Bird Machine are Luke and Jenna Grbin, a pair of lovers from Geelong, Australia, and Hamilton, New Zealand. Combining distinct musical sensibilities, their current batch of songs reminisces on early 90s alt-rock and dreampop with inflections of folk, wrapped up in plush pop melodies. Their jointly penned lyrics, at once commentative and introspective, shimmer within layered vocals above a swirling tapestry of guitars, keys, and syncopated beats. Their songs are written, performed, recorded, and produced by the two in a little bedroom in the New Zealand suburbs.
Both husband and wife gained an appreciation for music at a very young age. His parents’ CD collection was formative of Luke’s musical background. Before ever holding one, he was always fascinated with the guitar, and his first felt natural in his hands. Even as a child, music was transcendental and inspirational. While Luke pursued studies in architecture, and currently is undergoing a PhD, his true passion lies with music. Today Luke records music and plays live to hopefully make others feel something too. Jenna grew up in Hamilton and was born into a musical family of 8 kids who all sang and performed in family shows and tours. Two of her siblings were even on the 90s show McDonald’s Young Entertainers. In her teens, she got her first guitar and ramped up her song writing, she took her voice around New Zealand on school performing arts tours and celebrated her roots in a Māori kapa-haka group. She’s been writing songs that move people ever since. Today, the two challenge each other’s songwriting and compositional conventions to synthesize their distinct styles.
The duo released their much-anticipated self-titled debut EP 25th of November and to celebrate, they hit the stage at Last place Hamilton the same night, for their EP release show.
Described as a collection of good and bad dreams, the 5-track EP is a dreamy mix of alt-rock, pop and folk - what’s become known as the Bird Machine sound. “We’re super excited to be releasing our debut EP and feel the songs are really a combination of our styles and musical instincts. They reflect our desire to move people in some way - whether spurring them on to action or giving comfort.”
Alongside single ‘Our Kind’ (Top 11 Radio One Chart + over 23k streams across platforms to date), ‘Moneyache’ and ‘I’m Right Here’, is previously unreleased ‘Time and Space’ - a gently floating and rolling single. “‘Time and Space’ is about living in the wake of personal loss,” says Bird Machine. “It tries to express the ways we are reminded of someone who’s left us, and how losing someone can feel like losing ourselves. It’s drawn from our own experience and perception of the world, so it’s very personal.”
While writing and recording their EP, the husband and wife duo have been busy juggling work - Jenna as a freelance graphic designer and Luke for an architecture firm while also embarking on his PhD at the University of Waikato in Urban Planning - and also two energetic kids, Finley (3) and Liam (5).
“Having spent many hours, outside of work and time with the kids, to produce this record ourselves at home, it was a labour of love. But it never felt like work, just what the two of us wanted to do with our lives. Our kids even get into it, often singing our songs around the house.”
EP Track listing
Twice in the Heart
Time & Space
I’m Right Here
Bird Machine plan to hit the road with a NZ tour early next year.