Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I.M. A Popstar: A Spectacular Interview with Bifford

Yeah that's right, popstars actually want to talk to me.

Indie singers in pop are becoming harder and harder to find. Most big stars make it with major record label connections or starting as Vine Stars first. But some of the best popstars of yesteryear like Little Boots and Marina and the Diamonds started out by just getting tracks out there and slowly building up popularity from their genius. That feeling of discovery is something you'll get from Massachusetts-based singer of electropop Bifford. Having the popstar spirit since the day he was born, Bifford already has one really great song and he has another ridiculously good song coming out TOMORROW! To get all the info you need on this new musical talent, read my conversation with Bifford himself.

Let's Do This!

Bifford: Woo! Celebrate good times, C'mon!

Good Kylie reference, I can tell this is going to go well. So how are you doing today?

B: I'm pretty good, got a bit of a headache from last night, drinking on an empty stomach (chuckles). How about you?

Fine thanks, just got back to New York but actually got enough sleep for once.

B: I'm pretty jealous, I have the biggest New York goals. Yet here I sit.

Massachusetts can be fun… for a while.

B: Eh, I don't see it. I'm not even super close to Boston. I guess I've got Providence, but I feel like I'm missing out on so much not being in New York City.

It's okay. Anyone who wants to make it here eventually does. It's just a matter of time. So, what is life like as a young up and coming indie popstar?

B: Pretty frustrating, not gonna lie. But also very rewarding once you get like anything happening. Like even small things seem huge because I feel like we're fighting hard for like anything and everything.

Has the ball been rolling for a while? Or would you say this is the beginning of your music career?

B: I feel like I've been doing this forever. Like, this year is really the first year I'm very active. But I've been writing since I was 12, and recording since I was like 16. In my mind I've been a popstar for like 20 years, haha!

That's a good mindset to be in. That's probably why Lady Gaga got so big, SHEER DETERMINATION!

B: Yeah definitely. It's a good time to be doing this I think. You don't really need big labels and all that to find your place in the industry these days. Usually people seem better off just going at it on their own.

So true. At this point, YouTube and Vine seem like the place where artists are popping up before Spotify makes them huge. That's 2015 for you. Since you have been writing for so long, it is safe to say that there must be a lot of material. Would you say it sounds a lot like your first single "Die Happy"?

B: Oh god no. "Die Happy" is really really old. There's a couple songs on the EP that're from like a couple years after that, but "Die Happy" was kind of a random song I wrote before I really thought I could have a chance at doing this. I'd like to think I've grown a lot lyrically. Some of the lyrics make me chuckle a little, but I adore the song still anyway.

It does sound like it's from the 80's, but also sounds like it might be a Robyn song. So it all works out in the end.

B: Well, 80's was definitely a goal. I wanted to aim for a Madonna first album feel a bit. Or like Paul Lekakis. I'm still always aiming for Paul Lekakais. He's fantastic.

I can't say I know him, so while I YouTube him, who are some other influences of your work?

B: Twiggy, Vanity (both solo and the group), TLC, Spice Girls, Scientists, Violent Femmes. A lot of those early 2000s bands with a couple of good songs, like 5ive and Jump5. And like recently I've been really into lo-fi pop, and starting to get into the genres that are kind of up and coming, like chill wave. 

UPDATE: Paul is amazing and you are well on your way to being the new Lekakis.

B: You have no idea how much that means to me. Haha, life goals.

The early 2000s bands were amazing, weren't they? You don't get groups like those nowadays.

B: A*Teens, B*witched, *NSYNC, Jump5, all you really need.

So true, but you're missing Mis-teeq, Sugababes, and GIRLS ALOUD!!!!

B: I actually have very little knowledge of Sugababes or Girls Aloud! (GASP) I don't think I'd even heard of Girls Aloud until like 2011 when I started paying more attention to pop forums during the initial "Die Happy" release. 

Well, your pop homework is to listen to every album by them. Girls Aloud's "Can't Speak French" has to be one of the greatest songs of the century. But I digress… How was it searching for producers for your music?

 B: PlanetPurple was the first person I ever messaged, and somehow it worked out really well. After that, I tried to branch out and a lot of producers failed to get me at all. I get pretty weird, and a lot of producers aren't really comfortable with releasing songs about me talking about boys. I insist it can be embraced and isn't gonna doom me to being super niche all my life. But if it happens like that, so be it I guess!

Hopefully that sort of mentality will change soon. It seems like PlanetPurple has been a great partner. Has he worked on all your music so far?

B: The entire EP's produced by him, and the other stuff I've been sampling and messing with has vocal production by him. So pretty much everything he's at least had a hand in, yup.

Cool, so let's talk about the EP. You have a new single coming out very soon. How has preparing for the single and EP release been?

B: The second single was supposed to be another song, but we both decided this one would be a better one to chuck out. I've always called this one our "secret weapon." It just seemed like a good time for it. Hopefully, it'll give us enough momentum to get the next song and the EP out finally. The video was pretty difficult. Videoing without a budget is severe man haha!

I can't even imagine. How was filming yesterday?

