So this is usually the part where I yap my little keys off about THE BAND and THE HISTORY, but this is one band that I shouldn’t really have to do it for since they are literally VampireFreaks’most popular bands. The Birthday Massacre are back on the road again, barely a year after supporting Mindless Self Indulgence, and damn are they ready for all of you. Even though it has only been a year since I got the chance to meet and interview this growing show of imagination laced insanity, so much has been going on. So I sat down with singer Chibi for a nice phone chat about all that is and will be for The Birthday Massacre. So sit back, relax, and let me bring you into the world of VF’s good friends The Birthday Massacre:
DeathWish: So guys it’s been about a year since the last time we have chatted, how have things been going? Recover ok from the tour with Mindless Self Indulgence?
Chibi: Hahaha…yeah that was a pretty long one but we recovered pretty good from it. We took some time off and played Australia as well as a west coast tour. We have been trying to write an album too in the free time. Now we are doing this tour and then hitting Europe, so there is a lot of touring going on. Trying to recover but before you know it we are at it again. (laughing)
DeathWish: Just enough time to catch your breath?
Chibi: Yeah kind of , just enough to get a little bit of rest, look at each other and say “alright lets write a little” and go out on tour again.
DeathWish: I was reading the press release for ‘Show and Tell’ which is BM’s first official live album, what made the show in Hamburg so different from the rest that you decided to use it for the CD?
Chibi: You know it’s a funny thing, we didn’t eve know that the show was going to be recorded in advance. We just showed up at the venue in Hamburg and they told us “oh we are going to tape the show” so we were like “ok!” (both of us laughing) That was the last we had heard about it till someone asked “do you remember that show you did in Hamburg a year ago?” all we could say was “uhhh… ok?” It was a total surprise, but it was a great show, it was not preplanned or anything like that. It was all about external influences.
DeathWish: Always nice to get some surprises.
Chibi: It is, the show was great. I am thankful it wasn’t one of those shows where I was sick or anything. (laughing) No premeditation at all.
DeathWish: What kind of new obstacles has it presented to do a live CD rather than a studio release?
Chibi: Absolutely, when you are in the studio you can do as many different takes as you want, it is totally controlled. If you sneeze in the middle of singing you can stop and redo it, but when you are live this is your only shot to get it right. If you sneeze guess what? It is on the recording. It was such a new experience, we didn’t even know what kind of equipment was being used. When we heard it for the first time we were really surprised.
DeathWish: It’s like the surprise at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.
Chibi: (both of us laughing) Exactly and it is a GOOD one.
DeathWish: Last time we talked you said that there was new music in the works, how is that coming along currently and are you playing any new tracks on this tour?
Chibi: Not on this tour no. We are playing some songs that we have not played live before though. We don’t have any unheard material that we are playing on this tour. Everything is kind of in a building stage right now, so we don’t have anything that is complete enough to present.
DeathWish: So lets set the clocks back a bit, I read that the band’s name was derived from Clive Barker I was wondering what was it about the story that pushed you into using it and what other literary works have inspired you?
Chibi: Well that was when we were originally called Imajica, which is a Clive Barker novel. Rainbow is a huge fan of his, I honestly have not read much of his work, I know that is horrible of me to say. The name though originally really fit in with the whole magical kind of feeling that we were trying to get across with our sound.
DeathWish: The album ‘Walking With Strangers’ was produced by the legendary Dave Ogilvie, how did that help with further developing the band’s sound?
Chibi: He definitely came to the table with some ideas. We are such perfectionists when it comes to our music but he came in as a real good objectionist and said “you know you really don’t need to repeat this chorus.” He had a really good ear about things. We already had demos ready to go when we got into the studio, but he added some great touches to it all. I worked really closely with him on the vocals for the album, and I won’t lie I feel like such an idiot sometimes when I am in the studio since everything is so official (chuckling). He was so fun though that he made it all seem to go by really quickly. We ended up becoming really good friends with him and played with his band Jakalope which was really cool.
DeathWish: Wow, that is very cool, is it intimidating at all to work with someone like him?
Chibi: Well you definitely don’t know what to expect going into the studio with him, that is for sure. There was so much going on in our heads on the way to meet him like “wow this guy has done so much, what if he is not nice? What if he doesn’t like us?” (laughing) But he is such a nice guy, very amiable guy very relaxed. We stayed late with him one night and listened to what we recorded and had a bit of a dance party. He had such a good sense of humor that it was impossible to be intimidated by him.
DeathWish: So I got a copy of Left Spine Down’s brand new remix album and saw that you broke away from the usual “remix” formula, what made you decide to do an all out cover of the song?
Chibi: That was a lot of fun, Rainbow was really active in that whole remix process and thought it would be cool to have me sing on it. I loved how it turned out, but Kaine sounded so much tougher than I did. (both of us laughing) The song doesn’t sound so tough with me singing it, but I did my best. We were all pretty excited about doing it.
DeathWish: Have you been playing the cover at all in your live shows?
Chibi: Not yet but I am sure that we will.
DeathWish: Aside from Left Spine Down, yourselves, and Modern Digital Militia I have noticed a huge flux of great music coming from Canada, what is going on there that is causing this surge of artists?
Chibi: It’s funny that you say that because I am really good friends with Nux from Modern Digital Militia.
