Birthday Massacre balances on Pins and Needles

August 24, 2010 by: admin

August 19, 2010

THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE

Chibi (Vocals)

Toronto, Canada

Myspace.com/thebirthdaymassacre

By: Shauna O’Donnell

THIS IS SHAUNA O’DONNELL AND TODAY I HAVE CHIBI OF THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE ON THE PHONE.

MUEN: I AM SO EXCITED; YOU ARE ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS. THANKS FOR TALKING WITH ME.

Thanks for the interview, I appreciate it.

MUEN: NO PROBLEM, ON SEPTEMBER 14TH YOU WILL BE RELEASING YOUR FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM ENTITLED PINS AND NEEDLES THROUGH METROPOLIS RECORDS.  CONGRATULATIONS ON THAT.

Oh, thanks a lot, we are excited for it.

MUEN: I BET, IT’S A GREAT RECORD.

You’ve had a chance to listen to it and you like it?

MUEN: I LOVE IT, ARE YOU KIDDING, IT’S AWESOME!

Awesome!

MUEN: I READ THAT YOU HAVE A UNIQUE WAY OF WRITING. WHAT IS THE WRITING PROCESS LIKE IN YOUR BAND?

When we got back from touring and decided to focus on songwriting, Rainbow and Mike left Toronto and went back to their home town. That’s where they wrote the majority of the music. Once the music was more or less in a workable state then they came back and started working with me for writing lyrics. We always think we can write on the road, but it never ends up happening.

MUEN: DO YOU SELF-PRODUCE?

Yeah, this time we did. On Walking with Strangers, we worked with David Ogilvie, he helped produce the album. This time he helped mix, so we did get to work with him again, but this time it was Rainbow and Mike.

MUEN: DO YOU THINK YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT?

I think it depends on what makes sense at the time. Obviously, we love working with David and we are open to working with different people. This time we were like “Let’s just do this ourselves.”

MUEN: WOULD YOU AGREE THAT THIS ALBUM IS HARDER AND DARKER THAN YOUR PREVIOUS ONES?

I think so, but all I can speak for is the frame of mind that we were in while it was coming together. I don’t think it is a huge departure from the type of music that we want to make, which has always been the sort of contrasting melodic sounds with the heavy sound. We released some clips online because we were touring and we were going to be playing some of the songs live. We’re on tour right now actually and we just got off tour with OTEP. They are a heavy metal band so we decided to debut some of the new songs live, but obviously since we were on tour with a heavy metal band we chose our heaviest songs to play so that we would fit in on that tour. The first few clips we released were to match the songs we were playing live and so I think that is why people think the record sounds heavier. We picked the guitar driven, heavier songs, but there are still some pop elements there. I think it’s a really strong album.

MUEN: I LOVE ALL OF THE SONGS ON THE RECORD, BUT I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT A FEW OF THEM IN PARTICULAR. LET’S START WITH “SHALLOW GRAVE” BECAUSE THAT ONE HAS A REALLY COOL STORY BEHIND IT.

It ends up being sort of a dancy song, but the lyrics are sort of dark and speaking about a character. I remember when I was originally being interviewed I mentioned that it was sort of inspired by a Black Dahlia. It wasn’t specifically about her, but it was sort of a concept. It’s about a tragic character who only achieved fame through suffering or having something horrible happen before anyone really paid attention. That was the case in the Black Dahlia, she was a struggling actress. That is the case for a lot of people. They get their fame and notoriety through the tragedies in their lives, so for me that is where that song comes from.

MUEN: I REALLY LIKE “SIDEWAYS” TELL ME ABOUT THAT SONG.

Right! It’s a very sad song, it’s very melancholy. I think it’s probably the saddest one on the album. We’ve been listening to it on the road now to keep refreshed for it. The song is about departure and deterioration. It’s about looking back in a melancholy way and lamenting different elements, which isn’t a healthy perspective. We are all supposed to be moving forward and striving ahead confidently, but who can help feeling like that from time to time?

MUEN: WOULD YOU SAY ONE OF YOUR FAVORITES IS “IN THE DARK?”

I would say that is the one that has got stuck in my head the most. When we finished the album and we were thinking about doing a video for it, we just shot one for it, all of us thought about that song. I think it is super catchy and it has a great chorus to it. I don’t want to say it’s my favorite song on the album because I always fluctuate with these things. I don’t have a favorite song that we’ve ever even done. Some of the songs I love, I’m just so sick of playing them live, it’s like I never want to hear them again and then the next week I will feel differently and love that song. “In the Dark” right when it was finished did seem like one of the strongest songs on the album.

MUEN: YOU’RE VIDEOS ARE THE BEST. WHEN WILL IT RELEASE?

It’s supposed to be by the end of this month. Mike in our band directed it, so it was kind of a first experience for him. We’ve worked with really talented directors in the past, but it was interesting having Mike sort of mastermind it. He has been in the band since the beginning, so he has a really clear concept of the different imagery that we have had. A lot of those elements are in the video so it was interesting to see him take control of it that way.

MUEN: I LOVE ALL OF THE VISUALS YOU USE, WHO DOES ALL OF YOUR ARTWORK, IT IS BRILLIANT?