B: It was pretty good. It's nice to have someone to film and edit it this time. There was more I wanted to do and I think I'm definitely learning to kind of just make the best with what I have and just try to make it work. But I'm a perfectionist, so I'm like never happy. I think that explains this EP. Both me and PlanetPurple are huge perfectionists, so it's taken forever. But I think the quality is definitely far, far beyond what it should be with the current circumstances.

Well that's never a bad thing. It sounds like this has been a really exciting year for you so far. What are you hoping people will remember about this EP in, say, 5 years?

B: I hope people look back on it and think it's just as good then as it is now. I've sat with these songs for a long time and they're still fresh to me, so I'm hoping they'll be able to stand the test of time. So much music today is forgotten only a year or two after release. I definitely long to be someone people come back to.

It's hard to find that special popstar X factor, but I think that with the work and passion you've put in, it's going to be hard to forget the music you make. So what does the release schedule for "Fantasy" and the new EP look like?

B: "Fantasy" will be out on the 29th. The EP doesn't have a set date yet. But it's pretty much complete, it's our baby so we're waiting for the perfect time. It's called "Science"

That is a great EP name, cannot wait! Here is a NSOTP exclusive snippet of "Fantasy"! Would you be up for some rapid-fire pop trivia to wrap this up?

B: Oh yes, hopefully I don't totally tank this!

Okay. Who is the better Robyn of 2015: Robyn Fenty or Robyn Carlsson?

B: Oh god, Robyn Fenty. Bitch better have my money.

B: Is that the right Robyn?

Yes, until Robyn releases the new EP. Haha, that song is actually really good after the 10th listen.

B: I'm gonna have to google her! I don't know who that is. I'm ashamed of me.

Robyn, queen of Scandinavia, "Dancing On My Own"????

B: Oh god! I blame it on the headache. I jam to that, it's always playing at work oddly.

Are you Team Taylor or Team Katy as of late?

B: I feel like so much of that stuff is fake and just for tabloids. But Katy's recent tweet during the Nicki thing probably made me a bit team Katy. People at home will hate me for this.

It's okay, I feel the same way, although Taylor's last album was way better than Katy's.

B: I can totally jam to "Blank Space." Although I prefer "Tear Drops On My Guitar"…

Who is your favorite boy band at the moment? I find that we are in a new boy band age and girl groups are dying down.

B: I haven't really heard any. I only have Aux and CD in my car, so I don't get any radio time. And I'm honestly bad at staying up to date on top 40. Only newer boy band songs on my Spotify are "You and I" and "Night Changes." I never really listened to One Direction but I really enjoy those two songs.

That's fair. What was your reaction to the Zayn incident?

B: I mean, my favorite would be Niall. So it'd be a bit like if Mel C left the Spice Girls. Geri was my favorite, so that cuts me up still.

That was a dark time. Kids these days seem to feel that way about Zayn though.

B: Yeah, I feel like he was fan favorite, very unfortunate for their fans. They lasted quite a while though.

If you were to dye your hair, what color would you do?

B: I've already gone through my weird color stage, but a part of me longs for my old purple and blue combo still. I also could feel something like dark green. My psychic told me I'm gonna go red.

Do you think you could write Lady Gaga her next hit single?

B: Doesn't she write her own stuff? I'd never be against it. Although, I've never really written for anyone else. Except for "Fantasy" actually. Wasn't meant to be mine initially, haha!

That's interesting, it sounds like such a good continuation of "Die Happy." I didn't expect it to be for someone else.

B: Yup, it was initially written for Julia of t.A.T.u. I decided to keep it before we even sent it over though.


B: No no no, PlanetPurple had done a remix for them and then was gonna submit a song to her and tapped me to help write it. I decided to keep it before we were gonna send it.

Awwww but that's still awesome, imagine if you wrote the t.A.T.u comeback track?

B: Well it was just gonna go to Julia solo, but that would be awesome!

Do you have a dream collab in mind?

B: Hm. Dream collab. Probably Prince.

Somehow, I guessed that. Do you consider yourself "Cool for the Summer"?

B: I'm not sure what that means, but uh. I think I'm pretty cool for every season. Nobody else thinks I'm cool though.

That's a good answer, it was supposed to be a play off the new Demi Lovato song… I guess I'm not very cool for the summer myself.

B: I'm still waiting for the song of the summer. But I might've missed it since I don't have a radio.

There will be a post on the website about that very soon so I would just wait for that ;P! What do you consider the best album of 2015? (So far, as we haven't reached the amazing period of Q4 yet)

B: Probably New Alhambra by Elvis Depressedly. I was gonna say Broke With Expensive Taste, but that was last year wasn't it. I love Azealia.

Who doesn't? When she comes around to actually releasing music, she really gets it.

B: She's definitely an inspiration on an indie pop level, and I love her attitude. It's all so good. I adore "Idle Delilah."

Let me know if you end up doing a badass rap over the synth-pop electro thing.

B: I've never really written a rap song, but I can wreck "Ice Ice Baby" and "Liquorice".

Now last question, and it is the most important one so far: What is your favorite Kylie Minogue song?


B: Probably "Love At First Sight".


B: It's simply the best.

Well thank you so much for your time, this has been really fun!

B: Thank you so much for having me!

Bifford on Facebook
Bifford on Twitter
Bifford on SoundCloud

No comments:

Post a Comment