Catching Up With Robyn
By Noah Michelson
OK, I admit it: The last time I interviewed Robyn, back in 2008, I really had no clue what I was doing. I was at the very beginning of what eventually turned into a career as a journalist and she was one of my first interviews (the only other person I'd interviewed was Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu and some blogger had remarked that my intro question made him sad for the future of musical journalism -- ouch), which in and of itself was daunting enough. But the intimidation factor was exponentially amplified by the fact that the Swedish pop star is one of my all-time favorite musicians.
I don't really get starstruck but there are a few people that instantly turn me to lumpy porridge and Robyn is one of them. Luckily my interview with her in 2008 was over the phone so she couldn't see me sweating and convulsing and driving push pins into the fleshier bits of my body to distract myself from how nervous I was. The interview turned out fine (I'm big enough to admit it certainly wasn't incredible) but when it was over I shook a rueful fist at the sky and promised one day I'd find the chance to redeem myself.
That day came last month when Robyn was in town to play two sold out shows at Webster Hall and a tiny gig at Borders Books. As she finished signing autographs, my trusty videographer Keren and I set up our equipment in a tiny, cramped, and -- it must be said -- butt ugly (sorry Borders!) office. After debating about whether to shoot Robyn in front of a collection of commemorative Borders coffee mugs or a poster of two dachshund hounds frolicking on a front porch, we contorted ourselves so that we could shoot her against the (who would have guessed?) beautiful orange-y wood grain door and -- as you can see below -- the rest is history.
Robyn and I chatted about making popping music emotional without sacrificing "its balls," being drawn to artists with queer perspectives, the influence of growing up with parents who were involved in experimental theater, rapping, dance music culture, and life on the road:
The second of Robyn's three Body Talk albums, Body Talk Pt. 2, which features the killer single "Hang With Me," is out on Tuesday, September 7. For more info on Robyn, visit her official website and make sure to catching her performing on the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12.
-- NOAH MICHELSON
Previously > Hummer: Nicki Minaj's "Check It Out"