Andrew Bird on his songwriting process and his approach to improvising using loops

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Andrew Bird (performing tonight at the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities and tomorrow evening at Chautauqua Auditorium) says that since he's been writing music there's always a healthy conflict between brevity and indulgence.

On one hand, Bird knows all about crafting short, near perfect pop songs, but with his most recent effort, the instrumental album Useless Creatures, Bird took a more sprawling, ambient approach where songs run a bit longer. We spoke with Bird recently about making the album, his approach to songwriting and improvising with loops.