Q: So Billy, let's get started! Are you single?
A: Yeah. Yes. I sort of go back and forth as to whether or not I'm happy about that. For the last six months my excuse has been that I don't have time for a boyfriend. I guess that's unfortunately true. Single by choice, definitely.
Q: Do you hook up with a lot of guys?
A: No! I hook up with the exactly right number.
Q: What kind of guys do you like? Nice boys or bad boys?
A: I like everyone the exact same amount. I have a soft spot for bad boys but I don't respect badness / selfishness, so it never works out. Nice boys win in the end.
Q: Have you ever cheated on a boyfriend?
A: Of course. I’m not proud of it. It definitely wasn’t worth it, I dumped my boyfriend soon after, I felt so guilty. But everyone cheats. If someone cheats on me, though, I'm gone.
Q: Tell me about your music. Do you write the music and the lyrics? What instruments do you play?
A: I do some covers, but otherwise yeah I write all the music. I'm starting to work with a really awesome producer on the beat part of the work, though, which is really exciting. I use an old Windows-based drum program called FruityLoops. It's real glitch-y, but it's the only thing I know how to use. I guess I ought to learn ProTools or Ableton or something. I barely write lyrics. I often perform a song a few dozen times, making up the words as I go along. Eventually a pattern will emerge and that is what I consider my "lyrical content".
Q: Is your writing for Scorcher the same? Do you just make it up as you go along too?
A: No, actually. The writing I do for writing's sake starts off the same way-- I just sort of free-write and see what happens. But then I spend a lot of time agonizing over sentences and word choice. It's sort of like being a word stylist-- I want it to look effortless and read easily, but I know that achieving that "look" (impression) takes a lot of painstaking effort.
Q: Your music is an interesting mix, it's kind of Electroclash-inspired. What are some of your influences?
A: It's funny, Electroclash happened while I was still in high school in California and just moving to Yonkers to go to school. I didn't pay much attention to it. Some of the bands involved with the tour, like Tracy + the Plastics, were definitely a big influence for me, but not necessarily the style, per se. Electroclash, I think, was informed by a different set of references. I make dance music basically because I am the only person in my band and this is the best way to get a bigger sound. I'm not necessarily interested in making dance music as such, but I do like it when people dance. Mostly my influences are other conceptual / performance artists like Wynne Greenwood, Susan Ploetz, Mikhaela Maricich, Miranda July.
Q: Do you consider yourself a typical Leo?
A: What does that mean? Selfish? Vain?
Q: Leos are known for their vanity, among other things. For acting like stars.
A: I don’t know. I don’t think I’m that awesome, at all. Actually, I’m really turned off by bragging. Even when a friend does it, even when someone does it on the internet, on Facebook or whatever. Or when people name-drop on Twitter. It really grosses me out and I try to act the opposite of it. I’m always putting myself down.
Q: Doesn’t that still count as talking about yourself?
A: I guess so, but there’s a difference—I’m being honest about the fact that I’m trying to have a conversation about myself. When people brag about how cool they are, it’s obviously a function of insecurity and a passive-aggressive way of starting a conversation. When I say how unsexy or boring I am, people can take it or leave it.
Q: So you don’t think you’re a typical Leo.
A: I think I am absolutely a typical Leo, and that Typical Leos are deeply misunderstood. It’s not that we love ourselves, we approach ourselves as primary evidence, empirical fact. Which, actually, I think is a mark of Leo’s generosity— we don’t assume things about other people. We know our own unfortunate truths and that’s all we tend to speak to for experience.
Q: What sign do you think I am?
A: How can I guess what sign you are if we’re just talking on the phone?
Q: What’s your guess?
A: I guess that you are… a Taurus?
Q: Whoa, how did you know?
A: Really? Are you seriously a Taurus Charlie?
Q: Yes. Are you psychic?
A: A little.