Natasha Khan, better known by her stage name Bat For Lashes, hails from a small town in the English countryside. You'd never know it, however, by listening to her sexy-sad music or spying the highly controversial cover of her third and most recent album, The Haunted Man, which includes a nude of her with a naked man draped across her shoulders.
The latest LP is deconstructed with progressive tribal percussion connected by multi-BRIT Award nominee's ghostly vocals. It is the most mature release yet by this former nursery school teacher, but it retains all the Chagall-esque dreamscapes she's been lauded for from the beginning of her musical career.
The songs "Laura" and "Marilyn" join other metaphoric personas, like "Pricilla" and "Daniel" that have appeared on her previous work. Her latest single, "All Your Gold" is a perfect expression of Khan's steady musical hand. Out caught up with Bat For Lashes as she performed across the UK in preparation for her European tour.
Out: What were you like as a kid?
Natasha Khan: I think I was quite strong-willed and precocious. I loved nature. I was kinda nerdy.
The extremes of love in your music begs the question, do you see love as bipolar?
I guess the second album was a bit of "bipolar-y" extremes. I feel that there was a conscious effort to explore the color pallet of extremes on this album. On this album there may be extremes, but there are a lot of other layers. Equal parts strong and vulnerable, sad and happy.
The lyrics on The Haunted Man reference many external and internal obstacles between people and love. Which do you see as the hardest to overcome?
I think internal obstacles are the biggest problem out there. I think what you see on the inside reflects in a mirror. My experience is generally denoted by how blocked I am. I think a lot of us put up a barriers to love because we see achieving happiness as terrifying.
What drives a shy girl like you to create your music?
I think it's a quest to keep evolving; keep stripping back and peeling away the layers to reveal the truth. If I'm not constantly pushing forward I feel like I might be overwhelmed by life.
What are you most excited about right at this moment?
I'm excited about touring. It's a very disciplined parallel universe. I'm just getting into the performance aspects of the album. I feel like a proud mom looking at my children.
Why do you think your gay fans love you so much?
I love my gay fans. Of course I do. I love them! My gay fans "get it." To me, it's not as much a sexuality thing. Any people that are in a margin or feel that sense of being slightly outside the norm; I resonate with that I think it's about people who don't walk the normal line.
If you met the precocious kid-version of yourself today, what would you say to her?
I would give her a big hug. I'd say, "Be brave, keep pushing forward. And don't listen to the negative things people say." I think it gets you everywhere to listen to your heart.
The Haunted Man is currently available on iTunes. Bat For Lashes US Tour is slated for sometime mid-2013.