Latest release: Fight Like a Girl (The End)
Everyone’s favourite asylum inmate is about to embark on her third visit to Australia, and she isn’t planning an ordinary show – Emilie Autumn is commanding a revolution. As she busies herself with the creation of new costumes and finishing up with the shoot for her very first music video, Emilie Autumn took some time out to sit down with Loud and discuss how the new show brings the story told in Fight Like a Girl to life, while bridging the gap towards her planned Broadway musical.
Hello, how are you? Happy new year by the way.
Oh, happy New Year to you too! Thanks so much for your time and having a little tea time chat with me today.
Thank you! You’re coming back to Australia for the third time in a few months that must be exciting.
It’s massively exciting. I don’t know, I’m sure that over there you are use to all of us – or not (laughs) – I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to go over there, it really is. The two times we’ve been there before have been magical and we did have the luxury to go and do the things that of course we all wanted to do like see kangaroos and hold koalas (laughs). You know, go the Botanical Gardens and see the bats migrating across the sky, things that are just completely amazing to me. So yes, I am so, so happy to be coming back, especially to a place which I am still overwhelmed that people even know who we are! So, thank you to the internet! I’ve never had a major label doing major publicity over there, and making sure that people knew, so it really is just word of mouth, and just says so much for the really lovely audience that we’ve got over there, it’s a massive privilege.
Your fans are definitely dedicated, which can be seen online, from the way people all over the world are so ready and willing to spread the plague.
It’s so wonderful. Every day I still wonder ‘How the hell did this happen?’ All I can think is that they know that I really mean this. This is very sincere, that this is passionate, that this is true, and ultimately, that all the fun, and the corsets, and everything aside that we really do stand for something that is very positive and very good and I think that’s leaving the audience feeling very strong, very much empowered and good about themselves, and I’m going to think that probably has the most to do with why they want to spread this. It’s spreading the plague, it’s like we always say there is power in numbers and let’s have the numbers be on our side; the more of us the better. It’s not like your classic indie band where you want to – it’s silly but – you want to keep the audience as small as humanly possible, so that you can kind of hold on to them, you don’t want them to get popular because then they won’t be as cool anymore – which is stupid anyway. I mean obviously if the band doesn’t make any money off of this then the band is going to be working at McDonalds. People do just want to hold on to something precious, but I really appreciate that people do spread the word because they realise we’re not going anywhere, this isn’t going to get less cool because more people know about it, it’s going to get better. And you want to bring people in on something that is important to you, so I am constantly grateful and flattered to think ‘ok, I’ve done something right in my life, there has to be something good I have done if people are feeling good about this and wanting to share it.’ (laughs) So really what more could I ever ask for?
That is true. You are lucky to have such passionate fans. Last time you were in Australia you took the photos for the album F.L.A.G. Do you have any extra activities like that planned again this time?
I’m not sure, I think we might have one free ride there, we might have half a day and it’s a place where you don’t really want to just go take a nap and rest before the show. You want to be out doing something and not waste this beautiful place and opportunity, but it’s still a bit in the future, we haven’t figured that out yet. But that [photoshoot] was such a really incredible experience, and I’m so glad you brought that up because it’s really important to me that we took those photos where we did and they represent this country, and that they really were taken in a broken down insane asylum from the 1800s that happened to be in Australia. And that I was allowed to actually go in and take those photos, as it’s a very forbidden place, but the head of the mental institution that is now on those grounds realised what I stood for, that this was done with respect for their facilities and this place, and it wasn’t just a cool broken down place to film. So they came, they watched the shoot, they were very glad about it, they said to spread the word of this place, and come back and do more photos. If at all possible I would love to do that. There is so much of that building and we only show a tiny part of it, but it’s massive and it’s very, very frightening. It was overwhelming emotionally, you feel the ghosts of these girls who had a horrible life in this place and you can still see the panic rooms, and almost underground cells that were the solitary rooms where you would put an inmate if they misbehaved. It’s real and it’s there and you can feel it.
I noticed on Twitter you’ve been working on the Scavenger costume. Are all costumes complete now?
