Thursday, January 14, 2010

an interview with the lovely ea

An interview with Emilie Autumn, conducted by Clayton Perry, was posted on Blog Critics several days ago.

It's a nice sit-down Q&A with EA, but not exactly my cup of tea.  Perry appears to have too little knowledge of EA to ask any really enlightening questions of her, in my opinion.  I doubt that people who know of her learn anything outstanding of which they were not already aware.  There is a good bit of information on the concept of the show, the props, and EA's evolving showmaking techniques at the beginning, though, and a discussion on whether EA had been approached to go more mainstream with her music due to her devoted fanbase.

There were two items in the interview that I personally found very interesting, if not necessarily fulfilling.  The first was EA's response to Clayton Perry's question about her Victorianindustrial genre of music.  The answer was less than satisfying for anyone who wants a solid definition (or me, who attempted to define this genre in a previous blog post).  Here is her explanation:
Victorian Industrial – that’s just me being cute and clever and stupid and putting two words together. That’s the fun of it...by taking things that basically did describe it and putting them together and creating a new genre...if it’s any category, it’s more Glam Rock than anything else. But it’s still very hard to categorize. I don’t even know what it is. It’s just a mix of all of these things and it gets filed under whatever it gets filed under.
Great, Emilie.  You don't even know how to describe it.  I'm not looking for a stringent definition, but something more than "I don't even know what it is" would actually be kind of nice from the woman who pretty much invented the genre.

The last major response EA gave in this interview, by contrast, was much more satisfying, and addressed her bipolar disorder and the "fun" of her Asylum concept as a joke to deal with her depression.  I think that's what many of her fans get from the concert experience, from listening to her songs.

My younger sister borrowed my Opheliac album a few months ago, and she loved it.  But she had to stop listening to it, she said, because the songs were too depressing- too much mention of death and suicide and insanity and depression for her liking.  But even mentally ill people have to laugh at themselves.  Emilie Autumn's songs and shows are a farce, a joke on the suicidal thoughts of severely depressed people, of which many of her fans probably are.  It's like saying, "I know what you're going through, I am going through it too, let's get together and make fun of ourselves and have a blast doing it, because only then can we stop taking our thoughts and problems so seriously."

As she herself says:
The idea now is taking back the asylum and basically making it into what that word really means – which asylum means sanctuary. That means a place where people can go to be safe. That’s not what it is. That’s not what it was 150 years ago – which is what we’re referencing and we're comparing this to the Victorian insane asylums for girls. Not a lot has changed between then and now. And that’s the problem, and that’s what we’re bringing to light in our way: nobody wants to be preached to. So if you want to actually have a real message on top of all the rest of this silliness, the way to do it is through comedy and sarcasm and ridicule and farce and sexuality.
In this previous blog post I linked to EA's cover of the legendary Hungarian "suicide" song, "Gloomy Sunday."  If you haven't already done so, listen to it.  The words speak of suicide, but her tone is so melodramatic, one can't imagine the singer actually taking the words seriously.  Her music isn't meant to encourage people to kill themselves, no matter how dark and depressing their lives are.  It's to admit there is darkness with no light, but get a rise out of it.

You can read Perry's article here.

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