On March 25th, Billy Graziadei, the legendary founder of Biohazard, will release his second solo album Leaders and Liars.
I have to say, this interview is not like the other ones. First, Billy was already on the show in Season 1 when we were still doing this on Zoom (https://anchor.fm/hangingonsunset/episodes/Season-1---Episode-5--Billy-Graziadei-Biohazard--Powerflo--Billy-Bio---Keep-it-real-en10te), but also because Billy produced the debut album of my band Yard Of Blondes. During the process of the recording of Feed The Moon, Billy and I became best friends. He helped me fulfill my vision and brought many ideas of arrangements to the table. We nurtured each other’s creativity and most of all, we had great fun. And it wasn’t always easy. Financial struggle, personal challenges came along the way during that process and Billy showed up, always positive, always managing to find a way to push our best selves. Whatever the events, whatever the difficulties, he’s always such a strong and driving force. Billy helped us refine our art in many ways, becoming a true mentor. Naturally, I wanted to tap into his wisdom for this new episode and Billy doesn’t disappoint because as he tells us, in a way, for him, it was always about finding a way to make art win over the industry.
He recalls the early days of Biohazard, telling us how the industry wouldn’t even hear about them before they were able to put up sold-out shows, on their own. Since day one, the two most important things were to stay true to themselves and care about the fans and not about fame or any other kind of validation. He vividly remembers how Rick Rubin first labeled Biohazard as a « 3-chord trash band that will never go anywhere » before changing his mind as success knocked on their door. But Billy didn’t bend the knee to the industry. He said, « Fuck the industry » yet he was smart enough to learn how to work with it, using it as a tool to reach out to more fans, or « friends », as Billy likes to call them.
When we paired on the writing of Feed The Moon, I appreciated the fact that we were like scientists in a lab, always experimenting, always trying to think outside of the box. We had no other motive than to have fun and surprise ourselves. That’s another thing I love about him, he’s open to any new idea and he usually comes up with the most unexpected ones.
I remember when we first worked on « 1994 » and we were frustrated with the last chorus. I told Billy I wasn’t happy with the drums, but I couldn't express what was bugging me. At some point, I said I wished the pattern would sound more « Motown ». I couldn’t express it any better than with this image and of course, in the context of our alternative album, it didn't make much sense. But for Billy, this vague analogy sparked something. He went to another session and grabbed a drum part of another song. He slowed it down and then looped it before adding it to the mix. Then he muted all parts but vocals and "Bam!", I had my "Motown" chorus with the snare hitting every beat. « What d’you think, Bro? » Billy asked with a witty smile. Damn... I was ecstatic and I didn't have to say anything, It showed on my face! It was exactly what I had in mind. That’s the kind of cool shit Billy’s capable of coming up with. My experience at Firewater Studios taught me to never give up, to always look in the corners of our imagination.
We gained so much trust in each other that now Billy always calls me with insane suggestions. Last time, he asked me to direct the video for « One Life to live », the first single of the new album. I was like « Bro, you’re insane, I’m no director ». His answer touched me so much that I had to do it: « I don’t care if you’re no director, you’re an artist, and that’s only what matters ». How can you resist that? So we organized a party at my house and soon enough I had about 20 kids jumping in my pool and an insane tattoo shop (Thanks Julia! https://www.instagram.com/tattedby7/) in my garage. I called Fernanda and asked her to act in the video. (Hi Vilma!). I also called my good friend Antoine Combelles and he helped us create this unique one-sequence video. Talk about creating memories for a lifetime! Check it:
Billy, Fernanda, and I talked about this but also many other things in this new episode: Brazilian Cheese, Festivals, his special dynamic with Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), the early days of Biohazard and how they needed to appease a dangerous scene, ...
LISTEN TO OUR EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH BILLY GRAZADEI ON THE PLATFORM OF YOUR CHOICE:
More Options: https://anchor.fm/hangingonsunset
WATCH OUR NEW FORMAT WITH BILLY: SONG BREAK DOWN - LEADERS & LIARS.
35mm Photos: Shot and developed by Vincent Walter Jacob. www.vincentwalterjacob.com