Apr 2013 24

The master of sleazy industrial/metal speaks with ReGen on the long gestation period of BILE’s latest album, along with some pointers on how to make it in music.

An InterView with Krztoff of BILE

By Lola Babalon (LolaBabalon)

Industrial/metal often skates the fine line between good taste and sleazy abandon, and New York’s BILE has been one of the major proponents of this divide. For over two decades, Krztoff has taken his singularly demented musical vision through the pitfalls of the music industry and the heights of success, attaining a sizeable fan base with albums like Suckpump, Teknowhore, and Sex Reflex, and touring with the likes of KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, OhGr, GWAR, Rammstein, and Pigface. In 2013, BILE digitally released Born to Fuck, Born to Kill, heralded by many as a return to the gritty and abrasive industrialized metal sound that defined the band’s earlier releases four years after the less-than-stellar performance of 2009’s Hate Radio. With a CD version expected later this year, Krztoff speaks with ReGen on his plans to take BILE to the next level, his experiences with sobriety and the music industry, and minces no words on just what it takes to succeed in the tumultuous world of music.

 

There were seven years between The Copy Machine and Hate Radio, and then three years until Built to Fuck, Born to Kill. Why so long between these last albums?

Krztoff: I got bored and needed a break. BILE had been going since 1992, so in 2005 when I found out I had a hereditary heart condition, I felt like it was a good time to disappear for awhile; quit partying, changed my diet, lost 65 lbs, got a normal job, worked behind the scenes in TV and film. It was good I did that. I’m a mentally damaged individual and it was helpful having that time to kind of ‘work on myself,’ to finally figure out what I was running from that made me want to drink and medicate so much. Hate Radio was written within that period. I emerged a better person. I’m finally happy in my own skin. I can focus my anger properly. So after taking all that time off, I recently, thankfully, started drinking again and I wrote Built to Fuck… I promise I won’t write another album sober.

It’s fairly apparent that you use your music as an outlet for emotion. Would you say writing is a form of catharsis for you? What personal experiences are presented as part of the lyrics on the new album?

Krztoff: It definitely lets all the fucking aggressions out – loud screaming, goddamn. It’s the best feeling. I get this burning deep the fuck inside me that has to be released. If I don’t, it constantly eats at me; eating and feeding, like a cancer. So I just want it the fuck out of me. Once it’s gone there, is such an intense feeling of liberation and solidarity within. That’s a big reason I try not to revisit songs with remixes. I don’t want to fucking hear it again until I’m screaming it live. I don’t create music so I can go onstage and perform. My songs to me are like audio sculptures. They are experiments. I’d be happy writing in my studio for the rest of my life. But there is a part of me that loves the loudness, lights, smoke machines, strobes – total full on assault.
I got very personal in regards to the lyrics on Built to Fuck…. My emotions were chewed up, ground down into words. Breaking up with my girlfriend of 23 years and still being in love with her, my relationships with others, losing friends, finding out who you can trust and who needs to be removed from your life, mortality, the economy – it’s not all about that, but it’s definitely from the heart. Friends have compared it to Teknowhore, emotionally. I don’t know.

Over all the years, you’ve managed to maintain a level of professional and personal integrity and you’ve held on to your roots. That could not have been easy, but can you tell us how you were able to do so?

Krztoff: Thanks for the kind words there. I write and produce all the music. I play 99% of the instruments. I am a control freak. I want it done my way, so I do it myself. Don’t follow trends. I purposely create my own individual sounds. I don’t follow the common recording techniques. I experiment. And most of all, I have fun. This is the simplest and most comfortable thing for me. I was born to do this. I love this gift. I love my life; happy.

Many industrial/metal acts have come and gone over the last two decades. In three words, can you describe what it is that has contributed to the longevity of BILE?

Krztoff: Bastardization. Arrogance. Lubrication.

Some fans and critics say that Hate Radio was a really big departure from your overall sound, and that it wasn’t as dark as your previous records. What was going on at that point in time that influenced the writing of that album?

Krztoff: Every BILE CD is intended to sound different, yet with my personal stamp on it. I was very much affected by the war in Iraq, so there are a few songs dealing with that. I don’t usually get that political, lyrically, but I did there. And, more importantly, I was sober for ‘Hate Radio.’ Never gonna do that again. I personally have a dislike for Hate Radio also. So, they’re probably right. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

Describe a typical day in the life of Krztoff when you’re working in the studio.

