Passing notes with Bjork : A Study of Human Behaviour

i-D Magazine, septembre 1996

What happened to your voice ? I’ve really pushed it, so I have to nurse it back to happiness by not talking between shows for a while. I had a certain collapse two weeks ago. It was basically physical exhaustion from working like a lunatic ever since Debut started (about three years). And, unfortunately there was a limit to what my body could do. I’m also in the process of learning a new way of singing too, which adds pressure, but it’s not serious.

Post seems to be more eclectic in sound than your Debut album. Was this variety of genres intentional ?

Yes, I’m very aware of that. I’ve got very many sides to me. To be honest, I think everyone has got a thousand sides to them. It’s called being human. Nature gave us that kinda complexity. Most people pretend they’re only one thing—like : “cool” or “intelligent” or “stupid” or “caring”. But I think everyone are all of these things, including me.

Is there a theme that links the tracks on Post ?

It seems more aggressive and dark than Debut. The ideas that spin into all the songs are independence, strength and instinct, but I think that there’s a little more fear on this album. It’s more honest and less naive about where I am in the present tense. Post explores happy stuff too, but the dreams are mixed with reality.

Are you happier working as a solo artist ?

I’m solo, but not. Basically, my work is a collection of duets—from photographers to engineers to video directors to musicians. I’m like a mother or an umbrella of all these events.

What is different about your life now, compared to five years ago ?

I like myself more.

You often describe yourself as having been shy as a teenager. How would you describe yourself today ?

I’m still very introverted, but I’ve learned to communicate in a western civilized manner. It’s very complex, restrained and a bit like a mathematics test, but it’s o.k. I have a top relationship with myself, though, and I am a full-time optimist.

What is the most dangerous and exciting thing you’ve ever done ?

Work too much.

Name your worst habit.

My worst and best habit is how easily I get bored.

How do you avoid boredom ?

I do everything I can. I love to read, but I only read magazines lately (on tour) and view films too. I’m obsessed with traveling and trying new foods from all over the globe. Learning about religions and also how languages function is very interesting to me. I play with words all the time, which I think is like colour to art. I try to keep my brain’s door open to new things always. And, like a computer, I throw away information that I don’t need anymore.

Is there one religion that you relate to most ?

No. I take little pieces from many different faiths and make up my own ideas. A lot of different religions say the same thing in their centre, but the rituals are different. The ones that say to trust in yourself first I understand, but I’m not a religious person.

How do you think the North American press perceives you ?

Usually out of laziness and convenience e they say that I’m weird and strange, but I think they decide that before they meet me. It pisses me off, but it’s amusing to me also. I’m not really as exciting as that. Nobody can know who you are in the time of a half hour, anyway. I don’t worry so much about my press reputation, though, because I can’t control it and my music is the muscle that talks for me.

Are you a control freak ?

With myself—yes, very much. But I don’t think it’s bad. I have to be forceful in a lot of things to grab the potential, but I am hardest on myself. I only want to direct my own life.

Who do you go to for advice ?

I’ve got lots of good friends I go to for advice. But these days I’m learning that I’ve got the answers to most of my questions.

How do you know when you’re in love ?

Hard to ignore it. Ain’t it !?

List your priorities in order of importance.

IMPOSSIBLE ! It changes everyday and I’m terrified of having a recipe for life. It scares the shit out of me. I wonder about the future, but I never plan on it. The only project I really have to do that for is my best one : Sindri, my son. With kids, you can’t always be spontaneous, but I think that mostly my adventures are good for him too.

Did you plan on having a child so young ?

No, but I’m glad that I did it then, because life was less complicated at that point. I’m pro-choice, but for me it felt right, even though it was a surprise. Unlike what tons of people say, being a single-mother is great. I owe him for all the joy he gives me. He has a lot of love in his life and that multiplies in mine too. We’re like friends too, not just connected by the blood. I love his spirit. Describe the significance of your family in your life. Enormous. I am a reflection of them and I want to make them proud.

In your opinion, what are the fundamental differences between North American and Icelandic culture ?

Black and white. It’s too different to describe in a few words, but the belief systems and the governments are the most obvious things that are opposite. Also, women have a more equal part in society there. Actually, they might have more than the men.

What do you like about yourself the most ?

I’m not a quitter.

Which qualities do you look for in a friend ?

Honesty and independence. Plus, there has to be a fire inside, like a purpose. I respect people who are making their own path, especially if it’s a hard one to choose.

What is your favourite way to spend a free day ?

With people I love, by the ocean.

You seem very practical and goal-oriented, but also quite emotional ? How would you describe yourself ?

What you say is true, but it’s normal in my eye to be two opposite things at the same time. To me that is balance, but I am definitely an extremist with my emotionalness. l like intensity, but I can be very purposeful too and I see strong feelings as empowering sometimes to my creativity. It depends on what day you ask me. I should probably have been a Gemini, two people in one.

What is your astrological sign ? Do you believe it says anything about you ?

I’m a Scorpio, but that’s probably irrelevant. I was brought up with an overdose of occult stuff, so I’m recovering. I think some things in it are not stupid, but most of it’s crap and a bad excuse to not take part in life.

What are your feelings about (romantic) commitment ?

I’m definitely over-romantic. I think marriage is realistic, but no two people need the same kinda things. It’s hard, but I believe in it. For a long time my fantasy was to be happy alone, but now I’m pondering partnership as a new idea that I might like.

What was the first record you ever bought ?

I think it was Sparks (a new wave). There were a lot of records playing loud in my house 24 hours, when I was growing up. Hippie stuff like Jimi, Janis, Frank Zappa and so on. So, when I was seven I rebelled against that. I was close to puking of hippie-dom and brought home a Sparks record to freak everyone out.

Describe the positive and negative aspects of your job.

I don’t think it’s that different from lots of jobs—similar pros and cons. Well, there’s a lot of responsibility. Then again, I want to be the one who’s responsible and who carries the burden, so that’s a choice.

What would you be doing, if you weren’t a singer/song writer ?

900 options. I love working, especially at things I’ve never done. Like, I think book-selling or running a diving school or something would be cool. Trying new things runs in the family.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be ?

I’m old enough to be quite happy with what I was given.

What do you think your next adventure might be ?

I’m teasing myself about doing an album completely independently, just in a room alone. It’s not that I don’t love the process of working with exceptional, artistic people, but I’d like to try something where I do everything from A to Z. It would be my most naked creative project and the most challenging. But I like stuff that’s hard and truthful, so to me the idea is very exciting. I’m like a little child who wants to do everything myself, even if I screw it up.

Why do you think you’re so successful ?

I haven’t got a clue, honest.

par Nathalie-Roze Fischer publié dans i-D Magazine