Interview with Hannah Blilie

 
 

AE: What’s the most fun song for you to play drums on from this album?
HB:
I think the most fun songs so far are “Heavy Cross” — just because the audience really responds to it and it’s a fun beat to play. “Eighth Wonder” is really fun, it’s kind of more of a rock drumming approach. Also, “Men in Love” has a really weird funky drum beat and there’s cowbell.

AE: More cowbell!
HB
: (laughs) Yeah for me the growth between the two albums has been really awesome. We play some songs from Movement (2003) live and the difference between the albums is pretty huge. It’s a chance for me to challenge myself musically and play some things that are just really fun.

AE: Do you feel pressure at all being such a public figure for the queer community?
HB:
No, just because I feel like we’re just being ourselves and I think that’s kind of part of what appeals to people about our band. We’re outspoken queers and we talk about queer issues. We’re loud and proud, we come from the queer community and now we’ve got this opportunity to bring the message to the mainstream and it’s a really rad opportunity.

I don’t really feel pressure to be a spokesperson or anything like that because it’s really more about just being ourselves. I always feel the love from the queers and it makes us feel really amazing and empowered.

Hannah Billie

AE: You guys really are all about spreading the messages, what do you think is one of the most important messages to get out there right now?
HB:
I think our message has always just been about self-acceptance and self-empowerment. Finding whatever support in your friends, your family, your queer chosen family, just knowing you’re not alone in who you are and feeling the way you do about the world. There’s always someone there to support you. There are all different scenes that can make you feel like you’re not alienated.

When we were coming up and listening to Bikini Kill, Huggie Bear, Sonic Youth and Nirvana, those were the types of bands that made us feel like we could play music or get a message out or be queer, be radical feminists. There’s always something you can latch on to — to make yourself feel empowered and accepted. It’s a basic message but a really powerful one especially for people living in rural areas who feel like they’re all alone in how they feel about the world.

AE: It’s a simple message that doesn’t get out there enough. Are you pumped to be playing with MEN?
HB:
Yeah it is so awesome! I love MEN. We toured with JD [Samson] and Le Tigre five years ago when I was just starting in the band, so it’s kind of like a full circle moment. Ginger and Michael are just a really amazing group of people. They get dancers and sign holders in every city for them. Just really fun queer stuff!

AE: So, I just started a tattoo blog so I’m really interested in the tattoos you’ve got, can you tell me about those?
HB:
(laughs) I have so many now since I kind of started making money with the band! I went really wild because I always wanted to have full sleeves. It was always a dream of mine but I just never had money to get tattoos.

Now in the past two or three years I’ve just gone crazy. The two main pieces I’ve got on both arms are paintings by the artist Tamara de Lempicka. She’s a 1930’s Art Deco-era artist. They’re two women on either arm and just really cool Deco-ish pieces. I have lots of flowers, horses and birds. I just got my left arm totally filled, so I’m excited about that. I got a giant chess piece. Oh man, I’ve gotten so many in the last couple of years. My mom is kind of freakin’ out!

AE: I can relate, I’m Jewish so my family is going a little nuts. But it’s like, after one, I’m not getting buried in a Jewish cemetery anyway, might as well keep going!
HB:
That’s right, might as well go wild! I definitely am going to get more, but I’m kind of running out of room so I need to come up with new ideas.

AE: The only problem is running out of any skin area.
HB:
Yeah and getting more ideas. I’ve been really into traditional tattoos lately.

AE: Is there anything you’ve been listening to these days — besides your album?
HB:
Ha! I’m not listening to my album! I was obsessed with La Roux for a little while. I really like her album. And then another British group called The xx. It’s really mellow boy/girl vocals, really pretty and dark.

A lot of the stuff I’ve been listening to is old though. A ton of old soul and African funk music. I’m in a weird African funk zone. I just go in phases where I download random stuff from the Internet and go wild.

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