AE: Well it’s still pretty new to them. If you give them time to deal with it, I’m sure things will get better. You’ve been dealing with this for a long time, even if it was hard for you, but this is still new to them. Once they figure out that it’s really nothing — it’s such a small part of who you are — hopefully they’ll come around.
JB: Well, like you said, a lot of people had harder times coming out.
AE: Well that doesn’t take away from how difficult your experience was with coming out. Coming out is a difficult experience for everyone, even people with families that already seem to be ok with the LGBT community. It’s never easy.
So, with the album itself, I can understand the feeling of wanting to put all of your emotions down into song, but did it make you nervous at all once it was about to be released to the public? Or did you feel like maybe a weight had been lifted?
JB: I think some things are meant to be kept for me but with this it’s like, I’d rather share with the world something that we all go through. Like if it helps me, it might help someone else. I kind of want to die empty; I don’t want to have anything (emotionally) inside of me left. You know what I mean?
AE: [Laughs] That’s one hell of a way of putting it!
JB: [Laughs] Yeah, I mean I just want to put it all out there. Some things are meant to be kept for yourself, but experiences like that — it was the most freeing and the most helpful thing for me to do for myself. It’s not like I was trying to inspire anybody but I wanted people, no matter gay, straight, whatever, to know that they’re not alone. Love is f–king blinding and it’s weird how low you can go as a human. Then you meet someone and suddenly you’re like, “Wow, how could I have felt so f–king low?”
Photo courtesy of Julie Ann Bee/Facebook
AE: It’s funny because when I wrote the review for AfterEllen.com, I was saying I know that the songs were very personal for you but the songs that you sing and the emotions you talk about resonate with so many people. It’s a powerful ability to be able to write about experiences or emotions that are so universal. How does that make you feel as a songwriter? Like, I can’t necessarily find words to express myself so I turn to music to do that for me.
JB: I guess I feel like a friend. Just saying how it is sometimes and hopefully it will resonate to someone else. I’m not trying to be a rock ‘n roll star. Everything I’ve done has probably been done in the past but to be honest and be whole-hearted I think is rare nowadays. And I’m not trying to be rare, I’m just doing it because it makes me happy. Hopefully it will help someone else and we can all just — I don’t know, it sounds like I want the whole world to be happy. [Laughs]I just want to be real. I don’t want to make music to be a f–king badass. I just want to feel good waking up every day doing something that I love. I have a good life and I want that for most people. There’s a lot of assholes out there.
AE: That’s for sure. So, you’re on this massive tour right now.
JB: Yeah, I was just in Norway and I was up on stage like, “My people!” [Laughs] And I was so excited in Germany.
AE: Yeah I saw some of your tweets. It sounds like you’re having an amazing time right now. I also saw from your Tumblr account — which, by the way, I love because it is so random.
JB: Ha, yeah, like two women kissing and some children.
AE: Yeah and animals and some old photography or pictures of old tools. It made me laugh.
JB: Yeah, I just post things up there for memories. Like the picture of the wood and the water is because of the place I’m staying right now. And I put the picture up of the dog because I really wanted a dog right at that moment. And the picture of the old man (with tattoos) because I wanted a new tattoo. I want to get tatted all over the place.
AE: So it sounds like you’re pretty impulsive.
JB: I am, I just did that. [Shows me a new tattoo.]
AE: What does it say?
JB: You’re going to think I’m cheesy. I don’t want to tell you! [Laughs]
AE: Ha, you must not think very highly of me if you think I’m going to make fun of you for being cheesy!
JB: Do you know Kip (Malone) from TV on the Radio? I texted him the other day asking if he knew a really good tattoo artist in New York and he texted back with someone’s name. So I went and it was this cool dude with a big beard. I just drew something up for him right there really quickly and gave it to him. He looked at it and was like, “You don’t have to know everything, just be today who you want to be.” And I’m like, yeah, you don’t have to know everything about the future. Just be right now.
AE: That’s a good quote for life! That’s not cheesy! It also goes really well with your impulsivity. It makes perfect sense actually. So, on your Tumblr page, you said something about finally being truly happy. What do you feel has gotten you to this point?
JB: This has probably been my favorite year. I’ve been through a lot and am realizing more what I want in life. I don’t want drama. If there’s drama I just don’t affiliate myself with it. I’ve been surrounding myself with really good people. Like my best friend John. I stick close to him because he’s just up front and open. And I’m with this really wonderful person right now who is just really easy to be with. Like she’s not one of those people who is trying to slap you around or trying to get something from you. She won’t say, oh you’re not doing enough for me now. It’s like, can you just live your life and if you don’t like it, go. You can’t change for somebody. You have to be inspired. I just want to go up in the world.
AE: And that’s what a relationship should be all about.
JB: Yeah it’s like just go up, up, up — like that movie. I want to be with somebody who wants their children to fly and have magical powers.
AE: Oh yeah, talk about party of tears, I was sobbing for over half of that movie to the point of not being able to breathe. My friends were making fun of me.
JB: Aw, yeah it’s a great movie, isn’t it? Makes me feel all mushy inside.[Laughs]
AE: So are you working on some new songs now that you’re taking the world by storm?
JB: Oh f–k yeah! I’ve got three new fun little ditties and it’s feeling really good.
AE: When do you think people who aren’t halfway across the world will be able to get a taste of them?
JB: Well John and I are thinking about spending more time working on this next album and being a little more picky. I mean, Orangefarben was really fast. If I had more time on it I probably would’ve gone nuts and made it bigger than it is. I’m happy with it and I’m proud of it but I think we want to take more time on this next album and invest a lot of soul and heart into it more. With creativity, the more time you have, the more creative you can get. So maybe the beginning of the year next year I’ll have new material out. I know B-sides are coming out this year too.
I did a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” — oh it’s such a good song. My friend Jen, who is a drummer — she recorded it with me. She came out not that long ago and she and I are really similar. She’s a hottie, one of my best friends ever and she’s awesome. She’s actually going to be playing my American shows with me. I like to play with my friends when I can.
AE: Since you’re in such a different emotional state than you were when you were recording the album, have you made any adjustments to the way you are playing songs from Orangefarben live?
JB: I think I’ve come past it. Like I really feel like doing this album has made me come clean inside and out. It made me realize how strong I am. Like when I think about how much power someone had over me it’s kind of scary, but then I think about how much power I have and it feels really amazing. So when I sing them now, I just think about people and how far I’ve come some times. But I think about putting on a good vibe and enjoying myself and having my team enjoy themselves.
Looking back on the album though, I guess it depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll look back and think, “Wow that was painful,” but I won’t cry or miss it! It was a different point in my life and we’re both different people now and hopefully we can just be stronger for it and grow up more. Because it is all just experiences and it either works or it doesn’t. So you just keep yourself good at heart.