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Bif Naked interview
Itís always a whirlwind in the life of Bif Naked and itís especially so lately. The Vancouver singer-songwriter is working on a new record, the followup to Superbeautifulmonster. In addition, she is also returning as host of the popular BoDog Fight which is seen everywhere on the ION Network. Perhaps most exciting to her is that she just got engaged. Add to that record company duties and Mom to her treasured dogs and youíve got one busy lady. I had the pleasure of speaking with Bif recently to talk about everything that was going on with her.
BellaOnline: Hi Bif. Congratulations on your recent engagement. May we ask about your fiancťe?
Bif: Heís awesome. Heís just so awesome.
BellaOnline: I heard that he was a sports writer in Vancouver, is that right?
Bif: Yeah, he is. Heís worked for the Vancouver Sun for several years. And heís a ray of sunshine. And I kinda have always been a pretty positive person. A real optimist. A real idealist. And Walker is definitely much more positive than me (laughs) which is hard to believe. He just raises the bar on benevolence and humor and heís just the greatest. Heís the greatest gift to Nick and Ana and myself. Heís enhanced our life.
BellaOnline: I was just about to say I would imagine that he has passed the test by Nicholas and Ana? Did they take to him right away?
Bif: Absolutely. His energy with them was positive from the start. The sun definitely rises and sets on that boy for these two dogs. Itís very funny. Itís a really thrilling time you know. And itís funny because people get married all the time in this universe and thereís something about it when you know, when you find somebody who becomes your best friend and then subsequently you make the decision to go forward, and kinda complete it and show the world you want to be married. Itís a different type of feeling, you feel really special and itís just really a very serendipitous time.
BellaOnline: Have you formalized plans yet? Do you know when you will be married?
Bif: Weíre getting married in October. That seems like the only time that works out for Walker and myself. I think next year Iím going to be working on a record release and itís going to be probably a little too busy.
BellaOnline: When we last talked, I asked you about the dark nature of Superbeautifulmonster. You said that they were the most positive ones of the batch you had written. You have reported that you are in the initial stages of writing for your next record. Has your engagement and presumably a more positive outlook had an effect on your writing?
Bif: It is kinda too early to tell. But so far, I havenít found that to be true at all. Which is funny because it gives me an interesting insight I didnít previously have to where I draw from when it comes to lyrics and songwriting. Clearly Iím drawing from a very subconscious dark little place. I love despair. Itís probably my favourite thing in the world I like to write about. And that has not changed. (laughs) and poor Ian. Heís never seen a show. Heís never been to one of my concerts in his lifeÖ
BellaOnline: Youíre kidding.
Bif: No. Never heard my records before we met. You know itís so funny because one would think he would get a bit of a complex from my dark, desolate, desperate little writing and musings and he just kinda shakes it off (laughs).
BellaOnline: What can you tell us about the material at this point, in terms of direction Öis anything planned or is it just organically happening?
Bif: It always kinda evolves and at this point, itís just really had to go where itís going to go because again I just wind up writing so much material, and then at the end itís almost like drawing names out of a hat. I just have no idea. I canít even imagine if itís going to be a death metal record or an acoustic record laughsÖ I just have no idea.
BellaOnline: Youíve done covers in the past. Do you have any plans to do one for this record, are there any out there that youíre aching to cover the way that you wanted to do a Metallica song last time?
Bif: Um, you know, the thing with the Metallica song was that it was suggested to me to do. I would never have thought of doing something that, like a rock song, for example. With the exception of something like Bad Brains or some old school obscurity in a way. You know what? Thereís a lot of songs that I really like that I think would sound great made into punk songs. Thereís a lot of R&B songs from you know, the sixties and seventies that would make great punk songs with a different tempo on, a different guitar treatment. Yeah, I donít really have any formal plans yet.
BellaOnline: Along with the usual suspects, you wrote with Todd Kerns last time and on Purge you wrote with Desmond Child. Have you been or do you plan on writing with anybody outside of your circle this time out or does it come to do you writing as much as you can by yourself and then seeing what else you need?
Bif: I have gotten some interesting collaboration potentially planned. Thereís Randy and Mark from Lamb of God.
BellaOnline: Yeah, I can see that, yes.
