A reporter asked me recently if I am “Having a bit of a Renaissance?” I immediately pictured myself wearing a wench outfit eating a turkey leg. Seriously though, WHO TOOK THE BOMP, was just released last week and a bunch of interviews I did have been showing up. I’ve also been doing Q and A’s at theatres and recording with my new band so I guess I am kind of having a renaissance.
It’s been amazing to sing with a live band again, which is something I haven’t done for over ten years! I also haven’t been this “hands on” about a record since the first Le Tigre album in 99 and I forgot what it feels like to hear what I want in my head and then set out to make it happen. Having my bandmate’s encouragement is a big help of course- who else would indulge my bizarre love of an unusually loud snare?
The most remarkable part of writing this record thus far has been just letting the songs be what they want and not imposing my overarching “ideas” onto them. I’m not trying to force the songs to be validating or informative. I’m just a person writing songs, and while there will always be craft involved, it is really fun to not overly control things.
I went to see this Young Jean Lee show awhile back. I could seriously write ten pages about all the stuff it brought up for me but the thing that made me absolutely nuts was the Q and A afterwards. Question after question revolved around stuff like “Why was it so funny? Shouldn’t it be more serious? Shouldn’t it be less serious? Shouldn’t it be even more diverse than it already was? Shouldn’t it explain feminism to men better? Shouldn’t it teach people how to be feminists themselves?”
And then a woman got up, and said something to the effect of “Why is that one feminist performance is expected to encompass EVERYTHING for EVERYONE? Do we really think it should simultaneously entertain, inform, instruct, educate and validate everyone? Why do we have this expectation of feminist artists and not all artists? Can’t we just see this as one work by one person?”
A few months later I went to see this music project by Young Jean Lee that was all about death. It was personal and funny and left me feeling totally inspired to make the work I want to make. I don’t mean to sound like a big baby “Oh no I’ve been trapped by being most known as a feminist artist”, cuz to be honest, I am thrilled to be a part of a feminist art legacy and feel way more liberated by that legacy than bogged down by it.
It is just that, for this one record, I want to let go of my obsessive need to factor in “the audience” so much during the writing process. Part of the reason I do this is because I don’t want to turn into a selfish creepy rockstar singing about the shit that happens in my own life as if everyone should stop what they are doing and listen to my personal bizwax. I guess I’m looking for a middle ground though, where I can stop being such a control freak and be a little more vulnerable and trust that my ideas will show through.
Thanks to Carmine Covelli for the studio pic!!!!