The thing about creative projects is that there never really is a finish line and it’s always on to the next. It’s a strange perpetual dynamic and maybe the reason that I really find something therapeutic in doing mindless, finite things like laundry or going for a drive. After a project is over – it’s over. That’s when you realize that the projects are constantly evolving while the relationships are the most constant and ultimately maybe of the most importance.
Once a four piece band, James Harvey is the now the sole remaining member of Doylestown, Pennsylvania’s White Birds. The act has migrated more into a recording project than a performance – the other members moving on to a new act as Night Panther. James has a background in opera which lends a wide range of genre blending in When Women Played Drums, their eleven song release from 2012. The album lives in a beautiful dream world of lo-fi pop, doo wop, and reverb as a cover-up for the hurt of cheated love which is what the majority of the album is about. White Birds, in its melodic simplicity, takes flight by getting rid of unnecessary elements and channeling the small things that do matter with layering. I can only hope that somehow the creative passion of this project lives on through James and the other founding members.
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