Bif: Iíd really like to do some stuff with them this year. And because I mean I think a lot of people that Iíd like to work with, I have no formal real schedules with like, obviously anyone like Ron Sexmith. You know, yeah, that type of feeling that they have when they write, is something that I just really, it really resonates with me. Or even, you know, I want to write with Greg Nori who I toured with many times with his old band. Thereís just so many people. Itís to my benefit that Iím such a shitty guitar player. It really is because I love collaboration. Iíve always worked that way and I think I always will.
BellaOnline: We havenít had an opportunity yet to see The Crossing, My Greatest Masterpiece is terrific, so congrats on thatÖ
Bif: Ah, thanks.
BellaOnline: Itís a terrific song. Did you do that for, was that just a song that you had, a new one, or did you write it specifically for the movie?
Bif: That song got cut off of Superbeautifulmonster. That song I wrote with a guy called Peter Zizel. And I wrote a couple songs with him at the same time I wrote the Kevin Kadish tracks. Because they all lived in New York. So I did a bunch of writing with a lot of different people there and yeah, Peter Zizel is an extremely musical guy. Kind of like John Webster. I mean these guys, the way hear sounds and you know melodies is not like normal people. Itís really strange. Itís almost you know, Mozart-esque (laughs). It was really fun working with Peter Zizel. So thatís one of them. That was the first time I ever wrote with him.
BellaOnline: We were lucky enough to see The L Word and I think you would fit in terrifically there on a regular basis.
Bif: ah thanks. That was fun.
BellaOnline: Is there a chance of a recurring role on there?
Bif: From your mouth to Godís ears.
BellaOnline: That would be terrific.
Bif: Yeah, itíd be great but at the time I was in town for the day, basically. I was fortunate enough to be able to do that scene with Alan Cummings of whom Iím a big fan. So it was a lot of fun. It was just great. Thatís a great cast that they have and itís a really popular show, so I felt very lucky.
BellaOnline: Where does acting rank on your pleasure chart right now say compared to music?
Bif: Itís never been really high for me, unless you know, somehow I lucked into you know Harvey Keitel movies or you know, Benicio del Toro movies or something. (laughs). Unless that were to happen, Iím rather apathetic. Regardless of if a get a role or if I donít get a role. It would have to be something that I found really worth being kinda sequestered to the film set. I donít really like the environment. You know, Iím a Type A personality. I get up at 4 a.m. every day still and I hit the ground running and go, go, go, go until Iím home at night. Having to sit on a film set kills me. It kills me. But that being said, Lunch with Charles, which was the first feature I didÖIíll go to my grave absolutely proud of that.
Bif: I always knew in my heart it was worth every single minute of being on the set. Because I was just so proud of everyone for the end result. You know, an indie film, everyone kinda suffered a little financially, in their comfort roles to do the movie and I sat watching the other actors, with whom I didnít get to do scenes. That was the most fun. I wasnít there for a lot of Christianís and Sebastianís scenes from The Crossing and to be able to watch them do their thing on screen was just a huge delight for me. And same with Lunch With Charles.
BellaOnline: Do you have anything else acting-wise on the go right now that you can tell us about?
Bif: Nothing. Nothing. Last year was all Superbeautifulmonster. I think I was home for a week last year. And it was really hard. It was hard being away from the dogs, although I took them on a couple of tours. I think now that theyíre 10 I wonít. And then Anastasia had another back surgery in December. Right before I had to leave for Russia, for the Pay-For-View. And that was just the hardest thing Iíve ever done. I just donít want to ever have to leave them again in a position like that.
BellaOnline: Youíve had a very steady career from the beginning to your current ranking at the top of the Canadian music industry. And youíve always done things your way or at least itís appeared that way. When you look back at everything, is there something you wish you had done differently career-wise? Or are you completely happy with the way things have gone.
Bif: You know what? Iíve always been really fortunate to just basically carve out a living, for so long. Iíve just really enjoyed kind of a long career. Iíve been doing this for 18 years. And you know, often Iíll get into conversations, actually with fans. They sometimes would have preferred that I would have been bigger. You know, why arenít you more popular here? Or why arenít you more famous, or more something. And I just think, youíve got to be kidding me man. You know, people go through Jennifer Anistonís parentsí garbage. Who would want that? Honesty I just donít even understand. I see a lot of artists today who I can recognize by watching them where theyíre at because once you start getting up there in the top 10 of billboard and stuff, itís a gong show. Itís exhausting for people and the closest thing I have to that is, you know, probably I Bificus in the states with the Tonight Show, and do morning radio in every city and doing a show late at night in every city. You know, itís a 23 hour day. Itís literally a 23 hour day with a big smile on your face. Itís very tiring and I think for a lot of people who might be just slightly unhinged or if thereís some type of disharmony in their life on any level, I just think, oh man theyíre just not going to be able to either psychologically or emotionally navigate whatís going on.