We do a lot of it ourselves and we work with other artists as well. We have been trying to do a new website and it has ended up being more of a fiasco than we anticipated for a lot of different reasons. We worked with an artist named Natalie Shau because we conceptualized for the website that we wanted to have different areas of a city. She is an artist and she ended up taking the idea and conceptualized a lady walking down a graveyard path. For the album cover art we had another friend named Vincent Marcone from My Pet Skeleton paint the album cover. He took Natalie’s idea of the lady on the path and sort of made it his own. I wanted to have an amusement park with a Ferris wheel visible in the back of each scene. The cover was a collaboration and I don’t know what’s happening with the website. We had some big plans for it, but not everything goes as smoothly as we plan, so it’s sort of on hold. We are all pretty interested in the artistic elements. We like to work with other people too because it is a cool way to work with friends and help them out.

MUEN: TELL ME ABOUT ‘GOODBYE FOREVER.’ DO YOU MAKE JEWELRY AND KNITTED ITEMS?

My friend Laura and I were doing this. I was doing little knitted hats and crocheted creatures. She is all into jewelry making so she was doing that, but it has turned into a lot of work. When I get back I’m probably going to re-vamp that. I’m still selling my artwork and I have it on tour with me. I try and stay creative when were not touring although it is very temping to just go to sleep and not wake up for three months.

MUEN: ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT YOUR LIVE SHOW IS ONE OF THE BEST I’VE EVER SEEN. IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A BAND ON STAGE SINGING.

I personally like to watch bands that are clearly having a good time. We want to be good musicians as well; we are not up there to goof around necessarily. It should be entertaining to watch. With photo shoots I’m always trying to look cool and I always think I look ridiculous, so I figure I may as well go up there and not try and be cool. It’s really boring to watch people who are hyper conscious of how they look, I mean obviously I care what I look like, but when we get up there I just want everyone who came to have a good time. If I’m standing there trying to look awesome, it’s not very much fun.

MUEN: THAT WAS SOMETHING I NOTICED WHEN WATCHING YOU PLAY, YOU MAKE FACES. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE TO WATCH.

Thank you very much; I get really bad stage fright. It is almost like I go into a character before we have to perform. We just did a show in Los Angeles a couple nights ago and it was a big show. There were a lot of our fans and people we know there. It is so much worse playing in front of people you know than strangers. I have felt like I was going to throw up before. I’m not very outgoing when I’m not on stage. When I get out there I make faces, I goof around and I do my best. It’s like a switch gets thrown, otherwise I wouldn’t even be able to look into the crowd. When I was younger I was terrified of talking in front of groups. Now, I try and make eye contact with every single person in the audience. It’s almost like confronting my pure fear of being up there.

MUEN: YOUR FANS LOVE YOU AND THEY JUST WANT TO SEE YOU.

You would think so, but you don’t want to disappoint.

MUEN: YOU JUST GOT OFF THE ROAD WITH OTEP. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR MUSIC ONLY APPEALS TO THE GOTH AND INDUSTRIAL FANS OR DOES IT APPEAL TO A WIDER RANGE OF PEOPLE?

I think we definitely appeal to a pretty wide range of people. We are doing three headlining shows on the way back right now; we are not quite finished with our tour. When we headline, we get such a wide array of people. We will have goth kids, industrial fans and then we get raver people with the glow sticks. We get the little emo people with their side parts, everybody is there. What is good about our shows is that everybody seems to get along. Different scenes can be pretty protective I think, but in that way we are lucky because we get a nice mix and everyone seems to get along really well.

MUEN: YOU’RE DOING A HEADLINING TOUR AND YOU’LL BE OUT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15TH. WHAT ARE THE PLANS AS FAR AS TOURING AFTER THAT?

We are doing an east coast tour of about eight dates and then in terms of North America we are supposed to come back in November and do a pretty thorough U.S. sweep. We are still trying to put it together. We are trying to figure out support bands right now. It’s fun because we want to bring some friends of ours. We are at the point where we have toured enough that we know bands that we are really friendly with. We will see what we can put together.

MUEN: YOU HAVE AN ENORMOUS FOLLOWING. AT WHAT POINT DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE BECOMING WELL KNOWN IN THE SCENE?

I don’t even know that we are. Someone was saying the Universal City Walk was playing the “Looking Glass” video, which is apparently a really big deal. I don’t even know what City Walk is. I think because we live in Canada, it’s hard to know what is going on in the States. A lot of times in Europe too, we have toured extensively in Europe as well for the last few years. I have no idea what is going on in Europe or the States. I just hope people come to the shows and every night I have my fingers crossed because I’m terrified no one is going to.

MUEN: THE LAST TIME WE DID AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU IT GOT SO MUCH ATTENTION BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE YOUR BAND.

I’m glad and that makes me feel relieved. With the state of the way music is, you just hope people buy the album. It is such an essential thing because that is where it reflects, in those numbers. They can’t tell how many people are reading interviews or looking at different things, but they can tell how many albums are being bought. I think it is hard for any band to tell how well they are doing these days.

MUEN: WELL, WE HERE AT MUEN LOVE YOU AND WE SUPPORT YOU.

Well that makes me very happy, I appreciate that.

MUEN: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW, IT WAS A REAL PLEASURE.

Thanks so much for having me.

MUEN: BEFORE I LET YOU GO WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR SAY?

Buy the album, it comes out on September 14th and come to the shows!! We appreciate everyone’s support.

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