i-D (September '05)


Mother of the Goth movement, friend of Sid Vicious and now solo artist, Siouxsie Sioux talks sweaty stage costumes, the new underground and having her own dummy at Madame Tussaud's. Just don't call her an icon...

MM: Let s talk about musical inspirations first. Who are you into at the moment?

Siouxsie Sioux: As a band I think probably Radiohead. I just find them complete and they don't seem to play that awards game. Oh and I like Peaches. I love Peaches!

MM: What about people who seem to be directly influenced by you, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?

Actually, everyone was saying- 'have you heard the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, they sound like the Banshees' and I hadn't. So I listened to their music and I thought they didn't really sound like The Banshees. Then I saw a DVD of them live and they came across really well and yeah, there is something there but I wouldn't say they're derivative. Maybe inspired by a lot of other things. I like them. And Missy Elliot, she's nice and mad. She's really in control of so many different things. Very wacky and you don't know what she's gonna do.

MM: We hear you're doing a solo album?


MM: Are you collaborating- with different people?

Well, that's on the cards. We've always had orchestras in the studio, but they've always added to what's already there. So I actually want to take ideas that are just starting, and see what an orchestra or someone else can make with it. To take it somewhere else.

MM. So there's going to be an orchestra involved?

Hopefully, yeah.

MM. Have you got a producer?

No but there are few people in mind. But I'm not gonna talk about it 'cause I know if there's something good I've got an idea for, just mentioning it puts a jinx on it! But I've already got some of the material recorded. It's very primal.

MM: I remember reading an interview with you in The Guardian newspaper about ten years ago. At the time you weren't comfortable with the idea of being an icon. Now that people are striving to be icons with their first album, how do you feel about the concept now?

Anyone that is trying to get into the history books might as well forget it. I've always thought that the people who have nothing but still have a sense of style are far more inventive than people who ,just buy a label or designer and hang- it on themselves. It's DIY.

PJ: Do you think that idea's coming back again?

It's a hope but in the music industry now there's so many stylists, dressers and PRs, you know. And they say 'talk about this, be ambitious, be aggressive'. The musicians become like little models almost, blank pages for somebody else's ideas.People who say what they should be looking like. Have an attitude, you know. you've either got it or you haven't.

MM: Your icon status isn't just about your visual style, however. It's about everything that goes with it - music, attitude, the complete parcel.

People think that style and visuals are really important, and they are, but if you haven't got anything- to back it up with, it's like 'so what?' If' people aren't concentrating- on the music or you're not bringing that attitude to the music then it's all pretty pointless.

MM: So does the whole 'icon' thing still embarrass you?

Well it does because there's been so many twats being given icon status. It's almost like if something- becomes really popular, you're like 'what? Joe Blogg's likes that as well? I must be doing something wrong here!' So I kinda mistrust something if it becomes accepted by the masses.

PJ: Do you still believe in the idea of the underground? How have you managed to retain your underground sensibility?

It's the big question. What's interesting is how the underground Is accepted by the masses and how that conflicts with it.

PJ: Your stage performances are so captivating, stylish and flamboyant. Do you choreograph them?

There has to be a lot of spontaneity. I happen to be quite physical when I'm on stage and I get sucked into the music. It feels all wrong when I'm too aware, like 'I'm on the stage and I'm singing'. It works when I'm not really that aware of where I am. But I always have a strong idea of how I want to present myself anyway. For the recent "Dreamshow' performances Pam (Hogg) helped me to make the costume and give it a Japanese-y feel. I did all these drawings for her and sent them and said 'look, there's not much time. It's got to be washable 'cause I sweat a lot. I've got to be able to stick it in a sink, rinse it and dry it up!' I like the idea of thing's being interchangeable. Things that come off, collars and sleeves, and it's got to be comfortable but still, you know, I can move freely in it. It has to be comfortable but stunning as well. I'm all legs and arms and I'd love to have something which was extended, so that I could whip the other musicians with it! Tentacles wrapped around someone's neck!

MM: What about your old clothes? Like that outfit you wore in the Happy House video?

I've still got them! I haven't thrown them away. Maybe they'll go up for auction for something- like Greenpeace. That's why I need a big- house- somewhere to store all my old stuff! My leather outfit with my thigh boots (from '80-81) actually went to Madame Tussaud's. They made a dummy of me. I had to go and get fitted. They had to measure my eyes and they had these pincers like, and you think you're gonna get your eye pulled out! And actually you see the eyeballs that they're gonna give you. I think early on they had me in my leather. I'll have to ask them, 'Have you still got my outfit? Can I have it back? Whatever happened to that dummy?"

Dreamshow, the DVD of Siouxsie Sioux's recent performance at the London Festival Hall, is out on August 22.

Contributed by Bonnie Bryant.

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