Popular Toronto synth-pop six-piece The Birthday Massacre started making music together in 1999 just because it seemed like the natural thing to do. Now, more than a decade later, they’ve released successful independent albums, landed a label deal with Metropolis Records, toured the globe and watched as their 2010 album “Pins And Needles” went top 10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Working up a new album, the gothic rockers are taking advantage of their first opportunity to go straight to fans, and you can be one of the first to hear their new record.
We got the chance to chat with Rainbow, Chibi and M. Falcore about hitting their PledgeMusic goal in just 24 hours and a listening session that just might blow your mind.
It’s been more than a decade since your first album. Did you guys think you would still be making music together at this point?
RAINBOW: To be honest, I didn’t really think about it. Back then I was so caught up in the moment that I wasn’t looking too far down the road. My focus was usually on the situation at hand. We were a quirky group of friends doing our thing and living day to day, and the band was an extension of that chemistry. I never had any particular career expectations. I just wanted to be in a band with my friends.
CHIBI: We started the band as a project we could work together on and have fun with. There was no way we could have anticipated that we would still be together doing this over a decade later. If someone had told me back then that we would do everything that we have, traveled where we have, written the amount of music that we have, I don’t know if I would have believed it.
M. FALCORE: Most bands don’t stay together as long as we have, but in the early days we weren’t really thinking about how long we were going to work together. It just happened to work out that way.
What would you say has allowed you to stay together this long and still do well?
RAINBOW: Shared interests, similar tastes, humor, understanding and forgiveness have all played an important part. Above and beyond that, we’ve shared so much history and been through so much together that, over the years, we’ve become a weird little family. It’s hard for me to say how or why we “do well,” but I hope it’s because the honesty and effort we put into our work is truly resonating within our audience. We may not take one another too seriously, but we do take our work within this band seriously.
CHIBI: Yep, it’s the result of communication, learning from mistakes, respecting one another as best we can and definitely sharing a sense of humor. We genuinely care about one another. There have been ups and downs, of course, between us, but we’ve learned from them.
M. FALCORE: When you’re working artistically with a group of friends there has to be a level of compassion for everyone involved. People’s egos will always work against healthy collaboration, and if you don’t keep things in check then the relationship will deteriorate. I think that’s why a lot of bands break up.
You have a passionate fan base. Have you thought about going the direct-to-fan route on previous albums? What made you decide to do so this time around?
RAINBOW: Having a direct and meaningful relationship with our audience is something that’s always been important to us so the direct-to-fan route has always appealed to us. We didn’t really have the option to do this until recently, but now the opportunity is here and timing is right.
M. FALCORE: I don’t recall ever having the option to do this on previous albums, at least not in an organized way. There’s a potential for people to abuse this direct relationship, and it was very important for us to do it in a way that respected our fans.
How did it feel to cross your initial goal after 24 hours?
CHIBI: It took me completely by surprise.
RAINBOW: It felt amazing. It was such a positive response. More than we could have hoped for. So inspiring and encouraging.
M. FALCORE: It made us feel good to know that our fans really care about our band. It’s easy to forget that when you work in the music industry. We’re still a very independent band, and the industry has never shown us much support, so this confirms our belief that our fans are the people who matter most when it comes to TBM.
There are a lot of personal exclusives for fans to grab here. How long did it take to put the list together? Do you have any favorites?
RAINBOW: It took some time to put the list together, but it was a fun process. The handwritten lyrics and the mixing session visits were among some of my favorites. We’ll be adding more throughout the campaign.
CHIBI: We really did pore over the list. It was definitely cool to think about what kind of stuff we’d like to see offered by bands we like. My favorites are the ones involving visual art – the paintings, the customized guitars.
M. FALCORE: It took a while because we wanted it to be good. My faves are the listening session with the band and the photo shoot. If I could sit in a studio with my favorite band and listen to their new record before it’s been released, I think my head would explode – hah. Hopefully no one’s head will actually explode.
For longtime fans, how do some of the new songs coming out compare to “Hide and Seek”?
RAINBOW: It’s difficult to compare our previous album with this next because we’re still in the process of writing and recording it. That being said, every album we’ve made has taken on a life of its own, and this next one is starting to do the same. It already has a very unique sound in regards to the percussion and atmosphere. I’m also really excited about the themes and references made throughout some of the lyrics. I don’t want to say too much right now, but we’re all really enjoying the process.
CHIBI: Yeah, it’s impossible to compare them right now.
M. FALCORE: The songs are still taking shape, so it’s hard to say definitively. We’re trying to push the barrier a little bit and expand on the sound. We’ve always had an inclination toward the cinematic, but we’re trying to emphasize that a little more. And the themes are picking up where “Hide & Seek” left off.
You’re offering a remix exclusive by Rainbow and Falcore. How much of that have you done in the past?
RAINBOW: Mike and I have both done remixes in the past and had a great time with them. Deconstructing and reassembling someone’s art into something new can be a really interesting and inspiring process. We don’t often have time to take on many creative projects outside of The Birthday Massacre, so we’re really excited about this exclusive. It going to be fun.
M. FALCORE: We’ve done remixes for other bands and they’re always fun. The pressure to make something out of nothing isn’t there, which is nice for a change. And sonically they provide lots of opportunity to experiment. We’re looking forward to it.