World War Music – interview with Biet Simkin

Flavius Vegetius Renatus famously stated, "Si vis pacem, para vellum" or "If you want peace, prepare for war." What he failed to mention is that there are and will always be wars to be fought. The writers here at POLKADOT bring war to your world, picking apart and analyzing, criticizing or praising, the work of artists who in turn wage their own battles, dedicating themselves to their particular aspirations. Today, POLKADOT introduces you to Biet Simkin, the name behind the music of a New York City band: WORLD WAR. We had an opportunity to interview Biet about her music and she surprised us by astutely asserting that "the real world war is internal. Just over the years I have become less hard on the edges. I maintain that we are all at war with something great." She describes her own music as romantic and simple but with a heartbreak beat.

Flavius Vegetius Renatus famously stated, “Si vis pacem, para bellum” or “If you want peace, prepare for war.” What he failed to mention is that there are and will always be wars to be fought. The writers here at POLKADOT bring war to your world, picking apart and analyzing, criticizing or praising, the work of artists who in turn wage their own battles, dedicating themselves to their particular aspirations.

Today, POLKADOT introduces you to Biet Simkin, the name behind the music of a New York City band: WORLD WAR. We had an opportunity to interview Biet about her music and she surprised us by astutely asserting that “the real world war is internal. Just over the years I have become less hard on the edges. I maintain that we are all at war with something great.” She describes her own music as romantic and simple but with a heartbreak beat.

Taking inspiration from silence and preferring to walk through the streets of NYC at night, her personality does come across as romantic, and her music achieves complexity through simplicity but never take that at face value. The history behind the songs you hear is a hellish battle that’s given this musician the depth and sorrow needed to give us a harmony of abrasive lyrics and lucid melodies. At long length, an extremely driven yet beautifully compassionate character shows itself as the composer of songs such as “Trouble,” “Plastic Flowers,” and “Pere Lachaise.”

Biet has informed us that she will be releasing a new EP called “Famous for Falling In Love” which we look forward to soon. We also managed to sneak in a few questions regarding the artist’s personal life and career.

“World War Music” – Where does the name come from, it’s meaning?
I came up with World War while walking down the street and talking about how “hard core” and “tough” I am for having had a life so full of chaos and loss. I thought that by being tough I could escape all the pain that comes with losing most of my immediate family. The truth is I knew then that the real world war is internal. Just over the years I have become less hard on the edges. I maintain that we are all at war with something great. And how much effort we put into getting out of that war. Is what makes us who we are.

How did WorldWarMusic start? What was it’s beginnings?
I came out of the womb singing. When I was 1 they used to call me the singing baby in the local grocery store. Eventually I decided I wanted to share that with everyone. I started out as biet. Which is my given name. But in the heat of downtown New York City life in my 20’s. I decided that I needed a blanket which would cover me. And a name I could go under and play with a shifting group of members.

Other writers and artists have described your music in various ways. Setting those aside, how would YOU describe your own music?
I really like to think that my music is romantic and simple. But has a heartbreak beat. I like to make music that someone can run to at the end of a film to find the girl they love in the rain. I feel like that passionate moment deserves a soundtrack. I believe I write that soundtrack with my songs.

What are your primary inspirations?
silence. art. kissing. joy

In your opinion, who are your most influential musicians?
The ones that are authentically themselves. Or authentically full of crap. Just authenticity is what concerns me. Because it opens my heart and changes me as the listener.

What are some difficulties and milestones you’ve overcome in the development of your music?
I had some trouble in my early work keeping things simple. I really wanted to be abstract. I found that doesn’t work for me. If I want to communicate I just need to be honest and sure

In creating/playing your music, what’s the most fun you’ve had?
I love being on a stage. Because then its the final moments of all this work you put in practicing and writing and all. And then it’s this great peak. I never feel alone when I am on a stage. Well maybe for moments, but not for long. That’s usually just fear, and that lifts as soon as I start singing. I also really love intimate shows that are just for a small group of friends, perhaps outdoors, or in a friend’s house. That always makes me giddy.

Do you have any new releases, albums, songs, coming up soon?
I will be releasing a new EP soon. Called Famous for Falling In Love. I am calling all my EP’s that until I get famous. And then I will come up with a new name. If anyone wants to get a CD they can also always e-mail me. I will happily meet them in a cafe or send it their way.

What’s your favorite spot in NYC?
Too many to name, but the water front in DUMBO is one. The MET would be another.

When you’re not creating music, what do you enjoy doing?
I like painting. I do yoga. I like drinking tea. I love leaving the city to see nature. I love laughing. I love walking through New York city at night. I love reading. I love helping people. I love people… most of the time.

Our sincere thanks for your answers and your music Biet!

Photo credits roll to New York photographers Chris Grace and Alice Millar

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