Leader of the Pack


By Jason Lamphier

This surprises me. I think of other campy, flamboyant artists like Mika, Scissor Scissors, and Robbie Williams, and they seem to be more successful in Europe.

I know, but that's because their music is entertainment. My music isn't really entertainment. Lyrically, it's very hard and extremely honest and emotional. It's not about partying or superficiality. It has a colorful exterior, but the interior hits me very hard. In England and Europe, I'm still quite hard to swallow. When I think about the bands from Europe that have been held close to Americans' hearts, it's been the Cure, the Smiths, David Bowie. I think my music belongs more to that than anything like Scissor Sisters or Mika, just because I may have had a boyfriend or I may dress up in bright colors. It doesn't mean I have to be a cabaret act.

So you're not going for a cabaret feel?

No, my visuals are a way to communicate me as a person and what I'm trying to inspire in people. I'm trying to liberate people a bit, but it's not the focus of my work. I think David Bowie is a lot more understood over here than he is in England, where everyone still thinks he's a guy with two different-colored eyes who sang a song about space travel in the '70s. There seems to be this invisible thing in America. There's a great artistic, intelligent, creative community. I tend to discover that a lot more than the right-wing, conservative groups. I think there's a misconception about America. It's like us thinking about Israel's bad politics and not its punk-rock and electronica scenes.

The Magic Position is about the excitement of love.

It's based on my relationship with an industrial goth-obsessed visual artist, Ingrid Z. We shared the same vision, created it in everyday lives, and lived in bright colors. She's a big Cure fan. I was definitely somebody who was happiest sitting behind my piano, writing songs about werewolves and midnight and the wind and the storms. And suddenly, it was like two blacknesses collided to make a spectrum. It was suddenly bright colors everywhere. At the end of the relationship, I've turned that whole period into inspiration for this album, and she turned their old house into a gallery filled with her art. We both came out from the other side with this great jewel we want to share with the world.

I read your blog and found your scathing response to an interview you did with Attitude. You claimed the story was total fictionalization. What happened?

Before I was doing videos, journalists would just get my record, listen, call me up on the phone, and go 'What's going on?' By the second album, there was this enigma around who I was as a person. Most people thought I lived in a cave, that I didn't engage with anything in the world. If people saw me out at a club, they'd be like 'Is that Patrick Wolf? Why is he drunk?' It made it look I was hiding something, so I wanted to put everything out there with the third record. I did this interview with Attitude, but it made it look like I was doing the traditional coming-out thing, which is ridiculous. I've been confident since I grew my first hair when I was 11 or 12 about exactly who I fancied. I like to celebrate that confidence in people. This word ambiguous always came up. I'm not being ambiguous about anything. Just ask me some questions, and we can talk about everything. There's not private and personal with me. What you see is what you get, and the answer I give is the truth.