DeathWish: Yeah he is a great guy.
Chibi: Very great guy, known him for a few years.
DeathWish: So is there something in the water there? Or should we all just pack up and head to Canada?
Chibi: I think there is a lot of great music coming out of Canada, that just don’t get the exposure that they deserve. I find that it really angers me, I look at our band and sure we have toured internationally and achieved a lot of success in our own way. However, I think in Canada people don’t support anything that is not on the radio at all. I have found that really depressing and always have. There are so many great bands I know of in Toronto and across Canada. The fact they are not getting better exposure is enough to make me want to poke someone’s face off. But you are absolutely right there are some great bands that are not being tapped into.
DeathWish: Well I say lets blame Clear Channel.
Chibi: Hmmm… Yeah I would have to agree there. I am real happy though that you mentioned and are supporting those bands.
DeathWish: Speaking of covers, I read an interview with Chibi where you stated that Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde is one of your biggest influences, would you guys consider doing a cover of their material and if so what song would you choose?
Chibi: Funny that you mention that as well, because when we started out doing this about ten years ago and were just doing it for fun, we did a little four track cover of the song “Joey.” I was always pushing for it because I am such a fan of her material. I really love and respect her so much. But thing is with TBM is that everyone has to agree on it, and when you have six people in a band with such a diverse taste in music there is only so much power one person can have.
DeathWish: Maybe go with the old “drawing straws” method?
Chibi: You would think that would work, but it is majority rules. Usually we see eye to eye about everything but when it comes to covers half of the guys want to do David Bowie and I want to do something like Def Lepard. Somehow though we all agreed on Tiffany, which I have no idea how that works but I guess it is breaking new ground right?
DeathWish: I do have to admit that is way out of left field.
Chibi: The reason why we liked that song is that it was a great song, it was actually a cover of material done by Tommy James & The Shondells way back in the day. I grew up listening to that song, so it wasn’t “I love that song” it was more of “aww… that song reminds me of how happy I was in those days.” (both of us laughing) If it was something I actually like it would be more like Debbie Gibson since I was way more into her than Tiffany back in those days.
DeathWish: Well Debbie did perform with the Circle Jerks once, so that is a plus.
Chibi: (laughing) Yeah, I love all that stuff from the pre high school days.
DeathWish: Did you have the whole puffy hair with the LA Gears and neon colors going?
Chibi: Oh dude I had the whole Paula Abdul white high top sneakers with pink ribbon ties, I had a perm, parrot earings, and colored chains; it was brutal. But then again I think it was all very brutal the way we dressed in the 80s. (laughing)
DeathWish: Can I quote you on this?
Chibi: Please do!! Late 80s fashion not a good thing at all. I had a wicked perm and was so excited about it. (laughing)
DeathWish: Ok so back to the ‘Walking With Strangers’ release, it will feature a DVD as well, will there be a lot of back stage antics, any you want to share with us?
Chibi: You know what was really funny about that is we didn’t tape anything from that tour. We have a bunch of pictures and there is going to be excerpts from festivals that we played. There is a bunch of dorky pictures that we took that are hilarious and have not been put on our myspace yet. But yeah no backstage footage since we didn’t know till a year and a half later that it would be used on a DVD. We hope to remedy that as we have a bunch of stock piled footage we just need to have the time to put it all together.
DeathWish: It is amazing to see the rate that Birthday Massacre is growing both fan wise and in how much you are getting done, how do you cope with this and is there anything that you would change about it?
Chibi: Not really, all of us really love touring and playing live. Playing live is honestly the best thing to do when you are in a band. The only thing that is different is that last summer when we were on tour there were more people at our shows, more insane people at our shows surrounding us at times. We have always been the type of people that like to hang out afterwards and make ourselves available, which is great for our fans till you are standing next to someone that makes you go “oh cool this person is INSANE”. It is just really different when someone comes along and treats you as sort of a commodity. For example at one of our shows a couple of girls tried to rip the elastics out of my hair. I guess they didn’t realize that it might actually hurt my scalp. I guess you try to draw that line between being friendly and available and getting yourself into a potentially awkward and dangerous situation.
DeathWish: Well no one wants to end up in a burlap bag.
Chibi: You know what that is a really good quote. That is absolutely right. I have to say that most of the people we meet after the shows have been really awesome, there is just always that one lunatic and you can never quite pick them out.
DeathWish: Has anyone ever approached you with Birthday Massacre tattoos?
Chibi: Oh yeah. We have seen a bunch of them.
DeathWish: Adds any pressure?
Chibi: Well some people have a portrait of me done on them and all I can say is “are you sure?”
DeathWish: I know you guys got to get back to prep for tonight’s show, so is there anything you would like to say to your ever growing fan base here on VampireFreaks?
Chibi: Seriously we just want to thank everyone, and totally want to thank you and Jet as you guys have totally supported us. For as long as I can remember you guys have been so good to us and we thank you very much.
DeathWish: No problem I know you will be doing a store signing pretty soon at the VampireFreaks’ store in New York.
Chibi: On my birthday actually. You guys don’t have to do anything though.
DeathWish: Well this interview will go up before then so you never know what will be waiting for you.
Chibi: Oh NO!! It will be just great to see you guys there!
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