Rosa and Ricardo
First, we all are still a little bit bewildered after learning that you will be using the name ANOHNI when releasing your new album. What else can you tell us about this change of name? Is it something permanent? Or something to put some distance from your previous work?
Anohni is the name I have been using in my private life for several years. I felt like sharing it professionally for this project. “Antony and the Johnsons” still exists as a band name, but I will be using Anohni most likely from now on on a personal level.
Well, the next obvious question is: what can you tell us about HOPELESSNESS? Is there a release date yet? We are all looking forward to listening to your new and very different album.
The record is as different as could be from my previous work. I am not sure that many of you who prefer the early chamber music style will enjoy it! It is a dance / experimental electronic record with quite a dark thematic undertow. It is an album I felt very compelled to produce. It will be released next spring and I will be working on aspect of that for the year of 2016.
Is there going to be a music video with the release of the new album?
There will be several quite special videos, all of which we are working on now, and which I am quite excited about.
Regarding the live presentation of HOPELESSNESS: Do you already know how is it going to happen? Will there be a World Tour? Will it be very different from your previous concerts?
The presentation will be very unconventional and I'll probably raise a few eyebrows. I want to explore my voice as separated from my body, and employ avatars to represent my body. But this will get more concrete as we develop and rehearse over the coming months.
When we had the chance of listening to 4 Degrees live earlier this year, thematically it looked like Another World’s angry sister. Have you reflected on that? Has your vision of the world become angrier in the last few years? Why?
I have grown tired of grieving for humanity, and I also thought I was not being entirely honest by pretending that I am not a part of the problem. 4 Degrees is kind of a brutal attempt to hold myself accountable, not just valorize my intentions but also reflect on the true impact of my behaviors.
How has your visual work evolved in the recent years? Do you have plans for any new exhibitions?
I have a plan for a major exhibit of my drawings in Germany next summer.
The Turning tour in 2006 made it possible to give more visibility to the beauty and dignity of transgender people. Do you see right now a real improvement regarding social inclusion of transgender people, or are stereotypes and ignorance spread in the same way as in the past?
Obviously in the US and to some extent in the UK there have been great strides in visibility for trans people in the last couple of years. That has been very exciting for the trans community in the US and I hope that other countries can start to enjoy this conversation as well, and that it might start to benefit oppressed people around the world. Although I have always talked about myself and my work in the context of being transgendered, I feel a bit on the outskirts of the US trans-hubbub in the media. But I feel it will benefit the younger generations most explicitly, and I am delighted for that. The sooner gay and trans people can get on safe and equal footing, the sooner they can more powerfully lend their unique voices as a community to advocate for issues beyond their own well-being.
The same way Turning did with transgender issues, the Future Feminism movement seems to have preceded a new wave of Feminism across popular and “mainstream” culture. What do you think about this new popularization of the word Feminism? Do you see it as authentic?
I am glad to say that we were also a part of a recent resurgence in popular interest in feminism as it applies to our lives and circumstances today. One of my proudest achievements in the last few years was seeing me quoted in the international press saying “Jesus as a girl, Allah as a woman, Buddha as a mother”. And now with Pope Francis even considering the ecology! This is a far cry from just a few years ago. It seems like some of the things we care about are finally becoming more popular urgent concerns, thank Goddess!
It has been mentioned sometime in the past that you have been working in a project concerning Blacklips. Is that true? It would be really interesting as it is a part of your work that remains a mystery and less known.
I have compiled a trailer for a Blacklips documentary that I would like to make one day. I spent a couple of years interviewing all the participants of Blacklips after one of my best friends from the group died in 2011. It put a fire under me to at least collect the raw documentation. I suspect it will not see the light for a few years however.
In recent years you have performed wonderful concerts with orchestras. Still we miss the lovely intimate feeling of the performances with the very talented Johnsons. Will there ever be concerts with the Johnsons or an equivalent band?
