Jam ! (Canoe.ca)

The World According To Björk

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Björk Guðmundsdóttir.

They’re both 29, they both take the same shoe size, and they both have an eight-year-old son named Sindri.

They are, of course, two warring sides of the eccentric, multi-million-selling, one-named singer, who’s

given to oblique pronouncements like “I’m married to myself.”

That duality extends to Björk’s music : 1993’s Debut and its stunning follow-up, Post (in stores tomorrow). ”The two records are, in a way, the same album,” the ex-singer for Iceland’s now defunct Sugarcubes is saying recently from her London home. “Debut and Post—they’re like before and after. The first one was done when I was still a virgin, musically ; the second one when I knew a little bit more. But basically they’re about the same idea : A week in the life of a normal person.” Now putting aside, for the moment, the notion that a week in Björk’s life would bear any resemblance to a week in the life of a normal person, that idea still demands a little explanation.

“Okay, you know when you woke up this morning ?,” she asks, innocently enough. “Well, there’s no way you can possibly tell what kind of mood you’re going to be in at, say, five o’clock. Or when you go outside the house and bump into a friend you haven’t met in five years and he used to be always depressed and now he’s just fallen in love and is very, very happy ? Surprises like that.

“You know,” she muses, “everybody pretends they’ve got a straightforward life, but nobody does.”

Björk, to her credit, doesn’t even pretend.

“I’ve been in bands since I was 12, and my rule has always been to not have a clue about what I was doing,” she says. “When you’re a teenager, you do all these things unconsciously and you don’t know why. But being a good grown-up person means you now have to do those things consciously. You really have to be two people.”

And how does one go about doing that ?

“I establish a relationship—I’m actually married to myself,” she says, like someone who’s prone to discovering her thoughts at the exact moment she utters them. “One half of me is the mad one who’s always doing things for no apparent reason. The other half is always trying to rescue her when she gets into those situations.”

And you can control which one you are ?

“Well, no,” she admits, laughing. “But I’m trying.

“My job is actually very, very much about that. I used to be in all these punk bands where you’d just pick up an instrument that was on the floor, and write a song. It was very accidental. But you can only be like that for a certain number of years and then it just goes backwards.

“My job now is to learn to organize an accident. I compared it to putting a trap in the forest and trying to hunt an animal. You can learn through the years where the animal is most likely to run, but you never really know.

“So I set up a ‘trap’—say, three pianos and two bongo drums and a lyric I’ve written earlier—and then I’ve just got to see what happens.

“I’m not pretending I know how to do this, believe me,” she says, laughing at her audaciousness.

“But this is what I aim for.”

John Sakamoto

publié dans Jam ! (Canoe.ca) - 12.06.1995

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