Wonderland.

PERFUME GENIUS: PORN, ADDICTION AND EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

Perfume Genius specialises in stark, eerily intimate confessionals – no wonder his next London gig’s in a church. We sit down to talk to him about addiction, childhood and porn – plus we’re giving away a pair of tickets to his Union Chapel gig, a signed album and Perfume Genius merchandise.

Your songs are so intensely personal – do you ever feel like you have to hold something back?

Only when I think about it for too long. I retroactively panic, but it feels very natural to overshare in the moment. And I rarely go back and edit. Usually the more uncomfortable the lyric makes me, the more helpful I find it in the long run. For myself and other people hopefully.

How do you feel about performing, especially since your songs are so intimate?

It was scary at first. I enjoy it a lot more now. I was always scared people were going to laugh. That’s always been my biggest fear even beyond music, that people are going to laugh when I’m being vulnerable and serious. And people have laughed, but so what. Nothing bad happened. For all of those assholes, there are 10 that are gonna hug you.

We imagine that being so open about yourself means your fans feel like they “know” you more than they would another musician – what are your fans like?

Some are as crazy as I am but I’ve met audience members that are vaguely normal! They do exist! I get a lot of important letters from people that are very personal and deep. I try my best to respond. It is definitely the best and most intense part of this whole thing.

How do you feel about being compared to other gay singers like Antony Hegarty and Jonsi from Sigur Ros? Do you think there’s such a thing as a ‘queer music aesthetic’?

Well, I love Jonsi and Antony, I don’t mind the comparison. Unless it is a lazy one. I don’t think there’s a queer mu

use ipad to control mac

sic aesthetic. I think it’s lazy when people lump all the homos together. Women have the same trouble, I’m sure. If you are vaguely “quirky” you are automatically compared to Joanna Newsom even if you sound nothing alike.

You’ve talked openly about abusing drugs and alcohol – what do you think compelled you towards doing those things?

It was the only thing I found that quieted my mind and made me feel comfortable in my own skin. There is a much gentler way to get these feelings, but it takes work and faith and all kinds of difficult emotions. It’s a lot easier to get high but far less rewarding. Every song I have written has been written sober.

How has your music changed between your debut Learning and Put Your Back N 2 It?

I went into a proper studio – in itself it was a giant step. I wanted the content to be more hopeful and comforting. I wanted it to sound cleaner, but still spare and honest.

You’ve talked about how you like watching fetish movies, and your video for Hood features porn star Arpad Miklos. What do you like about fetish?

I love fetish because it is people knowing exactly what they want. How strange and specific it can be. The look on people’s faces when they are doing something that may seem crazy to other people but completely soothing and perfect to them.

What was your first childhood memory?

I remember overfeeding the fish and they died. I was really in to Gremlins, I used to wait for them at night to appear by the bed. I was excited.

What’s the first record you remember buying and how do you feel about it now?

The Edward Scissorhands soundtrack. Still super influential to me. That movie is the best, I cry every time.

We’re giving out a pair of tickets to Perfume Genius’ gig at the Union Chapel on 6th September plus a signed copy of Put Your Back In 2 It and a t-shirt designed by Perfume Genius. (It’s of Mariah Carey weeping, you’ll love it.) To win, follow and RT @wonderlandmag. www.turnstilemusic.net/perfume-genius

Words: Zing Tsjeng

zp8497586rq
PERFUME GENIUS: PORN, ADDICTION AND EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related →