Björk has revealed that she fled Britain to record her new album in Spain after a crazed fan posted her an acid bomb. She then produced and mixed the new LP, ‘Homogenic’, herself, with help from Howie B, the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, LFO’s Mark Bell and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. It is due for release through One Little Indian on September 15. The revelations came at a press conference last week in an old brewery in London’s East End. Last September, an obsessed American fan videotaped himself posting Björk an acid bomb from Miami before blowing his brains out (NME News, September 28, 1996).
“Two days before (going to Spain), someone tried to bomb me,” recalled Björk, “so I went to Spain, and it gave me the best release therapy, I think.” She said she was still haunted by the episode. “You just dream about it. (The bombing) had a really extreme and deep effect on me. You’re doing a job that could get your kid killed, and that’s some strange thing to get your head around. It’s like, should I just get another job ? But you get your head around it and it’s good because you tended to take things for granted before.” Once she got to Spain, she was captivated by its nature and beauty, and decided to stay and escape the urban lifestyle of London. “I went to visit the drummer who toured with me for the last two years, Trevor Moray. He’s got a studio there and I just went to him for two days to record this flamenco guitar. I ended up staying there for half a year.
“I really, really needed nature at that point. I was brought up in hardcore nature ‘til I was 27 then I got four years of all this urban-ness. It was gorgeous just to walk. I really needed to just go and confront all the things I’d done for four years.” As a result of her experiences, she said the album’s theme was about courage and learning, as well as growing. Part of that process led her to undertake much of the production of the album herself. She continued : “I guess I kind of produced it and Mark Bell from LFO was my safety net. It was just a question of how many times I fell. You know, my first album came out when I was 11 and I just sang. But now, one album after the other, I’ve just done a little bit more. It’s a question of growing as you get older. Anything else would be cowardice.”
Björk claimed she decided on the title ‘Homogenic’ before she discovered the word did not exist. She explained : “What it meant to me was that it’s like one flavour. All the other albums I’ve done, especially ‘Post’ and ‘Debut’, were kind of like collections of songs I’d written over a long period of time. But this album, it’s just what I am now, today, which is kind of scary because you’ve got nothing to hide behind, not even the past. This is more spontaneous, putting you straight on fire, you know ?” Björk continued : “I really wanted ‘Homogenic’ to be just one flavour from beginning to end, and that one flavour should be massive beats, really filthy, then strings and the voice in the middle and that would be it, no basslines, no nothing, no between things, that would be it. Very raw, stark, you know ?
“And what I was going to do first, was to have the strings completely on the left... and the beats completely on the right and the voice in the middle. So (by using the stereo’s balance control) you could decide which version you wanted... whether you wanted the chamber music version or the ambient or domestic versions or the more club version. But after I did the album, of course, I broke all the precepts. I started indulging, like one song has got no strings just a lot of brass, even some songs at the end have got basslines.” Ever impulsive, Björk also explained how she had a change of heart after completing all the tracks for the album, going back on original plans not to have remixes of any tracks.
“The minute I finished it... well, I’m completely obsessed for about a year now about Alec Empire (who worked on Nicolette’s debut LP last year) and I think, ‘What happens if just one song goes to him ?’” she said. She has also approached The Brodsky Quartet, who worked last year with Elvis Costello, to do work on album track remixes. “They’ve done their version of four songs which is completely different and I’ve asked Alec Empire to do beats to that. “And that record would just be like an EP with four songs. On the right will be Alec Empire’s beat and on the left will be The Brodsky Quartet and I’ll be in the middle.”
She concluded : “I think it’s braver, this album, I think it’s darker, but I also think it’s simpler. I’ve got no patience any more. I just try and do my best really. It scares me shitless though, it really does.” After the press conference, Björk played a short set of new material backed by a string section, as well as versions of older songs such as ‘Venus As A Boy’ and ‘Isobel’.