Die neue Platte von Kevin Blechdom a.k.a. Kristin Erickson ist mit gängigen Floskeln nicht zu beschreiben. Ein wahnwitziger Ritt durch 19 Tracks und ebenso viele Stile, autobiographisches Musical, absurdes Ego-Theater, alles in einem und doch absolut unique. Geschichten über Liebe, Qual, Schmerz; verpackt in fröhliche Rummelplatzmelodien; Raserei im Kinderzimmer, Liebesbriefe aus dem und ins Irrenhaus; 40 Minuten aus dem seltsamen Leben der Kevin Blechdom – und doch so nahe und nachvollziehbar.
Selbst das Cover hat seine eigene spezielle Geschichte: das Original-Covermotiv zeigt die nackte Künstlerin, die sich mit einem angedeuteten Lächeln eine Handvoll blutiger Eingeweide vor die Brust hält. Das ist offenbar keiner größeren Öffentlichkeit zumutbar, deswegen erscheint dieses Motiv in einem "erträglicheren" Schuber (siehe Abbildung). Dieses Procedere paßt aber wie die Faust in den Magen/aufs Auge zu den Songs auf der Platte: würde man den Texten lauschen ohne die zum Teil zuckersüße Tonverpackung, könnte man sie auch nicht aushalten.
Dennoch ist Eat My Heart Out bizarrerweise zugänglicher als Bitches Without Britches, Kevins erste Veröffentlichung. Der erste Eindruck "wie soll ich diese Platte aushalten" wandelt sich schnell in "wie konnte ich es ohne diese Platte aushalten?". Die vielen Fragen, die sich beim Hören stellen, verteilen sich auf drei Leute:Tina Manske, Thomas Vorwerk und Christina Mohr. Aber eine/r allein kann diese Platte kaum bewältigen, hier unser Gemeinschaftsinterview:
I feel you've come a long way with your singing since your last album. Have you taken any lessons or anything?
No lessons exactly, but I've been touring a lot for the last two years and I got more experience and confidence now about really singing out and I want to be heard. I paid a lot of attention to other performers who were really using their voices and tried to grow.
When the beats in your songs are ever accelerating, you sometimes sound as if you're haunted. Are you?
Depends on what you mean by haunted. I suppose a lot of times I work on music when I'm in a particular mental state and I use the music to break through the state, maybe what you hear is more that while the music is made I'm trying to change the way I am, to get through something …Sometimes though, I do feel that it's a ceremonial task to make music and that there is magic in making something that didnt exist before, and that it allows you to really find out what's going on … Like filtering confusing situations with music, so that you can see them more clearly by the end.
"Suspended In Love" made me think of the exploding bird in the movie "Shrek". But somehow I guess there's no irony behind it. Even if your songs tend to sound playful, you're taking it very serious, aren't you?
Oh, I didnt see this movie, so i dont know this exploding bird … Yes, I'm very serious about this record … but in the way that "Suspended in Love" get's so high in the middle, it must seem playful because I think it was an extreme musical gesture for a serious song … but the way that it goes so high for me represents how hard I want to try to make things work, in relation to what the song is about: Love!
"Eat My Heart Out" deals with the pain of love rather than building castles in the air and seems much more "serene" than "Bitches Without Britches". Would you agree?
I have trouble comparing the work now, because I'm still too involved with the new material. The main difference for me is that "Eat My Heart Out" is mostly songs I wrote over the last year and a half, so it's very connected to a certain time in my life, while "Bitches Without Britches" was my first solo album, it was songs that I had written so far in my life, so it was more of a compilation of songs from many different time periods and situations, some of them from when I was still pretty young, versus a sustinct group of songs from a shorter period of time as an older person. So maybe the content is more "adult" MAYBE! Less of a childhood fantasy I mean …
In "Get On Your Knees" one line says: "I'm Kevin Blechdom and you broke my heart!" Does that mean all the songs are autobiographic?
Yes. But my real name is not Kevin Blechdom, so maybe it's an autobiography of part of me. Or an autobiography of the "performer" me.
What are the things Kevin Blechdom can talk about but Kristin Erickson cannot?
Ha Ha! That's the perfect NEXT question …. Well, Kevin Blechdom is public. Kristin Erickson is private. So I guess Kevin Blechdom's communication is about having an audience listening and trying to communicate as a performer to an audience. As Kristin Erickson goes through life, Kevin Blechdom tries to understand Kristin's feelings by singing them to people. It's a type of diary/mirror/filter process with the hope of understanding what happens and to learn from it …
Do you still hope that there is love without pain or is it all about torture chambers? Is love more painful for a girl?
