Bowerbirds: Beth and Philip

Music Features The Bowerbirds
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We have a dumpster behind a Whole Foods in Raleigh, N.C. to thank for the sweet pop melodies that Bowerbirds creates. Two-thirds of the band happens to be dating and have been together for a very long time. While Philip Moore and Beth Powers are able to work together non-stop on music that they absolutely love, the couple knows that sometimes it can be strenuous to be in such close quarters as often as they are. As Bowerbirds are about to release a new album on March 6 and head across the country on tour, it’s clear that these two lovebirds are still going strong after eight years of “24/7 love and snuggles.”

Paste: How long have you two been together?
Philip Moore: Beth and I have been dating since May of 2004.

Paste: Tell us about how you two first met.
Moore: We met at Whole Foods Market in Raleigh, N.C. where we both worked. I worked in the prepared foods department and Beth worked in the whole body department.

Paste: What’s the best part about being in the same group as your partner?
Moore: 24/7 love and snuggles. We tour with musicians who have loved ones at home and I can tell it is difficult for them. I used to be in a touring band while Beth stayed at home. It’s difficult to be gone for a month at a time.

Paste: What’s the most challenging part about being in the same group as your partner?
Moore: 24/7 identity crisis. It is difficult to figure out where one person starts and the other one ends after a while. It can get kind of overwhelming.

Paste: Describe your first date.
Moore: I asked Beth out by the dumpster at Whole Foods. We were taking our respective trash piles out from our departments. I was really nervous, because she was really cute and I was shy.

We went to go see Califone in Chapel Hill, N.C. at a now defunct club called Go Studios. The show was amazing and we hung out on the couches upstairs afterwards for a while.

We went for a long walk in Chapel Hill and found ourselves at a dumpster of a thrift store where we discovered numerous treasures including My Little Ponies. We had both been fans as young children (long story for me there).

We drove to the forest theater in Chapel Hill and climbed the walls and sat and talked for a very long time. We ended up driving home as the sun was coming up. Beth fell asleep, and I delivered her safely at home.

Paste: What was it like when you started making music together?
Moore: Very special. Beth was just discovering the accordion and I was writing new songs that didn’t sound like my band at the time. Collaborating was surprisingly easy. We had a lot of the same ideas and the lyrics that I was writing mirrored a lot of what Beth was making visual art about. It was relieving almost. I had played with amazing musicians in my life, but it was much easier to be creative with Beth.

Paste: Talk about a song that means something special to you as a couple?
Moore: I don’t want to sound cliché, but I will and a little sappy in the process. One of the hardest songs for me to listen to without getting a little teary is Bon Iver’s “The Wolves (Act I and II)”. We went on tour with Bon Iver and got to hear that song every night, wonderful song, the crescendo at the end always worked, every night, but the song was just really good, and I didn’t have the right perspective on it to really get it.

Straight from that two-week tour, we went to Europe and the UK to tour for another two months. It was really hard on our relationship. Drives were really long, tempers were hot. We were strangers in a strange land and fastly becoming strangers to each other. We ended up breaking up for almost a year after getting home.

It took us a long long time to heal all the wounds we had opened up. I hadn’t really thought about “The Wolves” for a good long time and was seriously getting into Bon Iver’s newer songs. We came to see them when they played Raleigh. Amazing band and group of people. They played “The Wolves” and as soon as they went into Act II, where they repeat “what might have been lost” I finally got it. It hadn’t really hit me as hard until I had gained that perspective of almost losing everything Beth and I had had together. Very emotional moment for us.