Q & A With Björk

San Francisco Chronicle, 23 juillet 1995

It seems as if Björk Guðmundsdóttir, the fairylike singer better known as just plain Björk, is everywhere these days. Formerly of the Sugarcubes, the 29- year-old Icelandic techno-pop diva embarked on a solo career that has resulted in two critically acclaimed albums (1993’s “Debut” and the recently released “Post”), a songwriting contribution to Madonna’s latest album (the title track to “Bedtime Stories”) and a slew of magazine covers. Dressed in a floral-print paper dress that rustled with her every move, the singer recently sat down to chat at Elektra Records’ Beverly Hills office.

Why are you famous ?

I don’t know. I was just introduced to someone from (a) record company and I was telling him how pathetic it is. I’m such a spoiled brat. The majority of the people in pop music are doing it for the attention, but it’s always been the other way around for me. I have to try to avoid attention.

Do you like your voice ?

That’s like asking if I like the way I eat. Singing is just one of my natural functions, like sleeping. If I don’t do it for a week I can’t function.

But the critics go on and on about how great your voice is.

Of course I get flattered, but it depends on who is giving the compliment. The other day I met Chaka Khan and she said I could sing, and I was so shocked. I could not speak. My knees got wobbly.

What do you like best about yourself ?

I think my best and worst thing is the same—I am very easily bored. In a poetic way you could say that I’ve got a thirst for life. Right now has to be great for me. I just won’t take second-class.

How would you describe your new album, “Post” ?

It’s like a better version of “Debut.” After the Sugarcubes I realized slowly that if I didn’t do my own album full of my own songs I was a coward. Once in your life you have to stand up and go on a mission. On this album I produced two songs, and all the others I co-produced. So this album is more me than anything I’ve ever done. It’s like a celebration of all the surprises in the world.

Would you ever wear flannel ?

It would have to have something funny about it. But my boyfriend looks very handsome in it.

You seem like a big kid.

Among my friends I am probably the most grown-uppy one. I’m the one who is always organizing everything. I had a brilliant mother and she always trusted me 100 percent. So I think I am both my mum and my daughter. Both exist in balance.

There’s something very primal about your performances. You’re like an animal.

Is that a compliment ?

Yes. But what kind of animal do you fancy yourself to be ?

I’ve always been obsessed with polar bears.

What do you find sexy ?


Do you keep in touch with the Sugarcubes ?

Yes. They are my best mates. We’ve been together since we were 14, and we’ve gone through so much together, like starting our own company and all those things.

Do any of them seem resentful of your success ?

Not at all. We all knew the Sugarcubes was a temporary thing. It was like Spinal Tap, really. It was a joke.

In interviews you’ve spoken reverently of nature, yet your solo records are largely automated. Isn’t that hypocritical ?

I like extremes. I think my music is honest. Rock and roll in the beginning was the noise of cars, with the guitar solos all going “vrooom.” Now all we have are these silent Japanese cars. But if you were to walk down the street with your eyes closed you’d hear the wind, some human voices, car alarms, screeching tires. And that’s why I use those machines, because those noises are all around us.

What makes you cry ?

Sympathy. It’s like when you see a person on the TV or in the movies, and you sympathize with them. The two become one.

What is totally overrated ?


Who can you trust ?

I’ve got several very good friends that I’ve known 15 to 20 years, and I come from a close- knit family. I work with very good people as well. So I’m very fortunate.

What’s the meaning of life ?

To enjoy it. I don’t mean that in a shallow way. It takes a lot of courage. I think depressed people are cowards. I was brought up to believe that. I mean, it’s all right to be depressed and have to work your way through a problem. But it takes the most courage to be happy.

What do you think of Madonna’s version of “Bedtime Stories” ?

I was honored. I think it’s brilliant. I wrote the lyric and melody with her in mind. I find it really exciting working with people one-on-one like that.

par Bruce Britt publié dans San Francisco Chronicle