BellaOnline: Do you have a time frame in mind for your musical career? A 5 or 10 year plan or do you just do it one cycle at a time?
Bif: I totally do it one cycle at a time. And itís so funny because I didnít think I would do another record after Purge. I just didnít think so. I thought maybe Iíll try doing some more acting because again it was about touring. I didnít want to leave home. I didnít want to leave my dogs. And we started making Superbeautiful and that was, really an emotionally charged time for me. And it became a real important journey during the journey itself and it was something I just really needed to do and it was so wonderful to have it done and to see it through. And then to tour it in North America for almost a year and then last year in Europe. And up until November, I was so tired. (laughs) I was so tired, and plus doing the BoDog Fight filming. I was exhausted. I swore Iíd never make another record. I swore up and down, swore up and down. And then I went, you know what, it was like Brigitte Bardot who bows out of the spotlight before she gets really ugly. And I was like, dude, Iíve got to shutíer down here and open my juice bar and just be a dog mom. And I had been single for a really long time and I didnít care, you know, because no guy would be able to understand my dogs and Anaís surgery. No guy would be able to understand my job. And then I met Walker and going down that path with him has enabled me to go and be happy and go, oh, I canít wait to make another record. It was like the biggest piece of the puzzle is something that I can exhale about. I can concentrate on my art. Thatís something very different for me. I never would have expected it. Iíd love to get knocked up, donít get me wrong, (laughs) you know. Iíll die trying. Weíll see how it goes. Thereís not a lot of real good studies on raw vegan women over thirty. So Iím like, you know, if it happens.
BellaOnline: Well from a real spoiled, selfish point of view, weíre glad to hear thereís another record in the works.
Bif: (laughs) Yeah, there sure is.
BellaOnline: Anything else going on that we should know about? Any other additions to the HRMR roster?
Bif: Oh for BoDog, we just secured Wu Tang.
BellaOnline: Are you kidding me?
Bif: No. Very exciting.
BellaOnline: Wow. What a coup.
Bif:Weíre going to be coming out in Europe, I think this month at the end of the month, I forget. I have to go to London for the end of the month and Iím pretty sure itís for that release.
BellaOnline: What a great double bill that would be Biffy and RZA.
Bif: Ah, from your mouth to godís ear. By the way, I would love to write a song with him. So yeah, stuff like that is cool and it keeps me inspired and once again itís definitely due to you the kind of entrepreneurial vision that Calvin had. Heís just really smart. Itís just been a real pleasure.
BellaOnline: How involved are you on any level with the rest of the bands on your label, like The Vincent Black Shadow, which I love by the way.
Bif: I know, arenít they amazing?
BellaOnline: They are SO amazing.
Bif: I feel like Iím their mommy. (laughs) I wish I gave birth to them all. For someone like me to see them out there slugging out for the second year in a row for Warped Tour. I know the drill. Itís really hard. Cassie is the only girl in a very closed situation of all guys. Iíve done it. Iíve been exactly where she is and all I can really do is, if they ask me for advice or anything Iím happy to give it to them, but they donít. You know, theyíre really self-cleaning. Theyíre die hard, touring kids that get along and do what has to be done to make the tour go. Theyíre great little writers and theyíre amazing performers. Theyíre just amazing.
BellaOnline: Itís kind of disappointing that Much Music hasnít shown more support than they have.
Bif: Thatís a whole other animal now, you know. I always try to look at it from their perspective. Iím sure they get 5,000 videos delivered to them a week. And they can only add three. I remember when it was my videos hopefully being considered, I never took it personally that they didnít add mine because I thought, well, what am I going to fucking do? Gwen Stefani has a video out at the same time. You know, thereís nothing that can be done and you just kinda have to shake it off and still try to go in for an interview and theyíll show it that day. And you have to be happy for what you get. But when itís your artist, itís hard because you feel much more protective and you feel much worse for them because you want it for them and you think their videoís great and you think everything they do is great, even more so than yourself. It hurts your feelings when your sweet baby artists donít get added. (laughs) Itís very devastating.
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