Scissor Sisters: the interview

'You think we're gay? You ain't seen nothing! Here's some gay for ya!'

Scissor Sisters: the interview

Scissor Sisters: the interview
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Commercial wisdom suggests — if not demands — that chart music and politics sleep in separate bedrooms. But when the two get together, they can really get red hot. Music crosses over most readily when it crystallises an experience shared by a generation, from its Smalltown Boys to its West End Girls. Its success is driven by the shared ideals of artist and audience, making a three-minute record literal vox pop.

Stalking an undeveloped basement, dressed in extravagant dungeon couture, Jake Shears and Ana Matronic make an unlikely pair of politicians (at least until Marvel launches its 'Senate Fetish Avengers' comic), but with their latest album, Night Work, that's what they are. Granted, the specific politics they're engaged in are sexual, a strain of discourse rarely debated in Parliament, but one which is as much a life-and-death issue as any overpriced aircraft carrier. To set the scene, it's easiest for us to start at the rear; the cover of Night Work, a striking photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe, features surely the most politicised ass since Thomas Nast caricatured Andrew Jackson.

Were you surprised by — or, excited by — the reaction to the cover? It's like a Rorschach test cast in Lycra: some people see it as camp, and some people see it as being…
Ana Matronic: … explicit.

Exactly. Is that something you were deliberately aiming for?
AM: I knew it was going to do exactly what it did.

Jake Shears: Everyone wants to talk about it. I think it's fascinating for an album cover to do that these days. I mean how many bands or performers are talking about their sleeve?

AM: It's a really interesting barometer of where people are with sex, culturally. Because we've gone to Italy and they've gone, 'Whoa, what is this explicit album cover?' and we go to Germany and they're like, 'We love the cover!' It's funny to me, and I always bring it up, that you see much more of a woman's body in a cellulite-cream ad than you do on our cover — but ours is 'shocking' and 'explicit'. And… it really isn't.

JS: I really think it fits the record. I think it has everything to do with this album. It's a signifier for us, I think it sends a message out to whoever cares to notice. I think the perception of this band had possibly become that we were afraid of ourselves or something. This was our statement, saying: 'Actually, we're not afraid of ourselves. And, well, if you don't like us… here's an ass in your face.' [Laughs] 'And if you do like us, here's an ass in your face — enjoy!'

AM: 'Oh, you think we're gay? You ain't seen nothing! Here's some gay for ya!' I think it's also really interesting how threatening male sexuality still is, you know. A naked woman standing on the street corner is art but a naked man is threatening. Interview continues here...

Eddy Lawrence
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


Add your comment

Copyright © 2014 Time Out Tokyo