(Laughs) Yeah, that is what I spent the whole day on. I’m supposed to be rehearsing singing, but fuck that, costumes are more important! I’m building this whole new creature… a really, really important song on the album is Scavenger, and so you’ll be the first to know that what this is about is, I’ll be singing that song, and I’m the gravedigger, so I’ll be sitting in the middle of the stage just singing this terrifying song in the voice of this very bad person and Captain Maggots comes out on stilts wearing this crazy fucking costume that represents the evil of the soul of the person who is singing this song about horrible things, so she is the shadow creature that represents the inner darkness of me – well not me personally, the character I’m playing – and she’s got this horrible mask, she’s on stilts and when she bends over she looks like this spider creature. She’s going to be walking around and basically taunting the audience and really terrifying them, because I am making the costume really beautiful but very frightening, (laughs) so she represents the ultimate evil of the people of that time that were doing these things. It is like Jim Henson crazy creatures, and I’m really happy with how it’s all coming out and it’s taking to the next level. You know, we’re not just dressing the girls, we’re creating characters. I think it’s taking that extra step towards the Broadway musical which is the ultimate purpose. This show is definitely bridging the gap between everything we’ve done and the theatrical musical, and this is what happens in between. This may be the last version of this show before it goes into the full on musical. That’s what makes this really, really special.
Alongside making the new costumes, you have been really busy lately with the release of the new album, touring, The Devil’s Carnival, and you were shooting your first ever music video. What was that like?
Oh my God, yes! You’re the first person I’ve talked to this about! We just finished it, and it is a game changer. Darren who directed The Devil’s Carnival, did this for me and we spent two days in a Victorian theatre shooting this, we created this underground asylum with the cells and everything. It is a movie. It is a complete movie. And I can’t even handle what happened. We had a crew of 30 people and a cast of 35 people and this thing just got crazy, so when this hits, I can’t even imagine what people are going to do.
Is there a release date yet?
It will probably be online first and then we will have it get televised in the way that indie videos can. And then actually put it on a DVD and get it out to people. There is also a two-hour documentary of the whole process on how these things are done, and our stunts, and everything (laughs), so there is a lot to share.
This time while you’re here the Bloody Crumpets will be different as there is no Aprella and Contessa. Are there any cheeky surprises on new Crumpets who will be joining you in Australia?
I wish I could be like, ‘YES! We have this crazy girl who is going to jump out of my hat!’ But no, actually it is just going to be myself, Veronica and Captain Maggots. And the other two are doing amazing projects of their own and I always, always want to support when Crumpets go and do these things that are about their world first. So that’s a really happy, good thing when they do that. But I think with what we’ve been able to create, nobody is going to miss anything because we are playing so many characters each. Everything is different and we really are making the most of everything we have. And what myself, and two brilliant, brilliant performers can do, it will end up feeling like there are 60 performers on stage, it’s kind of ridiculous.
In our last interview you told me that this would be no ordinary tour, it would be a revolution. What goes through your mind when you are on stage commanding this revolution?
A lot! To begin with, there is this thought of ‘how the hell did this happen?’ And then just honestly, I think it would be the first time in my life that I felt absolute pride, not only in myself but along with my girls and the audience. This is not simple music, it’s not shit for babies, and they get this so completely, and they go on this journey with me and I feel like…absolutely…I talk a lot, but I am kind of speechless about that. It is so overwhelming, just feeling like I’m on an equal level with the plague rats, with the audience, and by the end of the show when we’re doing “One Foot in Front of the Other”, and we’re all fighting together, and marching together – because they have to march, that’s the rule – and we’re marching at the same time and everyone is singing this material that is the ultimate story, ultimate contribution, it is just the most powerful thing I’ve ever experienced. I think they know and that’s why we’re all crying by the end of it! (laughs) There is a lot of tears in the show. Sounds amazing! Looks like we’ve run out of time. Thank you for your time, and see you in March.
Thank you so, so much, I hope to see you there!
Emilie Autumn tour dates:
28/3 The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
29/3 Esplanade, Melbourne VIC
30/3 Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW