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9th March 2010
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(Emilie Autumn on questioning the nature of her existence)
"Am I actually alive or did I die when I was two and had leukaemia, and I‘m a very convincing ghost? Because, the truth is, I don’t know, and I sometimes wonder, I don’t know if I’m alive."
Emilie Autumn onstage at the Leadmill, Sheffield, UK, 9th March 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview and Photography by Mark Holmes
METAL DISCOVERY: I read once in an interview that you requested your fans go and fuck up your Wikipedia page…
EMILIE AUTUMN: Yeeeaahh! Oh, that was so fun!
Official Emilie Autumn Website:
Official Emilie Autumn MySpace:
Thanks to Jon at Duff Press for arranging the interview.
The Opheliac Companion (2009)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Bohemian Rhapsody EP (2008)
4 o'Clock EP (2008)
Laced/Unlaced (2007)
A Bit O' This & That (2007)
Liar/Dead Is The New Alive EP (2006)
Opheliac (2006)
Enchant (2003)
Your Sugar Sits Untouched (2000)
A massive cheers to Emilie for her time.
Opheliac - Deluxe Edition (2010)
MD: Yeah, all with fabricated lies and deceit! I think I read it got locked or something?
EA: It did, but at least it was sweet because I knew they did what I asked as members of the Asylum Army, which is very serious.
MD: You asked them to do that because you wanted to be asked wild interview questions based on people researching through Wikipedia, I think I read…
EA: Well, that was the whole thing. What it was is about…and not to insult journalists in general, but…
MD: I never use Wikipedia to research interviews!
EA: Well, you see, that’s the thing, a lot of people were and starting at the beginning of the American tour, and through this, and all of that…I would be asked on a consistent or daily basis in just random interviews the same questions but the same wrong questions, that initially I was like “how?”. I mean, crazy stuff, like this never happened and, in the end, I thought oh my god, there’s only one place because anything you put into Google, immediately one of the first things is the Wikipedia entry of that. As you probably know, the story of I know that’s really not the place for correct information because some years ago I first found my Wikipedia page…I didn’t even know that I had one, and I was shocked to find that I did. And then I looked on it and the bio, and everything, the dates, all of that was completely wrong. So, being a lot more naïve, and caring what other people thought at the time, I logged in and I…I didn’t even realise that this was a thing that’s built by the users; this is something that can be changed by anyone. And, so, I went in and just repaired it, corrected misinformation and then let it go with that, refreshed the page and, within minutes, somebody has changed the information to back and stranger, and put a personal comment saying - “Whoever just changed this stuff is completely fucked up. They know nothing about her. She would never have done that. That’s not what happened at all”! And that’s when I just walked away and thought okay, close the computer, this does not belong to me, this is for the fans, for whoever the fuck. This is not where I should be hanging out. So, no longer a part of that but, only recently when I started getting these crazy things and I found out, okay, there’s a few things on there that are printed that are not, and then I just thought, well, that’s fucking lazy journalism because you go to one spot, you get all your back information which is the same as, then, everybody’s back information, and you do no research whatever, and it’s wrong, because why should you assume it’s right? It’s not by me, so it’s the lowest common denominator - information from people who think they know, and they don’t. So what was funny is that the point wasn’t let’s fuck up the page, that was a means to the end of let’s at least give a hint to whatever lazy journalists that maybe you should go one click further than Wikipedia. That’s it; it was just very simple and I think to anybody that even follows me at all, and the message was still sent even though it was locked, but I just then thought it was pretty funny going to Germany and doing a book reading at this Gothic festival, and just saying - “Okay guys, I have a mission for you. Asylum Army mission one. Get online right after this, somebody post something supremely fucked up, like horrendous. The next person, you’ve gotta top that, and then the next, and the next, and the next. The worst things you can think of, put that down!”
MD: Escalating the fucked-up-ness!
EA: Yeah! I think it’s actually the best thing to know that it got locked because they really did it and they got the point, and they had fun with it. That’s the thing, is like the only way I believe to…
[The show’s intro music can suddenly be heard through the PA in the venue downstairs]
EA: Beeeee! Intro…[laughs] That was pretty awesome! That totally kicked ass! [laughs] Yeah, but the only way to deal with wrong information is by spreading even more wrong information. Because that’s the thing, once it’s wrong out there, you can’t - and this happens in Hollywood and things all the time - you can’t…even if it’s wrong, you never look honest. You’re like “no, that never happened”, it’s like - “Why are you being so defensive? What are you fighting against?” The only thing to do is just to go and make it ten times worse so that everybody’s like “okay, well, clearly that’s not serious, then nothing about you that we’ve heard is probably serious”. In which case, you bring it back to square one of like, “okay, let’s start over and be reasonable”.
MD: What’s the most fucked up question you’ve ever been asked based on your fucked up Wikipedia page?
EA: Erm…that’s the sad thing, is that people realised that that was not true so, therefore, nobody’s gone so far as to say - “So, when you slaughtered your unborn child and stuffed it back in Veronica’s uterus, and then illegally married her, and then divorced her, and replaced her brain with a robot”. Nobody’s ever…
MD: That was all on there at some point?!