I honestly don't know if I will revisit that configuration again, or whether it will just remain a lovely memory of a wonderful period in my 30s. I adore all those musicians, Julia [Kent] and Max[im Moston] and Joan [Wasser] and co. They are all very busy with their own lives and projects these days, and my process has shifted and evolved. But the recordings are forever!!!! The funniest part of it is that I recorded I am a Bird Now to document that group of musicians before our configuration fell apart! None of us could have imagined that we would have that glorious run!
In your words some of the songs you've written over the years have gone through a long journey from their composition to the time they were recorded and later released. Could you tell us more about your songwriting process? Do you take time to let your compositions 'age' before allowing them to be listened to?
Not consciously, but sometimes things take a long time to gestate. on the other hand, other projects are completed instantaneously. There really isn't a formula. I spend a lot more time on a day to day basis doing visual work, but when I do return to music, it sets my heart aflame. Recently I have been setting my vocals to tracks by producers, which is a whole different world, and very liberating.
Two of your recent projects have been The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic and the She’s So Blue concerts. Are there plans for releasing or performing the songs featured there?
I have vague plans to do record some of this material and a lot of other material from my past when the time is right!
Are there plans for a DVD / Blu-Ray release of the Swanlights Concert with the light work of Chris Levine or the Antony and the Ohnos concert with Yoshito Ohno?
Nothing like this is currently planned.
Your first album and the I Fell In Love With a Dead Boy EP are your only releases that can’t be found in vinyl format. Have you thought about re-releasing them in that format now that its use is spreading out again?
It is something I have long wanted to do. I actually prepared that vinyl for production many years ago and submitted it to World Serpent in 2002, but the label closed down before the records could go into production. I have to dig those files out again and send them to the record company!
Friends and Collaborators
It is rather difficult to describe the enigmatic charm of the music of your friend and collaborator William Basinski. His compositions have a sense of eternity, are contemplative, their listening requires attention, time and a particular mood...what is your perception of Basinski’s music?
I love Billy’s music, I am proud to say I helped him along the way as I introduced his work to David Tibet. I have always been a giant fan and for years I was the only one listening to it on cassettes that he would make for me!!!! But in terms of describing the work, I will leave that to his many enamored critics!
Did Beyoncé or Jay-Z ever react (publicly or in private) to your rendition of 'Crazy in Love’?
What is the dream duet or collaboration that hasn’t happened yet? And the one that has already happened that you cherish the most?
I would like to do more projects with artists from traditional and indigenous communities. I absolutely loved working with the Martu earlier this year.
Name the last song, album and artist/singer you really loved.
I LOVE BUFFY SAINT MARIE’s NEW ALBUM “POWER IN THE BLOOD”!!!!!!!! It is fantastic.
Name five albums to take to a desert island.
Big Science by Laurie Anderson
Loaded by The Velvet Underground
Variations for Piano [and tape] by William Basinski
It is Finished! by Nina Simone
Treasure by Cocteau Twins
It’s Only Theater of Pain by Christian Death!
I know that's 6…
What are your favorite poets?
Recently I have been reading these gorgeous Zoroastrian texts. I used to like EE Cummings when I was a teenager.
Which artistic period do you feel more attracted to? Which artists do you like the most?
In terms of painting, I like Veronica’s Veil! I like quite minimalist work and I like heavy abstraction. I do not like figurative work on the whole. I like paintings by animals! I have a brilliant painting by an elephant!
Do you have a favorite wine to drink while listening to Nina Simone?
I never whine while listening to Nina! It would be an insult to her greatness!
Do you have a favorite hiding place?
In the clouds.
What's your take on weird/strange coincidences?
I dont know why they happen!
Would you like to become involved in politics?
I feel in my own funny way I have used my platform in the media to speak about things that some deem political. But other than in that way, no.
Do you allow yourself the privilege of taking care of a garden? It's probably not an easy task living in Manhattan.
I used to garden for a living in my 20s!!! I love taking care of all my plants in my home. And I have a garden of crystals by my bed.
Is there something else you would like to add or say?
Last Edited By: Rosa Blackstar Oct 20 15 7:14 AM. Edited 8 times