1.If you could write the perfect headline for an article about The Birthday
Massacre, what would it be?
Oh wow (laughing), I dont even know! Um (thinking)
I dont know (laughing)! What we try to do, is write music that
people feel is very familiar, but at the same time, is new. How about,
The Best Band Ever! (laughing). I cant even think
Or, We Love England & Were The Best
Canadian Band In The Whole Wide World! (laughs heartily).
2.John Lennons most cherished songwriting experience, was when
he felt possessed by it. Is this the same for you?
Yeah, absolutely (without any hesitation)! I mean like I was saying,
we try to write music that is very familiar and very personal. So for
me, the ultimate songwriting experience would probably be, if I wrote
something that was very special to me and then other people could relate
to it, do you know what I mean? Like even if a song doesnt convey
something that is literal, you can still hint at a very strong emotion
which people can connect with. Yeah, I like that in music (smiling).
3.Continuing with this train of thought, The Beatles had an unorthodox
way of writing songs and once in the studio, were renowned for their
agility in making adjustments to tracks from take to take. But, when
making your albums, do you ever work like this and do you have a song
thats a centrepiece, which the LP is then built around?
I think it can depend, because a lot of times we have a demo version
of a song and then we play it live on tour, which can give you an idea
of what you want to achieve when you do finally go into record it. Like,
What would work good live? Everytime we start writing a
new song, we definitely think about performance, because its very
different being in a studio to being at a show. So, I think as weve
progressed in our songwriting, we definitely think about what would
be fun to perform and what would feel good for an audience to listen
to and get involved with. We sort of go into songwriting with a concept
for an album you know? Walking With Strangers, which is our most recent
one, was supposed to be more about the touring experience, growing up
and spending a lot of time with people that you dont know. So,
all of the songs kind of have that theme, but there was no centrepiece
not really. Just sort of that concept.
4.Are there any records that you just love the overall atmosphere
/ sound of?
Oh definitely! I mean I cant speak for anyone else in the
band obviously, but I really love the band Concrete Blonde. There are
albums that I can listen to front-to-back, like Free and Bloodletting,
I absolutely love everything like that (smiling)! Because I like albums
where theres no weak song I feel that way with that band
like theres no, Oh, Im just going to skip this
song, I dont like song 6. Those albums to me are amazing
and I like Angel Dust as well, by Faith No More, Im a big fan
and theyve just got back together too (excitedly)! Im so
excited, but I havent seen them because the shows were only over
here. I did watch some footage of them at Download on YouTube though
its a such an advantage that you can do that now, as it
means that you can at least get a feel of what shows were like that
you werent able to attend.
5.Your songs are very melodic topped off with your beautiful
voice but from all of your favourite music, which melodies instantly
spring to mind?
Oh my gosh. Again, Im going to have to say Concrete Blonde
I love the dynamic of her voice. Theres a song on the album
Walking In London, called Someday? I love the chorus melody there
shes got this great harmony that she does. So yeah, I love her
voice and I love her harmonies!
6.To date, what has been the biggest surprise in your career?
Honestly, just the fact that were even able to tour! I mean
were now an International band we just went to Australia,
weve been to Mexico and now here we are in the UK again and then
were going to Europe. So that kind of thing is always, Really?
They want us to come back? (laughing). I definitely think being
invited to play in different countries, has been very cool and very
surprising to me (big smile)!
7.And what has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge in our career other than sort of
adapting to touring and being on the road, where even issues like sleeping
can be very challenging personally, probably throughout the whole
bands history, Im very shy of people. I get stage fright
and in my school years, I was very introverted, so overcoming those
obstacles and becoming a better performer, is something that has challenged
me and I think Im even still trying to overcome it a little bit
8.And on that note, The Birthday Massacres live performances,
are renowned for their high energy and grit. Is it important to you
all, to give so much of yourselves both emotionally & visually
every time you play?
Absolutely! I mean if people are going to come and pay money for
tickets and sometimes travel long distances to see us, you want to have
a fun, engaging performance, which will inspire people to almost participate
in the show with you and have fun with you. I think its important
for a live show to be fun you know? And I appreciate bands who you can
tell are working and that they want to be there, and they can see you
and they want you to have fun as well. Thats what we try to do
9.A recent report on gigs, discussed how lots of bands no longer
improvise on stage and are just happy to recreate their studio recordings
note for note. But when playing live, is it important to you all to
improvise and explore your songs, keeping them fresh + taking them in
I think that sometimes happens almost accidentally, because playing
live is unpredictable. You cant control it and if somebody misses
a part or if something goes off, its like, Ooh, now the
song sounds different and we have to try and cope with it. So,
I think almost the nature of performing live, is changing the studio
sound, and our live sound is sort of a lot more energetic and rock n
roll maybe, than our albums. But again, thats all part of the
difference between listening to the album and coming to the show
theyre completely separate things.
