Robyn Lets Her Music, Body Do The Talking
Each week our friends at The Guest List bring us a hot new interview with one of the world’s brightest stars. This week the team met up with Pop sensation Robyn.
Until this year, international pop star, [lastfm]Robyn[/lastfm], was one of our guiltiest pleasures. When her breakthrough soul-pop tracks, “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What It Takes),” came out in 1997, she was a mere 18-years-old and we were 15-year-old rocker chicks who publicly shunned cavity-causing pop tartlets like the Spice Girls while belting out Robyn’s “Show Me Love” in the shower.
Years later, we were finally brave enough to admit our profound love for decadent-structured dance-pop hits, with Robyn at the top of our list.
We downloaded all the old albums we had once hid under our mattress as if they were scandalous material and waited not-so patiently for Robyn’s new material to come out. And waited. And waited some more.
When we learned that Robyn was putting out three albums in 2010, Body Talk Pt. 1, Body Talk Pt. 2, and Body Talk Pt. 3, we started dipping into our old Robyn tracks, gathering our finest glittered dance garments, and got ready for dancefloor demolition.
Robyn’s Body Talk series is a electro-pop masterpiece that made our girlcrush even more tangible. When we learned she was coming by to show us some love, we knew we had to confess our once hush-hush teenage pop fantasies.
[pullquote quote="I think club music and club culture is something I've really connected back to." credit="Robyn"]
Gracious, soft-spoken, and impossibly pixie-esque, Robyn was a dream interview. Directly off a plane flight, Robyn was Swedish chic in a varsity jacket and cozy cropped sweater. She has the kind of mismatched style that only the Swedish can pull off with their carefree, unstudied panache. We got to ask Robyn five super-awesome questions and the first (and most obvious) we asked was why she had such a huge gap between putting out her last album–2005′s Robyn–and why she decided to put out three albums at once. Obviously anticipating this question, Robyn easily replied:
“Well, I guess, because when I released the last album in 2005, I didn’t know that people were going to get into it outside of Scandanavia, so I basically just released it in Sweden and then it started to make its way out into the world over the internet. And I just went where the album went.
When I started writing again in 2009, I just ended up getting a lot of songs ready very quickly. I wasn’t really excited about looking at that scenario of staying away from touring again for another two years because I was in the studio making this new album.
Or even, not getting back into the studio again until maybe three years later, the way it usually happens.
So, I started to think about this idea of releasing the album in parts and going back in between the studio and touring, which is what I ended up doing. The first eight songs that were done, I just released them as soon as they were finished and I started touring and then I went back into the studio after a couple of months and I recorded the second part.
And here I am back again touring, so I’m alternating in between those two different modes at the moment and I’m finding it really exciting to work that way.”
We’ve listened to Body Talk Pt. 1 and Body Talk Pt. 2 so many times, that we’ve essentially created our own story behind the overall themes of the album, so we told Robyn that we fancied the albums were a cinematic, futuristic robot love story about rebellious robots trying to find freedom from the plugged in lifestyle.
While our imaginations weren’t exactly what Robyn was going for, she did say that she was trying to go for a synthetic vs. organic theme and her main inspiration was 1990s club music:
[pullquote quote="But, I think it tells you a little bit about what the world still is. And it is a place, where things or people that are not like everyone else are still not accepted or as accepted as we think. " credit="Robyn"]
“There a few things that have been really inspired by making this album. I think club music and club culture is something I’ve really connected back to. It’s the culture I was brought up, in Europe, in the 90s.
And something I’ve always been a part of but I think on this album, I really wanted to make it clear that it was about that for me. I’ve thought a lot about technology and the contrast between that and real, organic things like dance and motions. It’s an album that has a lot of contrasts in the lyrics and the music.
In the way, I am still embracing pop melodies but also trying to do it in, I guess, a more unexpected way? “Fembot” is a song about being a girl and about having a body that tells you you want kids but a mind that tells you that you don’t want to go that route–yet. I think just trying to play around with the concept of what it’s like to be a woman in 2010.
And yeah, it is a little bit cinematic. Maybe in the way that “Konichiwa Bitches” was on the last album. It’s fun, even though it has a serious tone in it. It’s mostly playful, I think.”
Robyn has some gorgeous, playful videos and we wanted to know what her next US single would be and which song we could look forward to seeing as a video. We mentioned that [lastfm]Willow Smith[/lastfm]‘s video for “Whip My Hair” reminded us of the “Cobrastyle” video. Robyn replied:
“We made a video for “Dancing On My Own” and “Hang With Me” and now for “Indestructible’” which is the single in Europe. I don’t know what’s going to be the next single here.
If it’s not “Hang With Me” or “Indestructable,” I am going to have to make a new video. And that’s good, you are letting me know you like “Cobrastyle.” Singles tend to choose themselves, so I don’t know.
We’ll see what people like over here. There are a lot of songs on the third part that I think can be singles too.”
We asked our Twitter followers if they had a question for Robyn and the most poignant, perceptive and topical question was how Robyn feels being a huge gay icon and if she had a message for the gay youth of America, especially considering the recent traumatic new stories about bullying and suicide that have bombarded the media. Robyn answered sincerely:
“I’ve always had a gay following and I’ve always been aware of it. I’m very proud of having that support. The gay audience is very loyal and a very important starting point for a lot of artists. And I definitely recognize that.
I think I always felt connected to gay culture in the sense that feeling like an outsider is something that gay culture naturally always had to consider. Or take a stand. Against or for. Or whatever it is. And I think that’s something I can relate to.
I think it’s more about queer culture–in the true sense of the word. I guess I am interested in thing that are not always what they are supposed to be. Of course, it’s shocking that the things that have happened here recently are happening. I think it’s something you don’t feel should be happening in 2010.
But, I think it tells you a little bit about what the world still is. And it is a place, where things or people that are not like everyone else are still not accepted or as accepted as we think. I think it goes for the gay community. I think it goes for women as well. I think there is a lot of stereotypes that still have a very strong position in society that I like to question. Always.”
Considering we had just asked her a very “serious” question, we wanted to lighten the mood up a little, so we asked Robyn what her current musical faves were or if she had any old classics she was constantly jamming. Robyn laughed and replied:
“Right now, I’m just into a lot of club music from a lot of places and genres. I always listen to old music and I think I am pretty bad at coming up with the new hip thing to listen to. It’s flattering that you think that I might know new things, but I’m not as up-to-date as you might think I am.
I like this girl that’s with me now on tour. Her name is [lastfm]Maluca[/lastfm], she’s opening up for us. I really like what she’s doing. I’m listening to a lot of old house music from Chicago and old techno music. Even things like [lastfm]Wink[/lastfm] ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ and those kind of techno classics that I’m really liking at the moment.
I’m always listening to [lastfm]Prince[/lastfm]. What else? There’s a beautiful song called ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ by [lastfm]UB40 [/lastfm]that I’m rocking all the time the moment.”
We never got to fully confess how huge of an impact that she had on us, but she gave us a knowing look like she could tell that we were true fans rather than assigned journalists.
Robyn smiled as we wrapped up, proclaiming that she hoped she’d see us at her DJ gig later that night. We smiled back, Robyn’s warmth and energy made us feel like all those years of secret fandom were definitely worth it.