EA: Oh no, I’m just making that up right now! Because that’s the thing - I wasn’t going to go on there and read it because it messes me up to read anything about…like I don’t go online and read anything ‘cause I always regret it if I do, but I’m just assuming that whatever they did was bad enough to get it shut down, because clearly they were like - “this page is under attack and abused”, so Wikipedia decided to do that. I almost think that’s not fair because if people wanna take down a page…well, I guess that’s the thing, if they’re all posting bullshit “we’re okay with that”, but if they’re all posting more extreme bullshit then “we’re not okay”. What’s the difference?! On the bullshit meter, does it matter?
MD: Exactly! Finally, in the spirit of your self-interview at the end of the ‘Opheliac’ second disc…
EA: Right…[laughs]
MD: …what question would you like to ask yourself to close the interview…and does the stage really smell of vanilla all the time?!
EA: Er…yeah, it does. It smells like a few other things now ‘cause we’ve upped it; we’ve added to that. It also smells like spiced rum…
MD: Nice! And vanilla…
EA: Oh yeah, always vanilla…and the other essential oils that Contessa douses us all with because that’s what she does. She’s got her own cannibal potions that people purchase at the merch stand and then, you know, become more edible to their loved ones! [laughs] What can I say?! She’s got like Contessa’s Body Scrub Marinade and all these things, and they go pretty well because they’re good. She’s an expert in all of that. So yeah, it’s gotten a little more exotic up there but it still does because vanilla’s one of those universal scents that covers a multitude of evils…which is what our corsets really smell like, is a multitude of evil, but…[laughs]…[to tour manager Melissa]…I’m right, Melissa, right?!
EA: That trunk…the costume case…
EA: Not nice…not nice for anyone! That’s the stuff that should be on Wikipedia! Maybe if you write that it will be! So yeah, what question would I like to be asked? But that’s the thing, do I have to know the answer?
MD: Whatever question you want to ask yourself. Maybe one you never get asked that you think you should do.
EA: Okay, regardless of whether I know the answer or not…and I’m going through my life trying to find the answer to this. All of this, like all of this is about helping me find the answer to this, but the honest to god question that I would ask myself with the hope of someday an eventual answer is - am I actually here? Am I actually alive or did I die when I was two and had leukaemia, and I‘m a very convincing ghost? Because, the truth is, I don’t know, and I sometimes wonder, I don’t know if I’m alive.
MD: That’s profoundly philosophical!
EA: I know, it’s almost too much towards like, oh jeez, because everybody asks - “oh, why are we here?” but, for real, it’s a very literal thing of….and this is what I hope somebody picks up when they read the book because it’s almost as important as all the other social messages that are in there, is like there’s this incident at two when this person made a miraculous recovery from something that that just doesn’t happen with. Then, there are these other incidences which could have easily led to a final demise…kind of miraculously okay. Then there’s the attempted suicide…totally should’ve worked…didn’t. Or did it? I don’t know. Then there’s some other stuff but it’s all about…did I really even…what if I died when I was two? What if I didn’t? What if all of this is something else? What if all of this is not reality as we think it is? What if we’re all dead? But, it’s really the thing of, if I were a ghost essentially, is there a chance that you wouldn’t know? Because I could have completely manifested a physical enough form to where I’m not walking through walls. That should be possible. That’s just manipulating matter.
MD: Hmmm…
EA: So, I know that was probably not the ideal answer to that question but, to be honest, I think about this a lot.
MD: No, that’s a very profound…it’ll kind of make lots of people think about the same thing.
EA: Yeah, they’ll go, “what the fuck?!” It’s just how many miraculous recoveries can you make before you start to wonder if any of them really, really worked, or if…I mean, that’s the thing, I honestly wonder - did I live past the leukaemia at two because that was a medical miracle, and those are pretty rare. So did I? I don’t know. Or maybe the attempted suicide really worked.
MD: Okay…interesting…very interesting.
EA: I know, I’m all weirded out now by myself! [laughs] It’s like, holy shit, I don’t even know what to say! That’s the thing…“who are you anyway?!”
MD: I’m thinking about the last time I crossed the road now and very nearly got run over…did I actually get run over, or make it to the other side…of the road?! Am I here now? Who are you?!
EA: Exactly! Maybe our near-death experiences are less near than…maybe that’s just what it takes. Maybe it’s easier to die than we think and you’re just on this other plane.
MD: Of course.
EA: Or maybe there’s that thing of like I’m not actually even…[to Melissa]…I could be a dead person Melissa! Would you still love me if I were dead?
MELISSA: I would love you even more!
EA: Awesome! Alright, I’m gonna totally work on that death thing now!
MD: It kind of goes back to everybody’s individual perceptions through their own subjective realities. There we go, we’ve gone full circle!
EA: Exactly. Totally. That’s what this is all about - full circle craziness!
MD: Right, thank you very much for your time.
EA: Thank you so much for putting up with me!