10.Youre probably aware that in the UK and Europe, Summer Festivals
are extremely popular but do you have any interesting tales from
the times that youve played at Festivals?
Oh for sure (smiling), I mean weather comes into play a lot with
Festivals. The last time we played in Europe, there was a huge thunderstorm
that peaked right when it was our time to go on stage and we had it
blowing in on us. The Festival was in the middle of the countryside
and there was lightning, so we had to stop playing, because it was too
dangerous! So that was kind of scary, but its always hard when
you see people standing there, getting just drenched with rain. They
want to see you, but it makes you feel really bad, like, Youre
getting really wet are you sure youre OK? Do you
know what I mean? Just things like that, getting rained on is pretty
intense and also, playing at 11 in the morning its like
a gig before breakfast (laughs heartily)! Theres so many factors,
like you wake up and the sun is shining in your face and you have to
make sure your voice is warmed up, its bizarre! So theres
a lot of adaptation involved.
11.I read how you all love to dress up before going on stage and you
obviously like make-up and tattoos. But who for you have been / are
some of the top make-up wearers and rock stars with tattoos in music
Oh my goodness, oh my gosh! See to me, theres sort of a
line, like when you sort of get all tattooed, I find that thats
very distracting. I love tattoos, but I wouldnt want to be a person
where all you see is the tattoos. I mean, I know I keep saying this,
but Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde again, she keeps
coming up (laughing)! But I used to love how she would crimp her hair
and she had very subtle tattoos and the dramatic, pretty make-up. I
love that kind of thing not like, Oh, shes all tattoos
and make-up. That kind of thing accents how you look, instead
of defining how you look.
12.Reportedly, songs streamed free on the Internet will eventually
be included in The Charts, based on the amount of plays that they have.
Do you think this is a good idea?
I guess The Music Industry is probably trying to find a system
that makes streaming fairer to the artist somehow, but honestly, I think
its a losing battle. You cant regulate it, you cant
tally it, theres no way to ever know whats going on with
file-sharing. I think all bands definitely feel that nowadays. It will
be interesting to see what they try to do, but it seems like another
desperate move by The Music Industry to try and claw some sort of infrastructure
back. I dont think thats going to work (laughing).
13.Of all your songs to date, which are you most proud of and why?
Wow! I mean Im proud of all of them you know? I look at
all of the stuff weve done and Im like, Wow, thats
a lot of stuff! And even now, were working on a new album
(pausing), I think its really easy to sort of get involved in
what youre working on now and forget about the older stuff, but,
we play these songs hundreds of times. So its like, Oh those
old things, lets focus on the new stuff, but Im proud
of everything that weve done theyre all kind of your
children, as stupid as that sounds (laughing). Like, you cant
really pick a favourite one. And playing live, it can vary which ones
I like like Unfamiliar, which is a song off Walking With Strangers,
Im dreading it, because Im tired and its a high one.
Im like, Oh no! But I know that our keyboard player
loves that song, so everybody will have a different favourite. It can
change as well, like next week, Im sure Ill say, I
love that song! (laughing).
14.Do fans ever tell you how they interpret your lyrics and if so, what
has been the most memorable song interpretation that youve ever
People dont usually tend to talk to us about what the songs
are about, but on the Internet though, Ive seen people writing,
This song is about this and that etc. I cant really
think of anything too off-the-wall right now, but its usually
people coming up and saying things like, This song helped me through
this experience in my life. And Im like, Really? That
song helped you? We have one called Happy Birthday, which is kind
of like a horror movie, where someone goes to a party and kills everybody.
But then, I had someone say to me that that song really helped them
when their parents got divorced. I was like, How did that help
you through that time? Do you know what I mean? I can understand
it, but a song about a birthday party where everybody gets killed, how
did that help them (laughing)? But you know what, I mean fair enough,
Im just glad to be of service (laughs heartily)!
15.A new book entitled, The Empty Page: Fiction inspired by
Sonic Youth, was recently published and features short stories
by authors whose initial sparks came from Sonic Youth song titles.
