interview by Michael McCarthy
Doing music interviews in the time of COVID-19 is weird, man. You want to talk about music, but at the same time, it’s the nasty virus that’s at the forefront of everyone’s collective mind. So, I knew we were due for a new interview here on Love is Pop, but at first, I had no idea who to reach out to. I didn’t know who would be up for an interview right now, much less who might not mind discussing the virus and the effect it’s having on our lives. But then I saw a post from Bif Naked on Facebook, as I often do, and I was blown away by how positive and inspiring she’s continued to be even in the face of the virus.
For many reasons, I’ve always admired Bif. How she’s always stayed 100% true to her-unique-self and confidently done her own thing, going wherever her inspiration has taken her without worrying about whether or not a song is this genre or that or trying to be trendy. And now, she’s not merely admirable but a veritable beacon of hope for us all. It’s my hope that you’ll find the following interview, conducted via e-mail this weekend, to be informative and, most of all, inspiring.
MM: Questions for Bif Naked…
BN: okay here we go 😇
MM: First of all, where are you located right now? At home in Canada? (If so, what part of Canada do you reside in?)
BN: I have relocated to Toronto almost two years ago, after living in Vancouver for nearly THIRTY years.
MM: How are you feeling right now? (I hope this finds you virus-free.)
BN: I always feel the same: healthy, hopeful, and happy.
MM: Do you know anyone who has the virus yet? If so, how are they doing?
BN: I do know two people, personally (and several just through acquaintance) that are recovering from COVID-19 now. Their symptoms all vary, but generally everyone seems to be recovering in good time. Thankfully.
MM: Are you under any government-mandated stay at home or shelter in place orders or anything like that? If not, are you voluntarily staying in?
BN: We are voluntarily staying in our apartment, isolated. My partner is also my guitar player and we have a studio at home, so there is much to do.
MM: How serious are people in your area taking the coronavirus? Are people staying home or is everybody going about their business as if the virus was just the common flu?
BN: It sure seems to me like everyone is taking this situation very seriously. I don’t know a single person who is cavalier about it, or whom exhibits any recklessness.
MM: I’m under the impression that you believe in karma. Do you think people who are going out right now as if nothing’s happening are going to get some really bad karma?
BN: I certainly believe in lots of karmic theories, for sure…but I don’t think that people running around risking their health will get “karma” but it is likely there will be consequences to their behaviours. “Karma” may be another way to say “consequences” actually.
MM: Here in the U.S, there’s a shortage of personal protection equipment for healthcare workers, such as N95 masks and face shields. Meanwhile, there’s a shortage of ventilators for patients. Are these things in short supply in Canada, too?
BN: Indeed, there is a great need for more PPE supplies in Canada, as well. This is only partially due to regular folks buying up all of the face masks at drugstores, etc. I think that the world had no idea this pandemic was coming.
MM: What do you think of U.S. President Trump implying that maybe as soon as Easter we’ll be able to go back out and get on with our lives? (I only see this getting worse and think he’s delusional, although I do understand that he’s trying to be optimistic and give people hope.)
BN: President Trump, like many global leaders, is certainly delusional. Obviously this is ignorance masked as optimism. Unfortunately, it is dangerous talk.
MM: As a cancer survivor, does coronavirus pose a greater risk to your life than it might to someone else? How long have you been cancer-free?
BN: I do not feel any more at risk than, say, my partner (who has never had cancer) because my cancer was some time ago. I feel totally cancer-free, and completely devoid of disease. However, our risks are all the same regarding coronavirus and it’s a very imminent threat for everyone. Terrifying stuff.
MM: What is your health regimen like? For example, do you follow a certain type of diet and/or exercise a lot? (I’m a vegetarian and exercise when I can as I have fibromyalgia.)
BN: I have been a vegan since the mid-1990’s and this will never change. I like to stay limber and flexible and love yoga practice, but have always preferred the class setting over a home practice and right now this is thwarted. Same with weightlifting and fitness club visits (which, before COVID-19 era world, I was weight training every single day) I am very much missing these activities, right now.
MM: What vitamins and supplements do you take, if any? (I normally don’t take any, but I’m taking elderberry and a multivitamin with minerals right now.)
BN: I take no vitamins but, eating primarily raw-food-vegan style, believe I get all my nutrients through my foods. I do take a supplemental CBD oil that is by www.monalisahealing.com and this is a non-psychoactive (no THC) organic, hemp CBD in a vegan coconut oil. This product has enhanced my health, physiologically and mentally. Love it!
MM: Are you taking elderberry or echinacea anything special to boost your immune system right now that you normally don’t take?
BN: I believe that the CBD oil does, indeed, support my immunity.