Oh yes!! For sure there is hope. The next record is about trust. I wouldn't say love is harder for a girl. I might say love is harder for over-sensitive people. But there's so many different people with different ways of approaching love, and everyone must have different sensitivities in different places at different times for different reasons. Hmmmm ….love is still a confusing idea to me …
Another line goes: "You've got yourself, that's what you've got." Is that a kind of maxime for life, that you've only got yourself to depend on?
I don't think you only have yourself to depend on, but I did find that realization a helpful starting point in terms of finding confidence and happiness. That if you can depend on yourself first, then after that it's probably easier to depend on other people, because you have less to lose. I sound like a self-help book. Sheeesh! It's music!!!!!! AAAHHH!!!!
What does the invisible rock stand for?
It's love. It's rock and roll. It's a crystal ball. It's yourself and it's someone or something else inside you and outside you.
On the last album your drawings of penisses and vaginas raised some eyebrows. The cover photography of "Eat My Heart Out" will presumably offend a lot of people, too. Was it your own idea?
Yep. But it looks like I have to put another cover over my new cover now since it was too explicit … I do enjoy offensive things. Moreso, I enjoy finding peoples' boundaries of acceptability and exploring why those boundaries exist where they are -- in terms of vulgar content, but also in the music. Why people have ideas of what "good" music is … and what boundaries separate the "good" music from the "bad" music … I love trying to make "good" music using elements people usually associate with "bad" music.
You also came up with the artwork in the "Bitches Without Britches"-booklet. Are you somehow interested in comics, maybe even in particular artists, for example Ellen Forney or Julie Doucet?
Yeah, I like Julie Doucet's drawings, I don't know Ellen Forney's work, but I'll look for it. I've always been a big Robert Crumb fan. I love drawing too, it just relaxes me, so I do it no matter what, so I might as well show it to people. There's a poster in the new record with pictures for all the lyrics for the new songs as well. I wanted to make a 100 page booklet and present the record as a "musical" comic book, so you can listen to the record and after every line turn the page and see a new picture … but it wasn't a practical product, so now all the pictures are really small and on one piece of paper. But you can still read along if you want.
And do you plan to continue your "graphic career" or was that just a side-project not taken seriously?
I like music and performing the best … but I'll keep drawing too. It's all connected, I just like expressing things, however it comes out it comes out.
You're one of the few female performers who in their lyrics openly talk about sex and painful emotional dependencies. What do you think is the reason most women avoid these subjects?
Maybe it's embarassing, or just "not" proper. I don't know. Maybe it's a little calculated, like if I listen to the radio and ask myself what isn't in this music, then I'll try and put what isn't usually in music, and it's even better if it's something I care about and feel connected to that isn't in the music. If all the pop singers were singing about these topics I would probably choose to explore something else. There are definitely women that explore these topics in their music too, it's not unchartered water … but I think there's a general fear of exposing too much or of appearing weak, because then the audience can criticize you, and their criticism will be of "you" the person, not the act. For instance lots of music performers get on stage and try to "look" cool, to seem like they're really cool people that are having so much fun with their friends. And I just don't feel that way. I don't feel cool on stage, I feel really akward and freakish. So I'd rather be honest to that, and see what happens.
Would you say that the new album has a concept behind it?
I wanted to make a record about paradox and love. And I wanted to learn about myself and feel better afterwards.
Are there any artists who you adore especially and who you want to pay tribute to with your music?
Too many too many too many. I was really inspired by female bluegrass music with this record and this type of female musical information network. If you've heard this music this might make sense, but I guess what I like about it is the personal education that a lot of female bluegrass artists provide in their songs. For instance one form is that they tell a story about their life, usually about tragic love and then they give advice about it afterwards … One song in particular tells a story of a husband who was never around and then the last line of the song is "think of this girl before you change your name." A lot of the songs are from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's and we live in a different world now, in a way … but still something about this really resonated in me, and I wanted to make my own version of it. In the end trying to create songs that you could compare yourself to, and then find out the outcome in the song, and maybe that can be helpful somehow. Or at least provide some comfort in the fact that lots of people go through difficult things and we're not alone and maybe knowing that can lighten the burden.
Will you go on tour this year and if yes, will it be a solo project or are you gonna take some other musicians on stage?
Yes. And I hope to play as much as I can with other artists. Some friends like Planningtorock, Heidi Mortenson, Lucile Desamory, Mocky, Ad Hawk, Jamie Lidell, and maybe get on stage with some old friends from back home along the way as well! The Future-flexi-band!