Would you ever like to see a selection of your song titles treated in
the same manner, and if so, are there any specific writers who you would
like to see take up the challenge?
Thats cool (excitedly)! Oh wow! Honestly, this kind of goes
into what you just asked me, Id like to see our fans do that
that would be so cool (smiling)! I would like to read The Empty
Page: Fiction inspired by Sonic Youth actually, it sounds really
interesting thats a cool concept!
16.Most people are aware that financially, it can be a struggle for
many musicians, but in Canada to help encourage the countrys
artists / bands the Government set up The Canada Music Fund (CMF)
in 2001. Is this something that The Birthday Massacre ever benefit from?
In terms of Canadian support of us, it has been very independent
independent promoters and independent zines and things
like that. Any sort of funding and things like that, they dont
really seem to be willing to take chances on alternative bands. I mean
we do well (pausing), weve applied for these sort of loans, but
they tend to go to more established bands I dont want to
say anything negative, but you have to have the connections, you have
to go for a drink with the right person, you have to already have a
measure of success, they dont really take chances. I love our
City and I love everyone there who supports us, but I think the Canadian
music scene definitely needs some tuning-up (laughing)! Is that a polite
way of saying it? Sure, and its probably the same everywhere for
17.In-keeping with this theme, have you seen the fascinating film about
the heavy metal group, Anvil, which tells the moving story of their
arduous struggle for success and also, is there an artist / band
that you would like to see a documentary made about?
I just watched Anvil (excitedly) just before we left! Its
so heartbreaking isnt it? You just feel for them so much! Is there
anybody that I would like to see a documentary made about (thinking)?
Id just pick any of my favourite bands, do you know what I mean?
Id love to see one on Faith No More, Id love to see one
on Type O Negative it would just be me listing my favourite bands
(laughing)! But with Anvil, you just feel so much compassion for those
guys. Theyre on tour with AC/DC now though, so thats not
too bad, but you just want to cry when youre watching that film!
18.Both Jimmy Page and Jack White, said that they dont believe
video games (Guitar Hero and Rock Band) are an ideal way for people
to be exposed to music or to learn how to play instruments. Do
you think they have a valid point?
Well, I love Guitar Hero and Rock Band, although its not
a way to learn how to play guitar. But, theres one really important
comment that I want to make on that, and that is that I think women
are part of those games. Theyre a part of the graphics playing
instruments and thats inspiring for young girls, because theres
not a lot of girls in bands. Its always guys and the girls are
just dancing, but in those games well, not Guitar Hero 3
but in Guitar Hero 1 + 2 and Rock Band, women play a very prominent
role and theyre not just dancers or singers, theyre playing
guitar! So I think that might inspire a young girl to pick up a guitar,
because she enjoys playing the game. Theyre right, in that its
not a way to substitute actually learning to technically play a guitar,
but I think those video games present women in music in a positive way,
and I think that that needs to happen more!
*I mention to Chibi, that Billy Corgan was once quoted in Rolling Stone
Magazine as saying: You dont play Guitar Hero if you are
a guitar hero!*
Really (laughs heartily)!?!
19.On a similar note, some critics have argued that in The 60s,
music was much freer with more melodic and harmonic surprises
in songs as there was less technology involved. What are your
feelings on this?
I think nowadays, if you turn on the radio, people are singing
through vocoders or its all computerised, to the point where it
actually sounds like a robot. Thats cool and everything, but back
in the day, you couldnt really rely on Auto-Tune or synthesisers,
youd have an organ instead (laughing). I love The Monkees, theyre
one of my favourite bands actually and you can tell that its more
raw and its more honest, but I think its because they had
to be. Im sure if the technology had existed back then, it would
have been used. But yeah, I think music was music freer in The 60s
20.The Raveonettes recently posted some work-in-progress tracks +
studio footage online for fans to download, with more to follow soon.
Do you think this is a good idea, or do you think it takes away some
of the mystique surrounding artists creativity and that long-term,
it could even perhaps diminish peoples anticipation for new albums,
already knowing partially what to expect?
See, I think artists end up sort of stuck between a rock and a
hard place. When no-ones buying your album and no-ones going
to your website, I think that that type of thing is meant to sort of
drum up interest in a website, like, Oh look, well offer
you this and this and this, but remember our name and buy our album!
I think that theyre good ideas nowadays, and I mean you have bands
who Twitter all the time. Its trying to engage an audience so
that interest doesnt dwindle, but its a lot harder to keep
people attached to your band now, with so much stuff on the Internet.
