- Illustration by Nathan Golub
Just two weeks ago, Andrea and Pete Connolly took a trip down to a local tattoo parlor. To celebrate their first wedding anniversary, both got a little ink of the artwork from Starmaker, their first full-length album as Birds & Arrows. That scene—two young lovers getting matching tattoos—epitomizes the intimacy and ease of the music the pair has made together since they met a little more than three years ago: These songs seem comfortable, lived-in, a lot like a lifetime commitment to singing the most gorgeous melodies they could muster.
Last week, we posed the same set of questions separately to the duo. Andrea had spent her day making band merchandise for their upcoming CD release show, while Pete had spent his day crafting beer at Carolina Brewery. Still, they found time to laugh about and praise one another as artists and people.
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: Do you consider yourself more of the bird or the arrow?
ANDREA CONNOLLY: I would say the bird. When we chose the name, we wanted a masculine-feminine kind of vibe. I had also had some birds tattooed up on my left shoulder, so that was something I always really liked. Now that there's so many bands with the name bird in the name, I'm a little embarrassed, but we still love it dearly.
PETE CONNOLLY: If you think about it, an obvious conclusion is that I'm the arrow. [Laughs.]
What's your most recent tattoo?
ANDREA: Pete and I just went and got tattoos together on Friday, actually, for our first wedding anniversary. I got a "B" on my wrist. The "B" that I got is one that Pete drew for our new design for Birds & Arrows. It's for a couple different reasons, but if you really want to gag, he calls me "B." [Laughs.]
PETE: I designed it, but it's a dream catcher. It has images from our new record.
Besides Birds & Arrows, you're both in the band Graveyard Fields. Is it cheating if you're doing it with your spouse?
ANDREA: I think it's OK since Pete's with me. It's like we're swingers or something—we're cheating together. [Laughs.] When I was in Sweet By and By, I did miss Pete being a part of it because something that we really enjoy sharing together is music.
PETE: No, I guess it's like role-playing, sort of the naughty nurse thing.
What is one activity you do with your spouse, not because you want to, but only because you love him/her?
ANDREA: We like doing so much together, but listening to really early Genesis—I'm not as big of a fan as he is. [Laughs.]
PETE: Fold laundry and put it away because women's clothes have so many different categories, and I have no idea where to put them. It's a real big effort for me to actually put her clothes away.
What's an activity your spouse does with you and only you? And don't get too explicit.
ANDREA: I make him watch really bad movies with me sometimes that are nostalgic to me. He was like a teenager, and [they] were totally not cool. He hates that, but he does it for me all the time. Recently, I made him watch Clash of the Titans—stuff that is hard to sit through as an adult unless you enjoyed it as a kid. But he does it, and he finds ways to enjoy it and make fun of it with me.
PETE: Unloading the car of equipment sometimes when I have to be at work.
What's your favorite track off the new album, and why?
ANDREA: I would say I'm in love with Josh's [Starmer] cello playing. So maybe either "Honeymoon Song" or "Company Keep." Josh really added a lot. It just brought those to a whole new level for me. I know the first time I heard his line he wrote on "Honeymoon Song," I got so sappy and cried about it because it was so good.
PETE: I think "Honeymoon Song" because it's kind of like our epic. It's like our "Free Bird." It's just so heartfelt, and it takes me right to a specific time. I just love the dynamic of it—how it builds.
What's your other half's best physical feature?
ANDREA: I really like his teeth. He's got really messed up teeth, like, very English teeth. They're so cute because they don't match up. They're like a bulldog kind of, and I think that would be my favorite feature.
PETE: I would say her face. Well, all of her. I don't really want to specify because I think she's completely beautiful.
What's one thing your spouse doesn't want the world to know, but you think the world deserves to know?
ANDREA: The world may know, but maybe not the music world: He is the most talented artist I've ever met. He's an amazing painter, and before Birds & Arrows, that's what he did. Maybe four years ago, he stopped. He was just doing too many commissions and wasn't feeling creative. And then we met, and music took priority. He's gotten back into it recently a little bit. I can't say enough about how good he is as a painter.
PETE: Gosh, that's a tough one. All the others were easy. She really is as sweet as she comes across.
Birds & Arrows releases Starmaker Saturday, Oct. 10, with a show at Local 506. The Never and Mt. Moriah open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.