An Interview With Mr. Bill
As many electronic music fans know, Mr. Bill is insane. In the best way possible. A driving force in the Australian music scene, the producer is known for his intricately sampled glitch hop and IDM, artist collaborations and Ableton tutorials. Recently, Mr. Bill launched The Art of Mr. Bill – Season 3, 10 episodes of video tutorial teaching you how to produce music. For those who have always wanted to learn how to produce electronic music, or if you are a producer who wants to learn some new tricks, this is a great investment. You can download (for extremely affordable prices) individual episodes here or subscribe and become a “Hardcore Abletoner.”
We got a chance to catch up with the man himself, asking how Mr. Bill is enjoying life in Colorado, what his favorite metal bands are, and an update on his apadravya (for the uninitiated, thats a penis piercing.)
In 2012 you said: “The music industry at the moment is kind of bad, everyone’s just downloading things illegally and very rarely buying music, so music sales just seem to be out of the question in terms of making a living.”
Are you more optimistic about the music industry now? Do you think that effective business models have developed/are developing?
Totally. I feel like the music industry has changed a lot because of this, and it’s become a really interesting model for artists these days, giving away pay what you want releases, or free releases in exchange for liking their social media pages etc. I feel like releasing music these days has become a marketing ploy to play shows basically, which is kind of cool, given that it (somewhat) promotes live shows a bit more than it might if the industry wasn’t this way.
What personal experiences have inspired you to start releasing these tutorial videos?
It can mostly be credited to Tom Cosm honestly. When I first started learning Ableton, I really looked up to him as a teacher (and still do actually), pretty much if it wasn’t for his videos, it would’ve taken me a really long time to get to where I am now and I’d like to pass that onto other people through my tutorials hopefully.
What are some of your favorite venues in the USA? I saw you will be returning to Output in Brooklyn.
I will. I really like that venue actually, although I’ve never actually played in or seen Output, I think last time I was in The Panther Room which was also awesome though. I’d say Cervantes is one of my favorites in Denver, although it’s not for the venue itself, I just like playing there because it generally fills out nicely and feels good to play (it’s a biased opinion based on the crowd there I think for me). I also really enjoy playing The Parish in Austin (although I’ve only played it once actually), again, it just felt really nice to play!
Are you constantly making music? How many hours of new music do you create a week?
Honestly, I’m not. Lately I’ve been spending all of my time dealing with real-life shit like moving to Colorado from Australia, so dealing with VISA appointments, getting a social security number, getting my house set-up, etc. It’s really left me with minimal time to write music lately, and yet I still somehow have a bunch of new music finished xD
What inspired you to move to Colorado? Do you like it better here? How has it changed your creative process and your sources of inspiration?
I love Colorado, but actually it was more of a business decision. I can play more shows here, and I feel like I’ll grow as an artist more here because, the scene is a little… thicker. I find the fact that I live alone now (rather than with family or friends) means that I’m kind of completely in my own head space all the time without any external influence (apart from the internet I guess), so that definitely tweaks my output a bit I think, I feel like just the knowledge that I’m being observed (even through a wall) when I’m writing definitely skews the way I write.
What is the best and worst things about this country that you have observed since you moved from Australia? What do you miss the most about your home country? What do you miss the least?
Best thing about America, convenience. You can basically get/do anything any time of day, and if you order things online, they show up at your door within a few days… Worst thing, probably the homeless situation you have here, it’s depressing seeing so much poverty in a so called first world country due to a slack government I assume :/ That’s kinda depressing. I miss the weather in Australia, and obviously my friends, family, my parents cats, and the accents/humor we have there. Hard to say what I miss the least. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, so I’ll just say it’s probably some insignificant thing I was never aware of in the first place :p
What is the biggest misconception about you that fans have?
That I’m a genius probably… I’m not, I’m just a normal dude.
Have you thought about creating a music video or a customized Mr. Bill projection mapping set up for your live shows?
Yes, and actually we’ve debuted this already at Cervantes in Denver on April 8, 2015. My friend Brandon (who is ill-esha’s husband) projection mapped onto this giant, inflatable Mr. Bill doll I have (I call it the inflatabill). It was awesome, it looked great, but I really want to go down that path further with more custom content and choreographing, although it really just comes down to time and money for these things to happen properly.
How long does it take from when you first hear something in your head to when you are able to articulate it in Ableton?
Honestly, a lot of the time I’m not hearing anything in my head when I start a piece of music, I just meander and mess around in Ableton until I have an idea I like, then I strengthen the accidental motif I’ve created in various ways and try to present the idea in different ways throughout the tune to make it seem like a well-planned piece of music instead of a happy accident!
Can you describe this inspiration behind Electrocado? Do you really love avocados? And how does the process of collaboration with Ryanosaurus work, do you each send each other tracks to build off of or do you guys produce in person together?
So, yeah, Ryan and I are both passionate about avocados, we met at a party once, and for some reason we both had avocados with us, so we had some sort of small avocado feast. At the time, no one was really into Ableton Live, this was in like 2006 or 2007, everyone was hanging shit on Ableton saying it sounds bad and using Cubase, Logic, etc, however Ryan and I both used Ableton, so we decided to have a session sometime and see what we could create. I think it was just refreshing at the time for both of us to meet someone else who used the same DAW, but also we just really got along and loved avocados, so we started Electrocado. As for the process, we do a bit of both. Mostly, we work through Dropbox, but when we can we do some sessions in person and that’s always fun, but obviously harder now given that we live on opposite sides of the planet.
I’m also a metal fan so I’m wondering if you have any favorite metal bands at the moment? Also, can you please do a Meshuggah remix?
Favorite metal bands at the moment are (and haven’t changed in a while actually). Periphery, Twelve Foot Ninja, Veil Of Maya, All Shall Perish, Animals As Leaders, Tesseract, I guess all the obvious ones, too like Tool, Metallica, Slayer, etc, they all inspired me a long time ago when I was first starting out my music journey. I may do a Meshuggah remix if they ask me, but honestly, it’s really hard to bootleg metal, because it’s so noisy, so I’d really need stems to do it, that Veil Of Maya one was such a head-fuck to do without stems!
How is your penis piercing doing? Turning any heads? Any funny reactions from the females?
It’s doing great, I’ve stretched it since the actual piercing itself, it was originally pierced at 4mm, and honestly it felt a bit ‘teary’ to me, like not enough diameter to the bar, so I went up to 5mm (soon to be 6mm hopefully – which I guess means nothing to you cos’ metric system). Not too many heads turned, generally because I don’t walk around with my dick hanging out, but yeah I’ve had a few funny reactions from girls all the way from “I’m not dealing with that” to “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this, I’m now extremely intrigued.” I guess it depends on the person. It definitely seems to either scare, or impress, no middle ground really.
What’s next on the horizon for Mr. Bill? What are you most excited for in the future?
I guess just keep writing music, making tutorials and playing shows, and hopefully make some nice friends along the way and don’t trash my health too much. I’m pretty excited about this chicken pizza I’m gonna cook for lunch. Apart from that, I guess the new Electrocado album is done! That’s pretty exciting! Then onto a new Mr. Bill album, and so on.
Mr. Bill will be at Output on April 29th, enter the Sensible Reason ticket giveaway and win two free tickets!