Interview with Billie Eilish | Stingray PausePlay
In this episode, PausePlay's host Zac Monson spoke with Billie Eilish before she performed at Osheaga 2018. The sixteen-year-old artist got personal with Zac about being homeschooled, her style, working with her brother, her new music, and much more!
Billie Eilish's broken ankle
I'm Zack Monson, welcome back to a very special edition of Stingray PausePlay, here at Osheaga 2018 with someone I don’t even know if I have to introduce. Sixteen-year-old I want to say pop but it’s not even pop. It’s some kind of musical sensation, Billy Eilish.
Hi, Billie! How are you?
Billie: Not good no!
I'm so sorry to hear about your foot. Your ankle. What happened? Tell me
Billie: See, people keep asking me what happened and I just ... I just ... f**k so, basically...
If you need to make up a cool story, please.
Billie: Okay so I got my foot got run over by a car.
Oh my god. Who was driving?
Billie: Jaden Smith!
Billie: Jaden is in trouble. Jaden rolled over my foot.
He's going to be an icon dying soon. That's pretty brutal!
Billie: No. Okay, he did not run over my foot, but he was involved not in this happening, but he was there. Basically, I played Lollapalooza two days ago and I went crazy on the stage as I do. I’m just jumping and moshing up by myself and s**t and I came off the stage, went downstairs, saw my people, and then I noticed my beanie had been stolen. I was pissed bro. I was f*****g mad. So mad! Oh my god! So I just started jumping around and I was yelling at everybody. I was like really really really mad.
Billie: I just jumped wrong and I landed wrong and then this happened. It was the stupidest thing I've ever done maybe.
I feel like that's not true. Personally, I feel like that's not a true statement.
Billie: You’re probably right.
That's the stupidest thing you've ever done? I don't believe that's true. I really truly don't.
Billie: No I think you're right. Then Jaden Smith came and visited me so we're good. We’re good.
Maturity and her music
You have said one of the best things that I've ever heard anybody say and it's in reference to the kind of people that tell you how mature your sound is, or how your so… you said “I don't feel young because I'm the oldest that I've ever been.” So, what's your reaction? I assume people say that to you all the time. Oh, your sound is so mature, you're writing beyond your year, so what do you say that? What do you think about that?
Billie: F**k off. F***k off boy. I just don’t like. Like who cares?
Apparently, a lot of people.
Billie: Apparently, yeah…
As long as you don’t then you’re good.
Billie: I mean I feel like I couldn't put that better do you know what I mean?
Billie: Then I did.
Billie Eilish’s homeschooling experience
Homeschooled. Do you know why you're homeschooled?
Billie: Because f**k the system
That's what I would've said too.
Billie: F**k school!
So being homeschooled with creative, open-minded parents, they had to be something special and I had the pleasure of hanging out with your mom there for about 15 minutes and she's an absolute delight. Your middle name being pirate, I mean it's not legally it's not legally pirate but pirate. Tell me the story of pirate.
Billie: I mean I wasn't born yet, so I don't know really what happened.
But Finneas yeah.
Billie: Basically…is that what it was? Oh yeah, he called me!
Do I know the story and you don’t know the story?
Billie: Yeah, explain the story!
So, when you were not born yet, your brother wanted to name you Pirate really really badly!
Billie: That's what it was?
That's what it was. Your parents were very close to actually naming you Pirate but I believe another family member said it wasn't a very good idea.
Billie: Oh yeah, my f*****ng uncle.
I don't know who it was… I don’t know.
Billie: Bro I was told. This is what I was told.
I don't know who it was… no.
Billie: It was my f*****ng uncle. No that’s who it was. I know it was my f*****ng uncle. He was like pirates are bad! Bro, if my name was pirate, that would be f*****ng sick!
You have the opportunity to change it.
Billie: My first name? I don’t really have the opportunity to change it to be honest with you…
You had an opportunity when you started being an artist to go by Pirate and you chose not to
Billie: That's true!
That was your call. What was one hundred percent your call.
Billie: But it's my middle name though so we can let it slide
I like it a lot! What did you not like about being homeschooled? Was there anything that you didn't like about it?
Billie: To be honest no. It was pretty fantastic to be honest with you. I feel like there was a point where I wanted to go to school but then that passed in like a minute because the only reason I wanted to go to school was to go to school. I didn't want to learn.
Yeah you just want to be in the environment and see what it was like and be around some people.
Billie: The main question you get as a home schooler is like how do you have friends? So I’m like bro…?
I will admit that’s a question I would think about too.
Billie: I get it. No, I mean I get it!
I had a hard time meeting people and I was in school.
Billie: Look there’s a spider on my leg!
Oh hey bro! Yeah there was one on that leg too.
Billie: It’s a little spider!
Okay so please don’t put it in your mouth. That’s all I ask of you.
Billie: Why not?
Pirate? I’d appreciate it. Please, please, please.
From Target & Macy's to Gucci & Chanel
Have you always had this sense of fashion and desire to dress the way you wanted?
Billie: Unfortunately, yeah.
What did you do before you could Gucci yourself out or Chanel yourself out?
Billie: You see, I can’t even. People give me this stuff. I didn’t buy anything I’m wearing.
I didn’t say you had to buy it, but you got it. It’s yours now. How did you express yourself in a fashion way before?
