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Ones to Watch: Shy Girls Talks Their Sophomore Album, 'Bird on the Wing'

This week we sat down with Shy Girls, the moniker for artist Dan Vidmar. Vidmar first came to our attention in 2013 with his debut single, “Under Attack”, followed by his next releases, Timeshare EP4WZ mixtape, and—most recently—Salt, which was his full-length debut. Now, Shy Girls’ sophomore album, Bird on the Wing, finally released last week via Keep Cool Projects/RCA Records nearly two years after the release of their last project.

The music is all written, performed, and recorded by Vidmar himself, and the record demonstrates a lot of personal and artistic growth. Shy Girls has collaborated with artists like Cyril Hahn, Tei Shi, Rome Fortune, Junglepussy, and ODESZA, and has also toured with HAIM, Little Dragon, and Maxwell. This spring Shy Girls will be going on a 20-date tour that kicks off in Seattle on April 18.

We met with Vidmar to talk about the long awaited album, his upcoming tour, and more. Plus, listen to Bird on the Wing below.

Your presence on social media dates back to 2014 where you had a very consistent theme with your posts and aesthetic. What sparked you to post in black and white, abstract angles, and with no captions?

In the beginning in 2012/2013, my whole approach to music was behind the scenes via Soundcloud or just sending it to friends without any thought of how I was going to do any press or putting myself at the forefront. I was really into black and white at the time but eventually got into color around the time I put out the 4WZ mixtape because I got bored of the B & W.

Take us through the process of finding your band? 

When I first formed a group it was around a 7 or 8 piece band which I don’t think a lot of people knew at this point. It was a drummer, keyboardist, guitars, back up singers and me. It was a whole experience with all these people that I found through mutual friends. I even found someone on Craigslist but it was mostly Portland homies. As I made the music, they were all really good musicians themselves, coming from either jazz or trained backgrounds. They were able to lock in from the beginning very quickly but apart of the music that I made was influenced by what I knew my friends were into and what I was into at the same time. In that sense, it was a very seamless to find the band.

Where are you most productive when it comes to creating music?

Generally my house is where I am the most productive because I have my full set up there and I feel super comfortable there. Also driving in my car for some reason gets my juices going. In the shower. Thank God for voice memos because it is really how I come up with a lot of ideas. I have moved several times since doing Shy Girls and I always have managed to find a space that I find inspiring.

Tell us about Bird on the Wing; do you feel like each track was pretty seamless to create or was there any that gave you trouble?

This whole album was pretty effortless to make. It was the kind of thing where I felt very inspired, I set some parameters for myself, I bought a bunch of new instruments and only used those. I sat down for several weeks and just demoed every day. I tried to not to be precious about anything at all. I just let my stream of consciousness go and whatever came out that day, I ran with it. And then at the end, there is always going to be that last 10 percent where you realize I have all these songs but then you have to finish them to make them sound presentable. That process took a couple months.

Do you have a favorite track on the album?

That is a good question; I think right now my favorite track is “Lazy Boy”. It’s different and it feels like it is uniquely me.

Was there a track that didn’t make the final cut that you wish did? 

Yes, there were probably a dozen tracks that I demoed at the time and didn’t make it. And maybe I will do something with those someday. But that is part of the process, you got to go through making a bunch of stuff to get in the right headspace but you realize not everything is going to make it, but that is okay. 

You are embarking on a 20-date tour starting in April. What are some places you are most excited to visit?  

My favorite cites are New York, LA, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago etcetera. Those are always fun to play. But I am really excited for Montreal and Santa Fe because I have never played there. Those are two places I have always wanted to go to but, especially Montreal, are rather farther in distance but I love that city and am excited to play there. I am just super excited that people are listening to the album and are enjoying it. And I am excited to be going on tour. Be sure to come say hi!

Stay tuned to Milk for more artists we love.

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