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Inception Media

Interview with Chibi


The Birthday Massacre

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: August 2011

Brian Rademacher: Hello Chibi and welcome to RockEyez. THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE started back in 1999 under the name IMAGICA do you feel that in the twelve year career the band achieved what you set out to do?

Chibi: I don't know if we really had any clear goal in mind. We started the band as a way to hang out and write music for fun, and play some shows and just enjoy ourselves. We didn't ever anticipate back then that we would achieve any level of success or be able to travel and tour. In terms of songwriting, I'm really happy that we have written music that means something to people. We've always taken things one step at a time and done what makes the most sense for us, and that's what we continue to do.

Brian Rademacher: In the early days of the band you released some EP's independently. Did you have major label interest also at that time?

Chibi: We had interest from a few labels of varying size over the years, but we learned pretty early on that things can be fickle and vague and that there's a lot of talk that often doesn't go anywhere. There was also only so much we have been willing to compromise in order to be true to who we are and what the band and its music means to us. We have relied on ourselves most of the time, and we achieved a lot before we signed to any labels. And the labels we have worked with have respected those achievements and the band, and not asked us to sacrifice anything. We've been able to do things creatively on our own terms. That has always been essential to us.

Brian Rademacher: Looking back do you feel the band made good choices in the growth of the band?

Chibi: Yes. There's always going to be situations we'll look back on and say "Oh, maybe we should have done that instead", but ultimately, we have chosen what has felt right at the time and you can't dwell and wonder. There are many possible outcomes to any decision. We have always taken things very seriously when making decisions that will affect our career; I think maybe sometimes we over think things.

Brian Rademacher: Is there unreleased material that was recorded in the beginning stages of the band that have a possibility of being released one day?

Chibi: We had a lot of material that was recorded back then when we were using a 4-track. The quality is not really up to par with what we have released on our albums since then, it's the kind of stuff that we may fully rework one day and possibly release, sure. There's some good stuff there, some good songs.

Brian Rademacher: Was it always the intentions of the band to have a certain image?

Chibi: Yes, we started with that in mind. All of us in the band already sort of dressed a certain way and did our hair a certain way, things like that, and presenting ourselves creatively was part of the "fun" element of the band. Having an atmosphere to our website and our art and merchandise, it was all meant to tie in and be fun for us and for people who like the music. It's been good, over the years people come to shows and dress up as well and make outfits that match our stage outfits. It's a fun way to have that inclusive sense of community with our audience.

Brian Rademacher: What was it like to sign your first autograph?

Chibi: Strange. I mean signing "Chibi", because that's my stage name, it felt weird. It's not my real name, it was awkward. But we always do that - after every show we have ever played unless someone is sick, we hang out and take pictures and sign things for people. It has always been important to us to do that.

Brian Rademacher: As a child who was the musician you always wanted to be like?

Chibi: I loved the band CONCRETE BLONDE, I still do. Johnette Napolitano has always been one of my favorite vocalists. I loved her voice, and I also loved her sense of style. She's probably the reason I dyed my hair black when I was younger. She was just so cool, so pretty and talented. I wanted to be like that. She's also a visual artist, which I admire.

Brian Rademacher: Most of THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE covers kind of have that Tim Burton feel. What are your feelings about that?

Chibi: I'm fine with that, I like a lot of his movies. Well, his older ones. Beetlejuice and Edward Scisshorhands are great. I'm a bit tired of him casting Johnny Depp in every single movie he makes nowadays.

Brian Rademacher: You have an upcoming tour with DIR EN GREY what are some of the things you ask for on your tour rider or past tour riders?

Chibi: Just the basic stuff a group of tired, traveling people would ask for. A decent meal, coffee, tea. A few drinks for before the show. I think the weirdest thing I've asked for is, like, herbal throat tea if I get sick and my voice gets wrecked, which happens to me a lot on tour. We've joked around about trying to get puppies on the rider, and clean socks, but nothing crazy. No white lilies or wall hangings or M&Ms with the green ones taken out or anything like that. We have a pretty basic rider. I remember once in England we had a promoter at a venue that put a few packs of smoked herring out with the dinner. A few of us were totally into that, and weirdly enough we had the same promoter at a later show on that tour, and he got us a bunch more cause he remembered we liked it. It was cool of him.

Brian Rademacher: Are you a fan of the TV series True Blood and why?

Chibi: I've never seen it. People seem to really like it, and I've had it recommended to me a bunch of times, but I haven't gotten around to it.

Brian Rademacher: So you have a new disc out "Imaginary Monsters" Forever", "Burn Away", and "Left Behind" are the new tracks. Since there are eight songs on the disc why didn't you just record a complete new disc of all originals?

Chibi: We wanted to do an EP. Its fun to work with friends in other bands and see their takes on the songs for remixes as well. The originals that are included on this EP hearken back to when we were recording "Pins and Needles", our last full-length, so it was good to finish them off and be able to release them so that we can start with a clean slate for our next album.

Brian Rademacher: I read you like to design your own clothes. Are you working on anything now?

Chibi: I am always knitting and crocheting things, but since its summer now, that's sort of impractical - wearing wool clothes in the summer is not a good plan. So during the summer I usually knit blankets and toys. I've been modifying t-shirts and sewing bows on them, stuff like that. I have a pattern for a really nice cardigan sweater that I'll probably start on in the fall. I have the yarn for it - it's a really soft gray. I really love making clothes and blankets, it's very therapeutic for me. I always bring along a blanket I've knit to keep in my bunk on the tour bus.

Brian Rademacher: On a typical day off what do you do from waking up in the morning to bed time?

Chibi: I always sleep in. We'll get a motel room for the day, so when I wake up I will add my name to our shower queue list. Once I've had a shower I'll either see what's around - go get coffee or look around in shops - or just spend the day relaxing watching movies on the bus or in the hotel room. We bring along grills and a lot of the time we'll go to the grocery store and buy food for a barbecue in the parking lot. I'm also really interested in "haunted" places and I do a lot of research to see if there's anything nearby where we are staying. Last year, we had a day off in Humble, Texas. For years, I had been reading about the "haunted overpass" in Humble, and I couldn't believe it when I found out we were parked about fifteen minutes away from it. I got on my bike and went to check it out. That's another thing I do - I bring a folding bike along that can fit in the bus bay. Going for bike rides on days off is so relaxing. You can just hop on your bike and ten minutes later you're out in the countryside, away from the bus and the band and the whole tour, and you can just ride and explore and be by yourself for a while.

Brian Rademacher: Have you ever dated a fan before? Just asking because my friend Brian Montero loves you..

Chibi: Ha-ha, no I haven't. I don't know if I could date someone who had any sort of preconceived notion on who I am based on the band. For example, your friend Brian probably thinks I'm really cool and exciting to be around. I'd hate to disappoint him!

Brian Rademacher: Chibi I would like to thank you for taking time to talk with us and congratulations on the new CD "Imaginary Monsters". Would you like to say anything in ending?

Chibi: I'd like to thank you for this interview! I really appreciate it.


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