So ideas like that, are probably a very good move and I think people
want that personal, beyond-the-wall engagement with you. Or else, whats
the point? Theyre not going to buy your record right? We all have
to change with the times (laughing), and anyone that doesnt, isnt
going to exist. Thats shrewd, thats what that is (laughs
21.It was revealed last week, that David Bowie is to give fans
the chance to own and remix the multi-track recordings of his seminal
1969 track Space Oddity, when he releases a new EP featuring the song
to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of man walking on the moon.
When fans purchase the EP, they will also receive the original eight
stems / multi-tracks of the track for free. They will then be able to
remix the song through their own software, or through iKlax software.
Is this something that youd like to offer to your fans?
Im sure we would, but I think taking the time to isolate
all of those tracks like the technical aspect of that
would be very time-consuming and thats the only reason why somebody
maybe wouldnt do it. Its a great idea and I think Nine Inch
Nails did something similar, and again, its all a way to engage
with us you know what I mean? Were offering you this stuff, now
buy the album (laughs heartily)! It encourages creativity, which is
always a good thing! Thats a great idea, I should actually be
writing this down (smiling).
22.Would you ever consider stripping away some of the electronica
in your music, in order to create more acoustic, organic and pastoral
songs, similar to what Goldfrapp did with their Seventh Tree album?
I mean, I think if it felt right to do that, then we would. But
synths and that more electronica side, has always been a big part of
our sound, so I dont think we would want to tamper with it. Like
in the past, when we have done more guitar-driven songs, weve
always been like, Thats awesome, but can we put some synths
on it? Do you know what I mean (laughing)? Thats a little
bit of the stuff that makes us, us! But at the same time, if it sounded
good without, wed do it without, but it would have to be natural
I dont think wed go into the studio intending to
strip anything away.
23.What have been some of your personal highlights / defining moments,
during your career so far?
Oh wow! I think kind of like what I was saying before, realising
that Im not as afraid to be on stage anymore that was a
big thing for me! Just getting to meet a lot of people that weve
admired over the years, like the band Orgy who are now Julien-K
we toured with them and now they come to our shows and were
like, Oh My God, were friends with them! Meeting other
musicians that you end up bonding with over the years, bands that you
just tour with and you make friends all over the world. So when youre
sitting at home and youre kind of feeling down, youre like,
You know what, I get to do some really cool things and Im
friends with some really cool people! I can message them on Facebook,
we can talk or they come to our shows, so its been interesting
to meet people who youve admired over the years.
24.Some cultures believe that if you have the same dream 3 times, it
will eventually become a reality. Is there anything similar to this
that you believe?
Oh wow, I believe in The Rule Of Three. You know how
they say that celebrity deaths happen in threes and we kind of have
a joke, that if you bump your head twice in one day, youd better
not bump it a third time, or youll never be the same (laughing)!
Its more of a joke, but I am kind of a superstitious person I
guess. Before we go on stage, we have this cheer thing, that we all
kind of do to amp ourselves up and everytime weve tried to switch
it up, we dont have a very good show, so were all kind of
like, OK, we have to do this! Were not all crazy (laughing),
but I think you definitely get into the mindset of, What can we
do to make this tour go as good as possible? I just wont change
my socks, because these socks are my lucky pair (laughs heartily)!
Its really weird, but its whatever makes you most comfortable
25.In reference to your band name, whats the best Birthday that
youve ever had?
Oh my goodness. Honestly, it was probably the one I just had,
it was my Birthday in April and it was my first Tour Birthday,
because Ive always been at home and been able to be with friends
and family and have dinner. Thats all fine and dandy, but this
was my first one on the road a few months ago so we had
the cake on the bus and it was driving because we had to go. So we were
all standing on the bus and everyone sang Happy Birthday, and the cake
was kind of moving and I was trying to blow out the candles. It was
really, really sweet (laughing)!
26.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Cream buns or pastries as Id call them, stacked to
the ceiling (big smile)!
*I remark that most girls usually go for cream buns*
Its kind of like the difference between salty and sweet
I guess, thats interesting! What about cream buns stuffed with
*I say that someone has already said that before*
Dratts! Cake all the way for me then (laughs heartily)!
A very special thanks to Chibi, to The Birthday Massacres
Tour Manager Dolores, and to Emma @ Fifteen Three PR, for all of their
time and help.
Black tongues speak faster than the car can crash
You supply the rumours and I'll provide the wrath
Romance is breaking every heart in two casting shadows
In the pale shade of blue