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| 16 November 2013 | Reply

Every once in a while an interview opportunity crosses my email that I can’t pass up.  Last year once such instance occurred when I was given a shot with Victoriandustrial vaudevillian chanteuse Emilie Autumn.  Having seen her live and a big fan of both of her latest releases, I absolutely dove at the opportunity to chat with her recently and catch up with what has been happening in her beautiful magical universe.


Emilie: Hello this is Emilie, how are you doing?

Toddstar: Good, how are you?

Emilie: I am fantastic. I am listening to a dog bark like crazy and wondering if I should do something about it. Other than that, I’m okay.

Toddstar: While you’re busy listening to a dog, I’m listening to Fight Like A Girl.

Emilie: Oh that’s fantastic – same thing; we are both listening to bitches.

Toddstar: Well not exactly the way I would put it, but okay.

Emilie: It’s all right, it’s totally all right.  I own it.

Toddstar: Well first of all Emilie, let me thank you so much for taking time out for us, we appreciate it so much.

Emilie: Thank you.

Toddstar: This is actually my second bite at the apple. I was able to interview you via email about a year and a half ago, so this is totally my pleasure.

Emilie: Oh you’re a sweetheart.  This is going to be a great way to spend some time today. I’ve just made some tea, enjoying it out of this teacup that was a gift from plague rat, a fan, which you don’t say; it’s like this amazing, incredible thing.  I was just  going through my things getting ready for tour and realized that most of my, my most prized belongings have been gifts from plague rats, like crazy books, teacups, different things.  I thought “Oh my God, I’ll never need to buy anything again because they give me such amazing things.”

Toddstar: I think that’s a testament to what they feel you give to them.

Emilie: That’s very sweet. I think the one thing that I really did realize is something definitely unique is happening, because I don’t know how many singers or performers ever get copies of Jane Eyre from 1865, which I’m looking at right now, or a beautiful tea set, or other gifts they give me; it’s shocking. I don’t even know where you’d find something like that – an original book from 18-fucking-65. That is madness. I think something is going right.  I mean, it doesn’t beat getting somebody to throw their bra at you on stage, but it’s still pretty good. But the good news is we get that too. We came away with a total of 63 bras that were on stage at us on the last tour.  There’s not even enough room on the bus. So how’s your day?

Toddstar: My day is good. Plugging away at the day job, but what can you do?

Emilie: At least we’ve got one.  You could be working at McDonald’s, you could be… I consider myself lucky every day. There’s so much else that we should be grateful for every day and us girls [The Bloody Crumpets], we document them several times a day.  This is the kind of thing we do; we play a crazy game together and the game’s called the gratitude game, what are you grateful for game, or what was the best part of your day game; that’s what actually goes on in the Asylum tour bus.

Toddstar: [Laughter] Well, that’s an upside to being on tour.

Emilie: It is pretty sweet. The gratitude game. And the bus smells great and it’s covered in glitter [laughter].


Toddstar: That’s awesome. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on for you. The last time we spoke Fight Like A Girl wasn’t out yet, it was finished and waiting for a proper release. It came out in 2012 and I couldn’t wait it check it out.  I was proud to pass along to Melissa last year my review; it got a 10/10 from me and our site.

Emilie: Oh that’s wonderful, thank you so much.

Toddstar: And made my Top 25 Releases of 2012.

Emilie: Wow, that’s beautiful. I don’t know that I ever knew that. Maybe she [Melissa] thought I did.  Usually she will tell me something that nice.  I don’t know, but that’s really great. Thank you so much for just really listening and seeing what it’s all about.

Toddstar: No, this thing is awesome. I fell in love with your music while checking out Opheliac and the latest release took it to the next level.

Emilie: Oh, I just want to hug you right now.  Next time we are in town, I will do that – you can experience the glitter and we will embrace for a long time, and we will play the grateful game.

Toddstar: There’s an offer I don’t get every day.  So how has F.L.A.G. been perceived since it got released, I mean how do the fans like this?

