Björk speaks out about the making of “Dancer in the Dark”

 ??, 1er janvier 2000

“Lars, who is a complete fanatic, wants his role figures to suffer, especially the female ones and I couldn’t really accept that.”

You became a movie star thanks to your acting debut in “Dancer in the Dark”. Has this event changed your life ?

Not really. Playing the part was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. It was a great relief when I received the award afterwards. But I have to point that the acting is in my head—whereasthe music is in my heart. This film was just an adventure for me—a very interesting adventure, though. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as when I received the prize in Cannes. When I make music, I’ve got a certain instinct, which tells me if it’s good or bad. It doesn’t matter if I get bad reviews, because I’m always ten times harder to myself. That’s why I’m not very affected by critics, because I don’t care what other people think. But during the filming I didn’t really know if my acting was good or bad, so I gladly accepted all the flattering talk from the movie-business.

What’s the difference between music and the movie-industry ?

I think everyone occasionally wants to become an actor. In the movie you’re working on a dialogue, which is something you try to avoid as a musician. Most people probably don’t know how introvert most musicians really are. Just look at when you’re recording an album, for example. You are totally isolated. You’re spending hours and hours thinking about which idea to use. During that period, the studio technician may be the only person you’ll meet for months. When the album is finished you’re supposed to do lots of live performances. I still get extremely nervous before every concert, until I hear the first notes of the first song, then I can relax all about it.

There were many rumors about your arguments with Lars von Trier. What were you really arguing about ?

We had different ideas about who Selma really was. I wanted her to be more of an artistic character but Lars, who is a complete fanatic, wants his role figures to suffer, especially the female ones. I couldn’t really accept that. Selma has had a hard life and she is very imaginative due to all the times she has escaped from her problems into a fantasy world. Her despair gives you an emotional kick, she makes you high ! But Lars thought that was impossible. All the time he just wanted more and more dreadful things to happen to her and in the end she is even executed. I thought that was a bit too simple, a bit too easy. But I don’t think the whole film is based only on conflicts, it’s a compromise between our different views. It’s a combination between reality and fantasy just like a musical.

What about Björk ? Isn’t she a fantasy character ?

I think I’m very real. I have a working class background. I’ve worked hard all my life. As a teenager, I your imagination. Personally I think a mixture between 50 percent realism and 50 percent fiction is the best combination. Reality and imagination can blend in completely amazing ways. For example when you sleep and dream about wonderful things, your dreams will give you enough energy to cope during the following day. At day-time you’re face to face with reality again but when you go to bed you go back to your dreams and fantasies. This way, your dreams affect your life and your life affect your dreams. « Selmasongs » is very different from your previous albums. It has got great bombastic arrangements and orchestrations.

Were you able to use your knowledge from classical music when you wrote the music for this album ?

Yes, today I’m very happy I went to music school during ten years as a girl. It wasn’t that pleasant back then, I wanted to make music about the present, I wanted to write about emotions and love. I didn’t want to play music about nostalgia made by dead German composers all the time. I was rebelling against being forced to play Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. Sometimes I thought school was just a waste of time but at last I realized it was important. School is there to teach things that are important to know to be able to deal with everyday things and communicate with other people, things that you might have avoided otherwise. That was exactly what happened to Selma. She was a Czech immigrant during the 30s who acted out her great passion for musicals, by turning sounds from chairs and factory machines into music.

Were you inspired by Einstürzende Neubauten when you wrote the song “Cvalda” ?

Yeh. When I was pregnant I visited a Neubauten concert. The foetus started moving vigorously because of the loud music, so I had to run out of the concert hall. But I still like Neubauten, they’re a great source of inspiration for me.

You’re singing a duet with Thom Yorke from Radiohead in “I’ve seen it all” on the new album. Is he an intense personality as well ?

Yes, but in a very different way. I respect him very much. He’s very shy and uncertain and doesn’t reveal too much of himself. That’s why it’s quite hard for me to explain what he’s like. I can’t do him justice. But he’s a very special person. When he enters a room he affects the whole atmosphere in a very positive way. I also admire his great loyalty towards his band. He sees himself as a member and writer of Radiohead. His work is based on communication and understanding. He’s very down-to-earth and not egocentric at all. We worked together for three or four days, which I’m very grateful about. We worked together with songs, which I had worked on during three years not knowing what to do with them. Thanks to him these songs saw a new light of day and that was a wonderful experience.

There are rumors that you are working on a new album called “Domestika”...

Yes, and the name refers to an island which I use in my work. It’s a mental island. It’s very flexible and portable (laughter). It’s a laptop. Thanks to my laptop, I can write everything by myself and I don’t need help from people I don’t know. Isn’t it amazing ? It’s very alternating and I feel like it’s a great challenge for my individuality.

But there will hardly be any room for collaborations with other artists with this working method, will there ?

I think it’s like this : If you are in complete control about what you do, then you most often have good relationships with other people. You are always best at communicating with other people when you don’t really need them. It’s like that ! On the other hand, when you are sad and alone and really need other people, then they most often run away from you (laughter).

How do you explain your many different affairs ? How did Björk get involved with such eccentric personalities as Tricky, Goldie and Howie B.?

No idea ! There is no universal answer why some relationships work and others don’t. There are plenty of matters when you fall in love, sometimes they’re very simple and sometimes they’re extremely complicated. Every time it’s different matters that make you fall in love and that’s why you always fall in love with different persons. So it isn’t really fair to compare your feelings from one relationship with your feelings from another. That’s what love is all about ; to get lost in your subconscious and reach something greater and bigger, something you don’t know. Falling in love is never about rediscovering things you already knew. It’s about being part of a new adventure.

par Marcel Anders publié dans  ??