Songs In The Key Of Sin

5.4.2009

By Noah Michelson

I saw a few of the visualettes and when it comes to the fashion, you turned it out!
[Laughs] Karen Binns, my stylist, does great. She's really talented so it's good to give her a name check. She pulls in stuff from all over the world.

You've been with her from the beginning.
From the beginning. It was about having this opportunity of having so many little movies -- have you ever met Karen?

No.
She's originally from Brooklyn. She lives in Europe now, but she's originally from Brooklyn and she's black with white Jean Harlow hair and she's a wild woman. But I love that she lives and breathes fashion. She knows a lot of the up-and-coming designers as well. We have our relationships with people who've been around a long time like Viktor & Rolf, who are always great, but then you get other people who might not be the Top 20 but who are doing great, great work.

And you're certainly not afraid to just go there. Like that outfit you wore for Comic-Con --
Thank you!

Who was that?
Margiela. Clearly I don't think some publications understood that but that's because when you take something out of context then of course it can get confused. But the people who know what they're doing and know what they're talking about realized, 'Oh my God! That's Margiela!' with that neck and that --

Exactly. And where better to wear it than Comic-Con, where you have people walking around wearing gills or dressed like storm troopers?
Right! There were some people there who were afraid to get involved. Karen and I were talking about it and she said, 'You are your own superhero, sister.' You cannot be worried about how it'll be interpreted because intelligent people who know fashion will know, and those who don't will just show everybody that they don't. It's one of those things that when you're working with those really maverick European designers who have been there for years doing exciting stuff, when you walk outside ' and it's nothing against them but if you're going to walk out of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and get outside of that circle and move into the dangerous designers, then you have to realize that some people don't understand anything other than High Street.

You worked with Christian Lamb, who filmed Madonna's last tour, on the visualettes.
It took us a year and a half to film this stuff and I'd I get a call from him and he'd say, 'I'm going to be filming with Madonna here, can you fly in?' And I'd find myself scheduling my life around Miss Thing -- without her even knowing it, of course. And I'm sitting there and the husband is saying, 'Where are you going?' And I said, 'I don't know! Where's Madonna?' And he said, 'You're not serious!' And I said, 'I am serious!'

[Laughing] Did you hang out with her?
Of course not! No! No! No! Two lionesses, different parts of the Serengeti. And it's fine -- I have great respect for her and her work ethic and what she does -- I do. But I remember this little artist who has sold many records herself coming up to me and she said, 'I went up to Madonna and I told her how much she meant to me.' She's sitting there confessing this to me a couple of years ago and I'm thinking Stupid!

Why would she do that? Why? Why!
Why! And I've become like Mother Confessor and she's sitting there with me in the British Airways first class lounge and I'm thinking how the fuck did I end up with this while she's having a hang-over and she says, 'I just have to tell you'so I say to Madonna, 'You have meant so much to me and to my career''' And I'm just waiting for it and she says, 'Madonna just looks at my shoes and says, 'Those are so last season.''

[Laughs]
And I said, 'But why did you go to her with no self-worth?' Because she's going to hate that! 'If you really have been influenced by her, so-and-so,' I said, 'Then look in the mirror and be the gorgeous women you are! You don't need the approval.' And come on -- Madonna's going to smell the blood.

She's ready to lap it up.
And I said, 'You set yourself up for that one.' And this singer said, 'But I just didn't know why it was necessary for her to respond like that.' And I told her, 'It wasn't necessary but you set yourself up. Take some responsibility!' Tongue up the ass ' it's just so boring.

Finally, I have to ask you this because it's been killing me for the past five years. On the song 'A Sorta Fairytale' [from the album Scarlet's Walk] you sing about 'pulling back the hood.' Are you talking about the hood I think you're talking about?
[Huge smile] Oh, I want you to think whatever you want to think.

[Laughs] That is not an answer!
I want you to take it there! I want you to take it there!

Because then when you sing about 'tasting heaven perfectly'--
And my mom thinks it's talking about a convertible! And you know what? Let's just let her think that.

Abnormally Attracted To Sin is in stores on May 19.

Check back next week to see an exclusive video.

To read our interview with Tori Amos from May 2008, click here.

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