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Interview: Anne Pigalle talks to James DC



The legendary and wonderful musician, artist and punk chanteuse Anne Pigalle is peforming at Folly!, Proud Cabaret, 1 Mark Lane, EC3 on the 19th of November. Performances start at 9pm, with Anne on at 10.30pm. Visit the Proud Cabaret website for more info and discount tickets before 10pm. For more info on Anne Pigalle, check her out at her own website

In anticipation of the gig on the 19th I interviewed the effervescently sexy and charming polymath Anne Pigalle!

James DC: You are adept in various forms of music, performance, poetry and art. Could you describe some of your previous work, for instance your series of polaroid art, or the burlesque and performance club you used to run at the cafe De Paris in London in the 1990's?

Anne: My photographs are sexual ex-votos; they are polaroids of myself in the nude that I transform into objects of desire - if an art buyer acquires one, it improves his sex and love life - it improved mine doing them. I call them amerotic - sex with soul.

As far as the club night at the Cafe de Paris is concerned (it was in the 1980's) it put the Cafe de Paris back on the map - unfortunately after us pr people grabbed it. It was sooo fun and glamorous, everyone came and mixed with people like Andy Warhol, Tina Turner, David Bowie etc. It was really about making glamour more democratic and approachable.



James DC: You were a young punk in Paris in the late 1970's, and you later moved to London and got involved, and worked with, a lot of the legendary punk bands and artists of the time. How do you think this seminal experience fed into, and influenced, your music, art and lifestyle?

Anne: Sorry to say this folks but I only ever do what I like to do - the rest is not worth mentioning. Growing up at the punk time gave me a great sense of integrity, which really saved me in the end. I'm not saying I never made any mistakes, but I always had a base to go back to. My music is not punk but it has a punk ethic behind it - also I like to play around with styles and there are so many different ways to penetrate the machine (ie Troy's horse!).

James DC: In retrospect, how do you feel about your time as one of the premier artists of Trevor Horn’s Zang Tuum Tumb record label in the late 1980's?

Anne: It was an experiment - how me - this girl just out of her punk teen years was going to cope with this big producer guy who had produced bands like Dollar and was one of the most famous producer’s at the time with his big, big sound (size matters occasionally but not necessarily in the obvious way!).


James DC: Who would you say your main artistic and musical influences are, and why?

Anne: Very eclectic really – I like the pioneers - the ones who break the boundaries and make things move along; the ones who make you feel “yes! it's all worth it!”

So it goes from the Velvet Underground to Ennio Morricone to Miles Davis, to rap (some), without forgetting the basics like blues and John Lee Hooker, funk, James Brown, soul; Marvin Gay etc. I like light classical (Satie, Ravel, Berg, Shostakovitch, Mahler…). Women of course have a genre of their own because with women it is not just about music (so of course Edith Piaf, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, La Lupe, Yma Sumac, etc); Tricky, Iggy Pop and Frank Sinatra for the crooners. I’m naming the obvious but they are the obvious because they say something and they mean it.
But my main musical taste has moved these days to the subconscious - as I find the new bands and singers dreary and derivative – I don't listen to as much music as I used to, I prefer to listen to people and the sound of their desires.


James DC: Can you explain why sexuality and eroticism is so prevalent within your work? What is it about human sexuality that compels you to investigate it within the realms of art and music?

Anne: It's a massive subject as it is the main theme of my work! But I would say that the role of women is being redefined at the moment as genders roles are being questioned - as the whole fucking human race is being put to the test right now! The question is: "are we still interested in ourselves enough to keep perpetuating the human race? Or are we just a robotic replica of ourselves on the internet?" Therefore the issue of the definition of men and women needs to be addressed.

James DC: You knew the cult film director Donald Cammel (of 'Performance' and 'Don;t Look Now' fame), who was about to make a film based on an autobiographical script you had written, shortly before he died. You are now resurrecting that screenplay and planning to make the film yourself - could you divulge your aims for this?

Anne: It is a kind of autobiography but it is much more than that. I am using my life (as I used my body in my photographs) as a tool to explore the themes of relationships; sexuality and why we – humanity - have such a destructive streak.

James DC: You have just been to Mexico recently for a series of concerts and events. How did those gigs go, and will you be returning to perform again at some point?

Anne: I loved it! The communication was flowing - I made some nice friends - and of course I will go back. I feel my work is very much understood there, it must be a shared taste for the existential.


James DC: You are performing at Folly at the Proud Gallery in Camden, London, on the 19th of November. Can you tell me what kind of performance this will be, and will it be quite different from your previous concerts?

Anne: Every concert is a bit different. I will be playing guitar for this one along with my songs - for those who know me, they know to expect the unexpected - for those who don't, what can I say...come join the party!

James DC: What are your plans for the next few months and into the new year? What are you working on at the moment?

Anne: I will be developing the film project, as this project includes the new songs. This is a really important time for me, lots of things happening and being sorted out. It took long enough, but like Zorro, it arrives in the end!

James DC: What are your top 5 films and your top 5 albums of all time, and what do you think is your own most accomplished album, and why?

Anne:

Citizen Kane - Orson Welles
Mister Arkadin - Welles
Wild Side - Donald Cammell
Les Enfants Du Paradis - Marcel Carne
Women Of The Night - Kenji Mizoguchi

So many though...

I like all these films because they mix beautiful visuals, political content, a love story and mystery – basically a reflection on the human race.

Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground
Mirrors - Peggy Lee
Performance - Soundtrack
Greatest Hits - Piaf
Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain

….all these are for touching my heart and reaching my senses. And Andre Breton of course; didn't he make a film and an album?!

No most accomplished album or song from me yet. Although an ex-lover said to me once that my best work of art is myself. On the other hand I am a pretty good cook as well!