Billie: Um… I mean I did it the same way I dress myself now which is I just thrifted. I couldn't afford anything else. The most I could afford was Target and Macy'. So, I grew up thrifting and I mean I still. When I shop, because I don't ever shop, I'm not going out buying. All I do if I want to buy clothes, is go to any thrift store.
Yeah that’s the way.
So, we asked the last artist we had in to ask you a question. So, the artist is Lights, and the question for you is “Hey what's up I'm Lights. My question for you is, what is something you've always wanted to do but never done? What's holding you back?”
Billie: There's some dirty things that are coming to my mind.
Okay good. You’re sixteen Billy and your mom’s right there. Just for those of who can't see behind the camera, Billy's mom just walked a little bit closer and gave her a little bit of a stare down and just say you know.
Billie: Maybe…oh maybe get tattoos.
Oh yeah? What would you get? What would be your first tattoo? A pirate patch?
Billie: Well, no. I have a bunch of ideas, but I don't want to spoil them because I'm going to get them. I just haven't because of her.
I won’t let you spoil it. I’ll wait.
Billie: Yeah one day.
You should see me in a crown
The single is ‘You should see me in a crown’. The song is a lot harder than a lot of your other stuff. You can kind of feel the touch that other people might have been involved in this song a bit.
Billie: Hell no!
Is it actually just one hundred percent the two of you that did this song? It feels like a departure a bit for you guys.
Billie: We put out the EP a year ago. What were you doing a year ago? Tell me right now.
Sleeping probably. Although, a year ago I was probably on this couch interviewing somebody else.
Billie: See, that’s crazy! Here’s the thing. Everybody changes no matter what you are so it's if somebody's like “oh my god she's changing for fame”, no b***h! I'm changing because I was fifteen a year ago and I’m sixteen now, and in a year, I’ll be seventeen. In a year I'll be 18. Do you know what I mean? The difference between a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old… that's insane. I never want to stay the same ever. Not ever! So, it's like you know do you have a goal? I'm like no f**k that! I don't want a goal because if I get that goal and I'm never going to do anything again.
You can have more than one goal actually. You’re totally allowed to do that.
Billie: I want to be able to change it. I don't want to be stuck on something. I'm changing all the time! My style is completely different than it was. It's going to keep getting different. I don't ever want to have a sound. I don't ever want to be in a genre. F**k that!
You don't have a sound. Your voice is your voice, and your voice stays pretty similar throughout the song, but you do not have any kind of sound whatsoever. I was going to mention, how do you even have a song that’s ‘You should see me in a crowd’ and ‘Party favor’? How is the same artist doing those songs? In the nicest way possible. ‘Party favor' sounds like it could be in a paper towel commercial. I meant that in the nicest way possible. ‘Party favor’ does not sound like any other song you've done, it's like ukulele and stuff. Listening to the song is one thing, and just reading the lyrics is almost better. I feel like if you released a spoken word version, that song would be great. So, tell me about writing that song. I just love it. I love what you say.
Billie: Thank you for asking. I mean if you haven't heard that song it's basically… first of all it's breaking up with someone in a voice mail on their birthday. That's hard! That's f*****g hard!
It’s pretty brutal actually! To be totally honest with you.
Billie: Hey, it's so brutal! It's very brutal and I remember me and my brother we’re sitting on a picnic table in our yard. I had my ukulele, he had his guitar, and we were just writing. We were just coming up with random s**t. Honestly, I don’t even know how it started. I have a recording of us writing it actually. Basically, there's a moment where Phineas was like “Oh my god bro… what if we wrote about breaking up. What if the whole song was a voicemail? What if it started with a phone ring?” Then we were like it should be breaking up with someone on their birthday in a voicemail. We were both so pumped about it.
The one line “Oh by the way, Happy Birthday!” Oh my god…when you hear that for the first time, you’re like Billie you’re a genius!
Billie: Thank you!
I don’t like that word. I think it’s a stupid word, genius. You’ve got something about you dude. The way your brain works that I genuinely love.
Billie: I like this guy!
I think you’re really cool!
Billie: Thank you!
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
New album. We have the one single. The Khalid single is not going be on the album we are told. What can we expect? Obviously, you say my songs are never the same, my style is always changing, so I feel like that’s a silly question to ask but, what might we be able to expect?
Billie: Just different s**t!
Is it just the two of you?
Billie: Just the two of us.
Are you okay with the idea of working with other people in the future without your brother? Or are you guys always going be a pair? Or could it go however see it?
Billie: I'm literally open to anything but why do something when this is working? I always have an open mind to stuff but what the f**k is the point? For the album, I think the main thing to expect, besides expecting the unexpected, is that we’re making, music that is going to be really fun to do live. Having gone on tour for the first time in the past year has taught me and my brother what is fun to perform live and what the audience has the most fun with, and what I can jump around to most. I can’t stand standing still. It’s so much fun to just jump around and mosh, and get the crowd to jump and stuff, and hit people in the face and stuff. It’ll just be stuff that will be fun to mosh too!
It’s soon right? It should theoretically be soon. Before 2019 soon?
Billie: I’d say beginning of 2019.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I really appreciate it!
Billie: Thank you for having me here.
Listen to Billie Eilish on Stingray Music
You can hear Billie Eilish on Stingray Music’s Eclectic Electronic channel and of course all of Stingray Music’s Vibes channels available now on our mobile app and Webplayer.
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