Wednesday, October 28, 2009

International pop star Ladyhawke talks about her Asperger's, debut album, ARIA awards

A Time Out Sydney interview by Dan Rookwood:
Having toured her debut album non-stop around the world for the last year, Ladyhawke (pictured) – aka Pip Brown – returns “home” to Sydney next month to play at The Enmore and at the ARIA Awards where she is expected to clean up. Brown spells out what it’s like to be Ladyhawke.

L is for London
That’s in the past now, thank God. I found London really hard. I never settled down and didn’t like it. I didn’t have any friends in the UK because I haven’t really been based in any one place so there was no time to make any. And when I did get a day off, the only thing I’d ever want to do is be alone playing video games and listening to music. I wouldn’t leave the house.

A is for Asperger’s
I have this thing called Asperger's syndrome. When I found out, it explained my whole childhood. I told my mum and she said: ‘That's why you used to sit on the floor doing puzzles for hours.’ It was the reason I was so solitary. I'd say completely inappropriate things. The other kids thought I was a weirdo.

D is for Dress sense
I have this thing where I refuse to wear anything made for a female because I don't like conforming to gender stereotypes. It's so predictable to get girly-cut jeans and blouses. I wear men's clothes: jackets, shirts and shoes. It doesn't take away from my femininity. I have Dr Martens in every colour and length. I've got really big feet so they fit into men's shoes.

Y is for Youth
I had a ‘modern’ upbringing, growing up in Wellington. My parents split up when I was 12 years old. My stepfather, who got together with my mum when I was 14, is a jazz musician; my Mum is also a singer and played the guitar and piano. Every one of my school reports said, 'Philippa is a lovely child but she stares out the window a bit much.'

H is for Health
I’m allergic to everything. I was lactose intolerant from the minute I was born; I couldn't be breast-fed. On planes, if I order a non-dairy meal, they always give you a vegan eggplant thing – and I'm allergic to aubergine. When I was 10, I got this weird random disease [erysipeloid] that no-one had seen in New Zealand for 20 years. It's common in seagulls, but is rarely transmitted to humans. Somewhere in New Zealand there's a photo of my face in a medical journal. It crept up to my brain. They caught it hours before I was about to slip into a coma. So they put me on penicillin and I had an allergic reaction to that! I nearly died.

A is for ARIA Awards
It really surprised me when I heard [about the five ARIA nominations]; I was just honoured to be nominated. I don’t know if I’ll get any awards. I was completely shocked when I won the New Zealand awards. [She won six New Zealand Music Awards last month.] I was speechless the entire time.

W is for Worry
I wish I didn't have such bad anxiety and wasn't so shy. I've always been a nervous person, very awkward. I can't walk without looking awkward – it's my middle name. I find live performances hard. I can't look anyone in the eye. I'm so conscious of everyone staring at me. I start to think I'm terrible or I'm singing out of tune. I sometimes get sickly-nervous before I play. I throw up and start shaking and sweating. The second I get on stage it disappears and the adrenaline kicks in. But I try not to look at anyone in the audience or it will freak me out.

K is for Kings Cross
I’ve got a flat in Sydney that I keep because Sydney is my favourite place. Kings Cross is where I feel most at home. I live on the cusp of Kings Cross in Elizabeth Bay. I’m having a short break in New Zealand with my family at the moment but then I’m going to work on my second album. I’m planning on it being a bit different. I want to get most of it done over the summer. That’s me being really optimistic though.

E is for eBay
I get lots of my old band t-shirts and stuff off eBay. I collect old cameras and I also collect video game consoles from the 80s up to now. I’ve got like a really large video game collection.Ever since I was a kid I loved the bright colours and the weird, kind of cartoon world that you’re in. As the years have gone on the graphics have become so realistic that it’s not so much a cartoon world anymore it’s just like another world. I like the escapism.

Ladyhawke’s debut album Ladyhawke (Modular Recordings) is out now.