Krztoff: Start around 7pm, open one of many Heineken, get right down into working. Don’t sit around wasting time thinking about it too much. Go with my gut, record a track, sounds good, move on. Amazingly, most of the vocals and guitars/bass are usually first takes. On Built to Fuck… there is a lot of me just jamming along with the fucking track. Then I learn all the riffs later. I am constantly moving forward. Light a joint at some point, work until I’m bored or fried. Go watch the sunrise and finish the smoke. I used to wind down letting all the cats into the studio to run around. They would go crazy. Sadly, they aren’t around anymore.

What equipment are you using in the studio these days?

Krztoff: A Fleshlight.

You’ve done some work with other artists, especially during your time with Pigface. Did those experiences have any influence over you or your working methods over time?

Krztoff: Oh fuck yeah!!! Ill Nino was fun. Sepultura were cool guys. Those Pigfacers are all geniuses in their own way. I learnt so damn much watching Martin Atkins lead all us troops into the lands of the unknown every night. Many of my compatriots I’d been fans of already. As a songwriter, just think how cool it would be to sit down and talk to someone whose work you’d been admiring for years, much less sharing a bus with them for 50 days. It was one of the greatest experiences; throwing all that talent together for a bohemian-style touring event. What I took away most from that experience was this – the human element is the most important and recognizable part of music. Don’t let the computer do everything. That’s fucking boring.

The industrial scene and the music business in general have changed a lot over the last decade. What are your thoughts on this? Is it easier to DIY now than it was when BILE was first coming up?

Krztoff: I wouldn’t call what’s going on today industrial. I don’t know what to call it; maybe pussy industrial. It’s starting to get stale and safe and all sound the same again. There is rarely a human element. I do enjoy the electronics, but give me more than that fucker. Bands all try and dress in what’s considered proper for their genre. FUCKING BORING! Break from the mold. Be unique. I was expecting us to be so much further in the evolution of music by now. Our imaginations, it seems, haven’t moved as fast as the technology has. BILE began without the internet or cell phones. It didn’t exist. You had to actually go to a club and see the band and buy the album to find out what it’s all about. It was hand to hand flyers, magazine ads, and if you were lucky, they might play you at 5:30am on some cheap college radio station. You had to tour your balls off to get any sort of recognition. I hope we all thank the computer gods for all the tools that have been laid at our fingertips.

What do you think about sites like Spotify and Bandcamp and the role they’ve played in allowing artists to set their own prices for the music they release?

Krztoff: It’s amazing. It gets your material out there. If you’re already an established act that owns all their shit, like BILE, it’s where I would want the industry to go. Unfortunately, it’s up for free the next day on some Russian site. Ultimately, the band gets fucked since they don,t sell enough to fund tours.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in the two decades you’ve been making music with BILE?

Krztoff: DO NOT WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER!!! There is always someone better and hungrier than can take your place. Always get paid before you go onstage.
Don’t just think of tomorrow, think of eight months from now. Remain calm; it’s just a rock & roll show. We are not splitting the atom here. You’re never as good as you think you are. Keep practicing. Be true to yourself and have fun, or don’t fucking do it. An audience can see right through that shit.

Some of your ex-members have had some uncomplimentary things to say about working with you and you, personally. Does that bother you at all?

Krztoff: I selfishly want BILE to always be the best it can. My music is very simple, purposely. If you’re not up to the task, you’re gone. I’m not the easiest person to get along with. I’m arrogant. I want. I take. I’m selfish at times. I won’t give excuses. But I’ll be working on that my whole life. I make mistakes, but at least I learn from them. It’s like an ex-girlfriend. Sometimes they just never get over it. As for me, I’m too busy moving forward to give a fuck. There are very few people I’ve met in my life that I’ll give a second chance to after they have wronged me. I don’t step in shit twice.

Is there a chance that Bile will play any shows outside of the New York area soon?

Krztoff: My best friend, longtime comrade, and live show partner R.H. Bear and I are talking about a North American and European tour this summer into fall. It’ll be our 20th anniversary run. That would be fun. BILE hasn’t toured since 2004. I think it’s time. We have never played Europe because we couldn’t get visas due to some felony convictions. But, the statute of limitations has run out on those. Let’s go to Australia. I wanna meet a dingo. Brett Frana and I also do electronic shows now and again called ‘BILE Presents… Nightmare before Krztoff’ where we bring a light show and perform a bunch of my more electronic pieces. And, of course, I’M DJ KRZTOFF BILE. If anyone is interested in booking any of these acts, contact KRZTOFFBILE@yahoo.com.

What are your favorite songs to play live?

Krztoff: ‘URA Fucking Loser,’ ‘World Up Your Ass,’ ‘Remove the Head,’ ‘You Can’t Love This,’ ‘Legion,’ ‘Jerk,’ and ‘In League.’

 

1 Comment

  1. chim says:

    I saw BILE open for Gwar in Milwaukee. It was brootal and fucking ruled.

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