Not long after I hang up the phone with Mega Bog’s songwriter Erin Birgy, I look up a video she mentioned called Bridges-Go-Round by Shirley Clark. Bridges is first on the list of films that inspired her own music videos, like the one she made for “London.” But in Bridges, I see her music as much as I see her filmmaking.
Bridges looks both DIY and art school. It’s a montage of bridges in NYC set against “abrasive jazz,” as Birgy says. The film strikes me as beautiful but funny, if your sense of humor is twisted just so.
In anticipation of her show with Destroyer at Black Cat on January 28, we talked about her upcoming video projects and records, her favorite DC haunts and how this tour came about. Destroyer’s Dan Bejar had caught a Mega Bog show in Brooklyn and decided to approach Birgy about touring together. What she thought had been a subpar show was apparently “some of the only music [Bejar had] liked in years.”
I learned of her love of sci-fi when discussing her post-tour plans, which include shooting several pilot episodes for a new Star Trek series. She’s also reading Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem, which is having a moment since Cixin’s interview with The Atlantic. Ursula K. Le Guin is her favorite though, and she’s currently reading one of her books as well. Sci-fi also factors into Birgy’s DC plans.
“I have a couple book stores I like to go to [in DC], but I don’t even know what they’re called,” she said. “I just sort of end up walking there.”
Birgy’s interest in Star Trek was reawoken when she turned on Next Generation just to see what was going on, and she couldn’t believe what she had missed.
“I found it so hopeful and relaxing, and it gave me a lot of energy to put toward being patient. So for the past year, I’ve been watching Next Generation, Deep Space Time and Voyager almost every day.”
Birgy will shoot her demo episodes in L.A., where she plans to move after the tour. She’ll be relocating from New York, which she says is a wonderful place, but stressful to live in.
“If I could be more present and interact with the things that are going on in New York I might like it more, but I don’t right now. And it’s just dirty and loud, and I need to go lay down sometimes.”
Birgy plans to release her new Mega Bog record from L.A., recorded by her partner James Krivchenia (of Big Thief) in upstate New York. She says there will be a slew of sci-fi-themed videos accompanying the record. After that, she says she has another 30 songs to focus on.
Catch Mega Bog with Destroyer at Black Cat this Sunday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of. Learn more about Mega Bog here.
Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; 202-667-4490; www.blackcatdc.com