MM: I believe you’re big into yoga and meditation. If people feeling stressed right now have never done either and want to try one, or both, where do you suggest they start? For example, is there a teacher or certain type of yoga you’d recommend beginners check out?
BN: I believe meditation is as simple as feeling grateful. Everything we experience from our coffee to our shower water temperature to the sounds coming through our headphones is a reason to give thanks. Therefore, even just recognizing that we are grateful for these things, or noticing them as they are happening, is actually a form of gratitude meditation. Once a person starts to notice these things and acknowledge them, in the moment, that actually feels really good and becomes a habit. This is MINDFULNESS. And as far as yoga goes, ANY yoga that appeals to a person is the right yoga for them: Kundalini or Ashtanga or Vinyasa, etc. A simple internet search is all a person needs to find a yoga website or instructional video on YouTube, etc. Happy websurfing!
MM: What mantras are you telling yourself to get through this pandemic?
BN: May All Beings Be Free From Suffering, May All Beings Be Well. May All Beings Be In A Place of Safety and Good Health. On Repeat.
MM: You continue to inspire me with your positivity even in the face of the virus. Is it at all difficult to continue serving as a beacon of inspiration for your fans during a crisis like this?
BN: Very kind of you to say, thank you. I never lose hope and never give up positivity, no matter what is going on in my life or the world. This will never change. It’s just how I’m built.
MM: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most optimistic, just how optimistic are you feeling about the future right now?
BN: I am 100% optimistic. Always and forever a TEN!
MM: Do you believe in any sort of higher power? If so, could you tell us a little about that, such as who you worship and why? And if you do pray, are you finding it helpful right now?
BN: Growing up in a religious, Christian home (peppered with Hindu deities and theology) I totally love believing in God, many gods, and lots of god thinking. If a person does not like to say “god” they can just say it backwards “Dog” (because dogs are so loveable) or they can simply embrace it as Good Orderly Direction, or whatever. I love having faith and I think it’s really important for people to have faith in something because, sometimes, it’s ALL they have to keep them going.
MM: What are people in Canada saying about how the U.S. is handling this crisis?
BN: I think that the news is ripe with lots of Donald Trump stuff, and that definitely distracts from “American” handling of this pandemic. A lot of people do not like President Trump, in Canada, as far as I can tell. I feel very badly for my American friends, who live and work in the United States. It’s quite an awful time in their history.
MM: It seems the U.S. wants to blame China for the virus and China is making outrageous claims that we brought the virus there. Whose side do Canadians seem to be taking, if either?
BN: I don’t think that Canadians, generally, are looking for something to blame the pandemic on. I mean, wherever it started does not actually matter. What matters is where it’s going.
MM: On another note, how far along are you with the making of your forthcoming album, Champion? Did you have a release date in mind already and, if so, are you changing it due to the pandemic?
BN: CHAMPION is basically ready to roll, and we had identified three tracks that I wanted listeners to hear first, and in a specific order. Due to the nature of how everyone gets music, these days, and everyone’s ability to cherry-pick what tracks they listen to and in what order they listen to them…I wanted to offer the order I dreamed, and release the first three songs first. This seems like it would take until late summer, and thus I pretty much figured the release would be end of August or early September. I am hoping this is still the case.
MM: I know you’ve had to postpone some live dates due to the virus. How many gigs has it cost you so far? Have you rescheduled any dates yet or are you waiting to see what happens as the weeks go on?
BN: Obviously the pandemic has absolutely removed the opportunity to physically be somewhere at the moment, and we had speaking gigs and tour dates already in the schedules. They are no longer going to happen this Spring, but have all been moved to Autumn and for this I am very, very grateful.
MM: Are you using this time to be creative? If so, tell us about some of the things you’ve been working on. Paintings, poems, songs – we want to hear about it all.
BN: Because we are always creating and working from home, this way of life has not changed. I am writing a book about cancer coping for patients and caregivers (that I have been working on for a year) and I have a completed book of poetry coming called “Razorblade Chewing Gum”. I am always painting and drawing something.
MM: Some artists, such as Oh Land, Ben Gibbard and JoJo, have already put out songs about the pandemic. Are you working on one yourself? Perhaps something uplifting to help your fans see a light at the end of the tunnel?
BN: I suppose we are always working on a little something for the fans, and I enjoy using my social media as a way to send messages. Maybe fun or funny things, or offer a meditation, rather than a song. But who knows.
MM: Finally, if there’s anything you’d like to say that we didn’t ask you about, feel free to write your own question and answer it. We’re cool like that. 🙂 And much, much thanks for taking the time to do this. It means a lot to me! Wishing you good health, always!
BN: Just a big thank you for your thoughtful questions, and for keeping me in mind. Deeply appreciate it and wishing you well, during this time and always. Cheers!
Special thanks to James Moore at Independent Music Promotions for facilitating this!