[2 August 2011]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
To be rather blunt about it, Janine Rostron never goes about things the easy way.
After all, when your big star-making turn just so happens to be helping out with a Knife-penned opera about Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, you know you’re not exactly working with the most mainstream of concepts. Yet Rostron has been at this for some time, having done both music and video work in both England and Berlin, her 2006 album Have It All showcasing her unique style. Yet following her collaboration with the Knife, Rostron—who works under her gender-bending moniker Planningtorock—got signed to the uber-hip DFA Records, and suddenly her new album, the rather-excellent slice of eclectic dance-rock known as W, was subject to a wonderful round of buzz and great reviews from across the board.
Prior to launching what is sure to be another visually-stunning tour, Rostron sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, revealing a “hidden non-talent”, a relation to the hero from Ponyo, and—of course—her words for Angela Merkel . . .
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
2. The fictional character most like you?
3. The greatest album, ever?
I don’t think there’s a greatest album ever, but I do keep going back too Björk’s Homogenic album which I think is a great piece of work.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
5. Your ideal brain food?
I like watching a lot of films and documentaries. I think people are really inspirational, especially self invented characters. There’s a bunch of books that I read and re-read—I hate novels—but I like reading philosophy and history. Conversations with my mother are always very inspiring; she´s one of the most unconventional smart people I know.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Surviving this long—because I’m pretty uncompromising.
7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?
I´ll let my music determine how I’m remembered.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Jennifer Herema (RTX/Royal Trux), Danielle Dax, Etta James, Peaches, PJ Harvey, Cocteau Twins (Elizabeth Fraser), Matt Johnson (The The), Durutti Column, Nina Simone, Missy Elliot, Björk, P.I.L, Liz Phair, Snake Finger.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
10. Your hidden talents . . . ?
All my talents are out. Hidden non-talent: can’t cook.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
All the advise my mother has ever given me I’ve used; she’s the smartest person I know.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Best thing I bought was my Tascam four-track recorder. It was the first piece of gear I bought—I remember reading that Bruce Springsteen made the initial recordings for Nebraska on a Tascam.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
The writer Judith Butler.
15. Time travel: where, when, and why?
Back to when I was 18 in Bolton, North England, so I could spend time with my father again—he passed away when I was just 20.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?
[I] don’t really get stressed—maybe over-worked—and then I like to take time out with my friends.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Angela Merkel, you’re a smart and strategic politician—such a shame you’re a conservative!
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
I’m rehearsing my new live show ready for the W tour.