Need To Know: Class Actress
By Noah Michelson
Some people I interview tell me they've always wanted to be famous. Were music and fame something you always chased or did you stumble into it?
The honest answer or the humble answer? No, I think being an artist was always something I wanted to do, and I knew I wanted to communicate to a lot off people at one time. I felt like one on one was never enough. I loved books, I loved records, I loved movies, and I loved the way these art forms conveyed really deep, personal emotions to tons of people at one time. So for me it was more of like, 'How can I be an artist?' You look at these paintings growing up, and you go to Europe and you're just like, 'Wow! This really makes me feel something.' I just wanted to communicate passion to as many people as I could because I felt so alone that I wanted to share passion and I just didn't think it would be enough to do it with one person because how can you find one person to share all that passion with? It makes you feel so much more sustainable if you can share it with everyone.
While reading press about you I noticed you're often compared to a lot of other famous front women like Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. When you get compared to other musicians do you find it frustrating or flattering or a little of both?
I think it's great. I mean, if they're comparing me to someone like Karen O I think that's great. These woman are sexsessful -- [laughs] -- successful because of their huge ambition and their commitment to being themselves. And back to the famous question: My sister would argue with me on that. She says that when I was growing up she would ask me, 'What do you want to be?' and I'd reply, 'Famous.' But you know, that's the older sister's idea of being famous. I don't remember saying that but maybe I did and I kind of sense that with a lot of these other women, there's an exhibitionist quality, but it's more of just like an excess energy that you can't contain and you're just thinking How do I get it out? If I don't get it out publicly then I'm just going to cause havoc and drama in everyone's life around me which doesn't make as much money. [Laughs.]
Tell me about the upcoming LP. Is the EP a preview or is the LP going to evolve from the EP?
The EP is a preview and the full-length is even more dance-y and poppy. I mean there's still the heart-wrenchers in there, but it's more fluid -- it's definitely fluid. It's going to be even better than the EP.
Is your image an intrinsic part of Class Actress or is it more of an afterthought?
I think the image came before the band. And calling myself or this project Class Actress was just a way to explore myself even further. I was always kind of overdressed and over made-up and it just didn't suit me to be playing under my own name but to be that theatrical all the time and wear the clothes I wanted to wear. Once I called it Class Actress, I was like, 'Yes, now I can go much, much further with this.' So I always trying to do Dynasty hair and wear the crazy clothes and do whatever I wanted to do. It just completely freed up my sexuality and my freedom and my artistry.
In terms of fashion, who are you feeling right now?
I love all the Yigal stuff from this last show -- it's really, really, really great. I love to just match some really new piece with all the vintage stuff I have. Obviously I've been wearing tons of like high-waisted pants and crop-tops and leather and fur, and men's shirts, like the kind of thing I'm wearing now. Lots of beads, I've been doing some beaded stuff -- just anything. You wake up one day and you're just like 'What do I feel like?' You feel like Joan Collins if she got kicked out of the house and lives on the sidewalk. You know, if she had to take her furs and her pearls and like figure it out with Kurt Cobain. I'm always thinking How do we put this together and make it work?
Class Actress's EP Journal of Ardency is now available. For more info on the band, including tour dates, visit their MySpace page.