By Alex Teitz and Samantha Donen
Bif Naked has the distinct honor of being FEMMUSIC’s first national and international interview. When we heard about her 2001 release Purge, FEMMUSIC jumped at the chance to speak with her again. Bif Naked has gone from dark and sinister with her first album, I, Bifficus, to the pop and rock of Purge. Purge is self-affirming in its lyrics and shows that Naked has evolved her style in the years since she began. Naked is known for extensive touring. She is found on the road for upwards of ten months a year or more. For more information visit www.herroyalmajestysrecords.com
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
BN: Usually when my heart is breaking, I start writing songs…I mean, I dunno…sometimes it is six months before we record, sometimes it is on going, and…we co-write. I co-write with peter and doug, we co-write in the studio a lot. And if we jam out, I’ll get a CD burn of it and take it home and work with it by myself because I like writing lyrics when I am alone.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Purge?
BN: Not sticking pencils in my eyes
BN: Because I was so depressed when we were doing that record, it was a really hard time in my personal life and I dunno, making the recording was the release of my suffering. So my suffering definitely comes across on a few songs.
FEMMUSIC: I would say so…
BN: It’s good, its the first time I got to record in my own studio and I think that enabled me to show more emotions somehow.
FEMMUSIC: How was it working with Desmond Child?
BN: It was amazing! He is so cool and fun, I dunno…I had a really good time. I had a really, really good time.
FEMMUSIC: Whose choice was it to make the different versions of “I Love Myself?”
BN: Are you talking about the dance remix?
BN:I love dance clubs, I love going dancing and stuff. So it has always been a part of the recording repertoire.
FEMMUSIC: Did you have any one or two experiences that really stood out making Purge?
BN: “Choking on the Truth”, I was balling my eyes out when we were recording it. And there is one part in the song where I can not listen to the recording because it transports me exactly to the moment where I sang the line. And it was really, REALLY sad. And I don’t like listening to it at all. I can’t hear it.
FEMMUSIC: One song that stuck out for me while I was listening was “Stolen Sidewalk.” I was wondering how that song came about…
BN: um…I dunno..Pete and I wrote it a long time ago. You know, before the uh…recording process got underway. We wrote it with an acoustic guitar. And you know (she laughs) That was another good cryer.(she laughs) I was crying when we wrote it kinda thing. It’s ultimately an oral suicide note, I guess. you know that moment of despair…such deep despair, was the emotion behind that tune. Uh, its like the bottom, when you hit the bottom. of whatever it is.
FEMMUSIC: Well, it sounds incredible.
BN: Thank you. Yeah I am really proud of the song and I am glad that it is recorded. (pauses) very glad.
FEMMUSIC: How much time were you in the studio?
BN: Only a couple of months really. We were at home but we were fitting it in between a little bit of touring. So, I dunno, I’d say like three or four months to write and record it. And then with mixing schedules and stuff, at the end of the day it was like 6 months later.
FEMMUSIC: Wow! I know I was surprised when I first heard word of the album because whenever I have checked on you, you are almost always on the road.
BN: Yeah, I love touring. I love touring soo much.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change most about the music industry?
BN: What would I want to change? Not a lot. Honestly, it’s a real exciting business to work in. You know it really is. It brings out the best and worst in people. And for someone like myself, it always throws challenges my way. Whether it is just regulatory challenges or whatever. Its constantly inspiring me and stimilutating me. I am always inspired by other bands that I see. and I never ever get tired of it. Ever. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry, have you faced discrimination?
BN: Oh, I dunno. I think there is that kind of discrimination in our society. You know I don’t think anything is specific to the music industry. I really don’t find any. From my own experience, the only thing I wish is that rock radio would play more girls. That’s the only thing. That is just regular wishing something for something, you know?
FEMMUSIC: I know
BN: It’s not anything that I am yelling and screaming about. Although, I probably should.
FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to somebody starting out?
BN: Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit. Its like Tibet, man, never give up. Don’t quit. Don’t think that it is futile. Because its not. You look at bands like the Chili peppers or even bands like No Doubt. They are experiencing great successes now but they didn’t always. If they would have given up we wouldn’t be able to enjoy their music today. The same with, I dunno… a lot of the old punk bands are coming back and doing stuff again. Its a really exciting time in music now. It’s really fun.
FEMMUSIC: My final questions is, what do you think was the biggest lesson you learned between I, Bifficus and Purge?
BN: The biggest lesson I have learned. You know, I don’t know if I have learned any. I am still getting heartbroken. And I am still getting the songs all the times. You know I’m still miss all or nothing. I am just hoping with every passing year that I am hopefully evolving a little bit as a human. It is one that I really strive for. I am learning little baby steps every day. Even if it is just as simple as waiting patiently in the line at the post office. I am having to relearn things all the time, like that, like patience. It’s good. Its good to forever be a student of life.