Frisky Q&A: Robyn Tells Us What It’s Like To Be A Fembot
Robyn has been called everything from the “queen of icy hotness” to the “Europop antidote to Lady Gaga.” I just call her awesome. In 2010, Robyn toured up a storm and released three mini albums: Body Talk Pt. 1, Body Talk Pt. 2, and finally Body Talk on Cherrytree/Interscope and Konichiwa Records, the label she established in 2005. After the jump, Robyn talks to The Frisky about time machines, how she picks the perfect stage outfit, and the TV show she’d like to write the theme song for.
You were born Robin Carlsson and now you are, of course, Robyn. Is there a story behind the ‘y’?
Yes, there is. When I released my second single in America in 1997, it was called “Show Me Love.” And there was another artist named Robin S. who also had a song out called “Show Me Love.” So we decided to change the one letter in my name so that people wouldn’t confuse us. But it happens still, so maybe it didn’t work.
You have a Swedish Grammy for Best Live Act. What do you think makes your live show so unique and fun to watch?
I think what we do is really honest. I do it with the authentic intention of moving people and connecting to the audience and making them dance. It’s really simple. But I think people like that feeling of having a lot of space for their emotions.
Everything you do has a certain theatricality to it, which has drawn lots of Lady Gaga comparisons. Do you think people hunger for that now?
I don’t know. I definitely find the human condition interesting and inspiring and when I write songs, I write about my own experience. So it’s emotional what I do. But is that a sign of the times? I don’t know. I think that’s always been true.
What was the impetus to start your own record company?
I’d been making music for 10 years and I found myself in a place where I just wasn’t enjoying doing it anymore. I realized it was time to step away from the major labels and industry and create my own structure.
How did you come to the decision to release Body Talk in three parts?
I wanted to find a different way to work. I wanted to record and release songs in a way that had more of a flow and felt like a more organic process. Because when I’m in the studio, I step away from touring. And when I’m touring, I don’t write any songs. This was a way to do both at the same time. I also wanted to give myself more time off the road so I didn’t burn out because, once you get back, it takes a while to get inspired to do it again. This was a way to do it at a more controlled pace. It was an experiment and it became a concept—it affected how I was working and the live show. It keeps things interesting and fun. I’m going to keep releasing shorter albums—though maybe not three in a year. But I want to release shorter albums on a more regular basis.
There’s a lyric on Body Talk that says “Once you go tech, you ain’t never going back.” What’s made your sound get more electronic over time? Are there any albums, places, experiences that particularly influenced that evolution?
On this album, it’s more electronic and more acoustic—it’s not really an either or for me. I just do whatever’s fun. Electronic music comes naturally to me. I grew up on electronic music—I was a club kid—and it’s always been a part of me.
You also sing that all you need is a “Time Machine.” What era and place would you go to if actually had one?
I’d go back to the early ‘80s. I want to see what hip-hop was like in the beginning. So New York, when hip-hop was seeing the light of day. And I would have liked to see the start of the house scene and all the clubs in Chicago.
What was it like collaborating with Snoop Dogg on a song?
It was fun—a great day. He is very, very tall and super funny. I don’t know him that well, but he’s a really smart dude.
How do you pick what to wear on stage?
It depends on how I feel that day. There’s no formula, really—I just pack up a lot of things and bring them on tour and pick out whatever I want to wear that night. A lot of what I wear is handmade by friends. On stage, I like to wear things that will stay on even if I dance. It can be tough on fabric. So I tend to like stretchy things that that are tight and hold my butt and tits in place. [Laughs.]
I read that you once recorded a song for a Swedish TV show. What American show would you like to write the theme song for?
I don’t watch much TV. But I used to watch “Battlestar Gallactica,” so maybe that.