Still together as Bird and Monkey share CD

Roger Simian and Sarahjane Swan aka The Bird And The Monkey. Photograph: Liz Small
Roger Simian and Sarahjane Swan aka The Bird And The Monkey. Photograph: Liz Small
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THE bird has split from the monkey.

But fans shouldn’t worry, as the Galashiels left-field pop duo, also known as Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian, have merely released separate singles on the same CD.

I’m Discouraged has been penned by Sarahjane, and according to one reviewer deserves to be a long awaited hit for the ex-sculptor, while former Dawn of the Replicants guitarist Roger has put together Detriot Chicago New York New York, described as “marvellous” by the Guardian’s Stevie Chick.

The split single comes ahead of The Bird and the Monkey’s new album BalloonBaboonBallroom and an acoustic EP, both due to be out before the end of the year.

Sarahjane said: “We’ve decided to work on some solo songs because we both have a large backlog of songwriting that doesn’t totally fit in with The Bird and the Monkey’s style. They’re songs that we like and we don’t want to discard them.”

Roger added: “It’s also quite good fun working in different ways.

“The Sarahjane Swan songs have more of a polished, almost poppy sound and mine are a bit more scuzzy and lo-fi so it’s really interesting to cover big extremes all at once.”

Since their inception, The Bird and the Monkey have made intriguing videos to accompany their music, with Do You Wanna? – a black-and-white production featuring and put together by Sarahjane – selected for last year’s BBC Music Video Festival in Edinburgh.

The pair entered new territory earlier this year with In The Dark I Sat, their first short film, available on YouTube. A surrealist science fictional romance, it is the start of a number of film releases to come from the minds of Sarahjane and Roger.

Sarahjane told us: “We’ve made around 20 music videos since we started in 2010.

“It’s natural for us to work visually as well as musically and so we’re developing our skills in film-making too.

“Expression is important to us and we like to use many different media to experiment with. A move into film-making doesn’t seem at all at odds with what we’ve already been doing as a band.

“I think people sometimes get confused about what the Bird and the Monkey is.

“Some really dig our music and others get more excited about our visuals.

“As time goes on and we produce more and more, we think that people will realise that this is an exciting thing – we have the element of surprise up our sleeves.”

Roger added: “We’ve since completed another film, Alchemikal Sundays, which is a bit more free-flowing and psychedelic.

“We submitted this to Hawick’s Alchemy Film Festival and have had some great feedback from organiser Richard Ashrowan, so we’re hoping he might be able to fit one of these shorts into the programme at this year’s festival.

“We’ve always liked musicians, artists and film-makers who are unpredictable and diverse, from Captain Beefheart and David Lynch to the Dadaists. You’re a bit nervous and excited about what they might do next.”

Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian’s split single is out now – visit www.thebirdandthemonkey.com

The Alchemy Film Festival’s dates are October 26 to 28.