Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A quick chat with Robyn!

It can't have escaped your attention that I'm quite a big fan of Robyn's Body Talk project. Well, the third part is out this week and I beseech you to buy it.

If you're not convinced... well, what's wrong with you? But here's a rather fantastic A-Trak remix of the single, Indestructible, to whet your appetite.

Indestructible (A-Trak radio edit) by robyn

I managed to catch up with Robyn last week as part of my "proper job" at the BBC. As I'm out of the country, I can't be certain when the interview goes live, but I'll put up a link once I get back. In the meantime, here's an excerpt of our chat that was cut from the final piece.

On the new tracks, you seem more upbeat than the heartbroken Robyn of Body Talk pts 1&2. What inspired that?

I think this last part of the project became very straightforward. It’s the big pop finale. Time Machine is pop pop pop! It’s like an exercise in how far you can go in that world.

I wanted not to play it safe and go back into the credible world with this last part. I wanted to take it all the way and tie it all together with real pop songs.

Lyrically, you have two personas – the melancholy, unlucky in love teenager, versus this kick-ass woman with towering confidence. Is that split personality present in real life, too?

Maybe. Life is dynamic and complicated – so it can be hard for me to look at myself and tell you who I am. I’m a lot of things, and I try to use that in my music.

Have you managed to avoid leaks by releasing material as soon as its ready?

No, the first album leaked, and the second album leaked, and then the last album leaked! But we’ve managed to close the gap between the leak and the release with the second two albums. It usually happens when we start sending out albums to journalists.

It wasn’t me, I promise!

No, we know who it is because they’re watermarked. You can usually trace the source. But I think it’s got to the point now where journalists don’t really care. And I understand... When it’s that close to a release, I don’t know if it makes that big of a difference.

But if you don’t sell any records, then you don't make any money, and the record companies collapse and suddenly the journalists have no artists to speak to. So they’re essentially making themselves redundant.

You’re right – but I guess when it’s closer to the release, it becomes harder to say how much of an effect it has on sales. And I think the music industry feels more alive nowadays because of blogs and websites like Pitchfork than through the old-school media and MTV.

How important has the visual side of this project been?

It’s been really important. The way the albums were recorded was more natural – and that simple way of looking at things influenced the visuals, as well. Number one, there’s less money to be spent on videos and record covers, so you have to be creative with that. But it’s also about doing something that felt real, and organic and not too complicated.

Are you saying the songs were also less produced than perhaps they were in the past?

I guess you could say that. I don’t know if it’s less complicated – because the way of getting to a simple solution can sometimes be quite difficult, or take a lot of effort. But the music is stripped down. It’s deliberately produced in a simple way – and that’s something we started on the last record [Robyn]. Sparse production, focusing on the melody of the song.

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