Interview: Cory Lockwood (ex-A Lot Like Birds) announces new crowdfunded book

Photo by Marco Mazzoni

After a nearly decade-long career which saw them amass a devoted following in the progressive post-hardcore scene, A Lot Like Birds officially called it quits earlier this year. Since the band played their final show last month at Sacramento’s First Fest, there has been rampant speculation about what creative endeavors each of the band members would turn their sights to next. And perhaps the most attention of all has been paid to the future of the band’s primary vocalist and lyricist, Cory Lockwood.

Across A Lot Like Birds’ four albums, Cory provided the humanizing weight that grounded the band’s frantic and constantly morphing compositions. He touched upon familial tragedy, relationship tensions, loss, and insecurities in a way that felt deeply relatable, and yet exhibited a deft sense of poetic awareness rare in a genre scene where naked aggression and lamentation are frequently the norm. He combined the genre’s emotional touchstones with an admirable degree of introspection, earning his passionate vocals a rabid following. I recently got the chance to speak to Cory about his new project, which is simultaneously unexpected, and perfectly fitting.

Since the end of A Lot Like Birds, there’s been a lot of speculation about what your next move may be. What can you tell me today about your new project?
Cory Lockwood: I know a lot of people thought that my next move would be in the same vein, keeping with music, whether heavy or not.  But instead, I’m writing a book.  Title, theme and content are all to come as it gets written but the focus will be an expansion of my lyrical content to date as well as some unexplored territory with short stories, essays and poem.  I’ve written like this in this past, but never on this large a scale and never to an audience wider than loved ones or a classroom.
What was your inspiration for writing a book that collects various pieces of your writing, as opposed to a full memoir or novel?
Cory: If I’m looking at this from a musical context, this is my EP.  I didn’t want to tackle the length and depth of a novel right out of the gates, and even though a memoir is tempting, I really want to focus on fiction.  Granted, there will always be parts of my personal life that sew themselves into anything I write, but I don’t want them to take up the vast majority for this first book.
What do you see as the differences between writing in this format and writing lyrics to music? Are there any challenges you anticipate?
Cory: I think that while there’s going to be a lot more freedom without the constraints of having a tone chosen for me by the instrumentation and the obvious lack of a time frame to have to cram the content into, there are definitely some hurdles I’m looking forward to facing for the first time.  For one, I won’t have the guidance of a verse leading into a loud chorus to tell me ‘okay, here’s where you’re going to up the intensity.’  Pacing and atmosphere are both things I’m going to have to dictate entirely on my own.
What are some of the rewards that donors to this project can expect?
Cory: Rewards are something I’m going to have to visit closer to the completion of the project.  Since my intent is to self-publish with help of Amazon, Audible and possibly others – the distribution of copies of the book is going to have to be done through the sites themselves.  This means I’ll have to be more creative with rewards.  What I’ll be doing is taking receipt of all donors and offering things within my capabilities.  I want to offer things with a personal touch like handwritten stories, things with some sense of exclusivity like vinyl variants for the audiobook but I also want to offer unique opportunies to leave an imprint on the book itself.  For larger donations, I want to write the stories that the donor wants to hear.  A story or poem that is the child of the donor but that I get to raise, nurture and return to them.
Do you have a timeline for when you want to begin releasing content?
Cory: The immediate goal is to write, write, write.  If the Indiegogo target is exceeded, I might even be able to take a larger chunk of time off to sequester myself somewhere in my house and put everything into it.  My tentative aim is completion of the book within six months, but I won’t know what to expect until I’m in the thick of it.
Finally, do you have any upcoming music projects in the works you can mention, or are you planning to focus on writing indefinitely?
Cory: I’m still in the process of finding a main baby when it comes to music.  Sufferer has plans to write and record at some point down the road and I’ve been approached with a couple other offers, but I do want to be very particular with whatever I end up taking on.  Music is a collaborative effort and it takes a lot to get a bunch of like-minded people into a room and able to create.  With this book, I’ll at least always have something I can work on without relying on anyone but myself.