Tricky Bizzniss (Trixie Reiss)
'The Art of Turning Musical Trix!'
Trixie Reiss (Tricky Bizzniss) has been composing "diddies" on the piano and guitar since she was child. She started writing and recording her own songs on a four track cassette recorder when she was 14. Her parents are both poets and encouraged all her creative efforts. They brought her a digital delay and she spent many hours recording her voice in rhythmic polyphonic compositions (so processed they sounded more like techno than vocals) which she then used as backing tracks for her songs.
For Trixie growing up in NYC meant going out and dancing all night long in a club culture where Kraftwerk, new wave, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper reigned. And by day the throbbing techno beats of old school hip-hop rang out in the streets.
For Trixie whose dad raised her on the Beatles, Stravinsky and Led Zepplin it all made perfect sense. After graduating from school Trixie want out to LA where breakbeat and trip-hop were still in their baby stages.
When she met the Crystal Method, she had already recorded four track versions of the songs they would later include on the Vegas LP. Her pop love of simple, hooky melody was embraced by the Crystal Method making for her first #1 hit and platinum record. After experiencing the rush of such widespread success Trixie's engine was rearing to go as she continued to hone in on her writing and production skills.
Trixie is also a painter and multimedia artist, loves fashion, fiction, great food, little dogs, being on boats and gettin' zonked!!!!
Long time since Crystal Method has come out with a new album. You guys should get back together and make a comeback. So, first question, which do you prefer to record: solo or collaboration albums and why? "I'm happy recording either way, as long as I'm working with people who jive with my vision. The Tricky Bizzniss record is a collaborative effort between me and Ernie Lake. I wouldn't have come up with those songs without his contribution to the tracks. Ultimately I've had the pleasure of being able to write the songs, vocal melodies and lyrics of everything I've ever performed and recorded, but the music has always gotten its strength from my collaborators."
Considering your music is dance, I would imagine you've heard your song blasting at a club or at some other venue. What does that feel like? "It feels like heaven on earth. It's great from any angle, in the DJ booth or in the center of the dance floor. It's a rush like no other and one that I never get tired of."
How'd you finally decide on dance music to pursue - as opposed to rock? Was it just something you were already engulfed in or was it more conscious than that? "I'm not sure I actually decided to do one or the other (dance or rock). I've always loved electronic music, but it wasn't always called "dance" music, it was just pop or rock (ie. Eurythmics, Blondie, Kraftwerk, or today, Goldfrapp and Gwen Stefani, what are they?). I'd rather not categorize myself, it's too limiting."
Standard Question - What is your favorite song of all time and why? "You say it's a standard question but I think it's the hardest question you've given me to answer. It's difficult to single one out, since I'm a lover of many songs...but for the sake of answering the question today, I guess I'll pick Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Fantastic, tripped out and timeless melody topped by lush picturesque story-telling lyrics."
How did you stumble upon being a recording artist? When you were younger, did you have fantasies of being a wild rock star or was it something that gradually grew on you? Was there an artist or someone that you fell in love with and wanted to emulate? "I was lucky to grow up in a very free-thinking and artistic home. My father is a published poet and novelist and my mother is also a writer and a person who is devoted to a very spiritual lifestyle. When I was growing up in NYC, my parents encouraged me in all my artistic endeavors and my mother exposed me to meditation at the age of 6 and brought me to ashrams regularly where meditation, chanting and singing were part of the daily routine."
"As a little kid I wrote little diddies on the piano and sang harmonies to all my records. When I was 14 my parents brought me a 4 track recorder, a mic and a digital delay unit. It was then that I really started loving what I could do with my voice. I wrote lyrics and songs over my own melodic beat box, (layered rhythmic multi-tracked voices singing all the "instrumental parts"). I got a full scholarship to art college because of the recognition I received as a visual artist. All the while I continued to record on my four-track and to play my stuff for everyone, often while showing them my artwork. After I graduated I had one of my first multi media shows at an art gallery in LA and I met Scott and Ken (of The Crystal Method). I played them my tracks and they said they wanted me to re-record my song Comin' Back, and we went on to record more stuff together. I remember they actually said, "we're gonna make you famous". When "Vegas" was about to be released I started to realize that I might have a real shot at the big time with my music."
I would imagine that recording a dance song or electronic song is a slightly different process than, let's say, Dave Matthews uses. Is it easier to record with digital devices (since you don't have a drummer kicking the drum the entire song) or do you still have to "record" songs in takes? What is the general process you go through? "Multi-track recording for a vocalist is pretty much the same across the board for everyone, if you're using a digital system (and almost everyone does). I still like to take lots of takes so I can get the richest vocal possible, but you are right about programming beats as opposed to using a live drummer. On the Tricky Bizzniss LP we used a combination of both live and programmed drums and we have guitar and keyboard parts that are played all the way through the track. Digital recording allows for quick and easy edits and keyboard sound changes, but it's still a very time consuming process."
Which do you enjoy more, songwriting or performing - and why? "I love them both equally for different reasons. Both things leave me
with goosebumps, because they feel so magical and exciting. Writing, for me, comes from a stream of consciousness that I then work on to perfect. But the initial inspiration comes out of the ether, or from somewhere deep within. The final product never fails to surprise me. Performing is the final culmination of that act of bringing something never before heard into existence and then having it received and accepted, and
when you write a song that everyone comes to know and love, it's like a
shot of ultimate love that gets me soooo high...there are almost no words to explain it."
What is your favorite part of doing what you do? What's the worst and why? "My favorite part is writing and performing a hit song. The worst part is all the hurry up and wait...I hate that part."
Is being a rock star all play like you see on TV or is it all work and no play? Is work your play? Basically, do you ever get sick of listening to dance music because that's what your profession is? "When things are in full swing, being a rock star is a lot of play, but you still have to be on your toes so you can do press and not sound like an imbecile and of course perform well. But making music and performing are so enjoyable for me, that yes, my work really is play. I listen to all types of music and I happen to love dance and electronic based music with a serious passion so that's never been a problem for me."
What are your future plans? "To see the Tricky Bizzniss LP blow up huge in 2007...and to tour the hell out it!!!!"
Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins ... do you?! "Oh yes, they are the sweetest creatures ever, them and koala bears, right?"
Interviewed by Brian J. Hong
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Tricky Bizzniss' new CD, just answer this easy question: The Crystal Method did most of their earlier production work in an underground shelter they lovingly referred to as ... what?! (FYI - To this day it is still the nickname for their current studio setup!)
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: TRICKY BIZZNISS SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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