Emilie: I had a couple of seconds right before it came out of thinking, well not really caring. I don’t want to come off like ‘I don’t care what anybody thinks, I’m such a bad-ass’ because it isn’t that, it’s just that I really feel that either way, if I put something out and it was exactly what I meant it to be, and it was for a real purpose and nobody liked it, it wouldn’t change that I would put that out, it would just be like I guess the fans didn’t like it.  It wouldn’t change what I felt was important or beautiful. So there were a couple of seconds where I thought well, completely, like that, that maybe something like Fight Like A Girl, someone might take that in the wrong way, which is a shame that I should even worry about that, because god knows rappers are offensive and are often offending their female listeners by the really horrible misogynist lyrics and everybody just is cool with.  I’m like if anybody does not get it, I am not going to sit and think about it because it’s very much a musical theater album, I mean it’s a soundtrack essentially, and I thought about that for two seconds and thought well it really doesn’t matter because I would have still put it out even if everyone hates it. It was just such a massive gift; it was definitely something for the grateful game.  In the end, I’ve never had one person say that they didn’t understand, or they were offended by Fight Like A Girl, or they thought it was some product of my delusion, or that the format wasn’t good.  If they have, I haven’t heard about it. It’s been completely accepted as exactly what it is. People seem to be getting it without my having to explain bits, you understand, like all right, this is a musical, this is the direction, and this is what this is. So really, I just never had to explain it; it is exactly what it is. This isn’t a rock album, and really, it’s theatrical.  This is the soundtrack to the Asylum.  It’s what everything has been for a while. So everything has been to build this musical theater production. So right now, the album was all about very much a musical theater production.  It’s all about one girl doing all of these parts when, in reality, you’d need a cast of 40 people. Even now we’re performing that album straight through, all these songs and the stage, it is three girls and it’s like each song and person is a part of the story, this like epic saga. It’s incredible to imagine what we could do in a real theater with a cast of countless people on top of that, and holograms and all this other stuff that we’re working on.  I know I am rambling on, so stop me whenever, but at the end, it’s been great.  It’s really just been accepted for being exactly what it is.

Toddstar: That’s key and I think you hit on it when you said you thought about it for a second then you thought No, I wouldn’t change a thing because it’s what you wanted.

Emilie: Yeah, ’cause what would the point be? Then you are just conforming to what people expect in order to pay attention to you at the time, in which case I may as well be working at McDonalds.  It’s just doesn’t… it’s obvious, it goes without saying but what would the point be? People may mistakenly get into this to make money, but really once you’ve tried you realize. You don’t get into this profession and you don’t work this hard because you think you are going to be rich and famous. There are a lot of ways to get rich and a lot of ways to get famous, and this is not the easiest. So, this is an opportunity to have a message and to give it to the world and share in your brief time on this planet.

Toddstar: I’m losing you, Emilie.

Emilie: The reception?

Toddstar: Hello?

Emilie: Hello?

Toddstar: That’s better.


Emilie: Okay, I’m going back outside. We’ll see if the dog has stopped barking. Anyway, you get the idea. Basically we are in total agreement, there would be no point.  There are still certain things that I can do to make a living, or just go off and be a crazy homeless bipolar person or something.

Toddstar: Not you.

Emilie: [Sarcastically] No, certainly not. Never! No, I found a decent medication.

Toddstar: Well, you’ve really branched out and done some things that some of your fans may get, some may not get, maybe they see and understand the diversity of it. As someone who has watched you bloom and grow over the last few years, it has been nice to see you gather recognition on things like the Great American Nightmare that you just did.

Emilie: I know, wasn’t that freaky? I was completely shocked when Melissa called and said they would like to have me on this line-up as a headliner for one of these nights.  I’m interested in metal music, obviously, and a lot of things, but I’m not, here’s Rob Zombie.  I don’t know a great deal of his music because I’ve just never been there at the right time I suppose, and I’m not at all like the horror type. I can’t watch those movies, I just can’t do it. There is enough going on inside my head already. I can’t see it, and I’m not into the haunted house, getting freaked out and having people jump out and scare you. I’m not into it at all, so incredibly not my scene. So I was actually a bit worried to accept that offer to perform as part of that because I thought there’s got to be some kind of a mistake. They can’t really know who I am; maybe they think I’m somebody else. Then I kept pushing Melissa to like really, really ask, “Do they know?  Have they YouTube’d, have they seen this video, do they know that this is basically a theatrical vaudevillian drama on stage?” This isn’t like anything else they are having, and also because I’m the only female in the line-up, and it turns out they did know and they had my book, and when I got there, there were people on the staff of that who had organized the whole affair and they came up and asked if I would sign the book that they had. So I learned that wow, okay, they do know who I am. They knew what they were in for and they were very, very happy with the performance. So I ended up having a brilliant time because I initially felt so out of place and worried that people weren’t going to be into my style of music, or performing, or being all dramatic, and it ended up being quite the opposite. So it was a beautiful opportunity and great people to work with on the production as it turns out, and yeah, one of those things that I almost did for like well, if they hate it, I’ll have an adventure and essentially a story to tell.  I do have a story to tell, and I look to that as being a good story. It was a lot of fun.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. Something else you recently ventured into was major film, with The Devil’s Carnival.

Emilie: Yes, that was incredible. There is so gratefulness all around today.  Damn, I’m really grateful for that.  Not bad.  So now we’re working on episode two, and that’s the reason that my hair is still blonde is because I had to dye it the first day of shooting for Devil’s Carnival, as the Painter Doll character, so we had to bleach it really blonde and it stayed that way ever since because I knew that we were making episode two, and because if I went back to my trademark red and then had to re-bleach it, it would probably all just fall out. So that’s the only reason the blonde thing happened.

Toddstar: I like the blonde thing actually.

Emilie: I actually do too, thank you for saying that. I feel kind of like the version 2.0 Emilie Autumn because in the Barbie series of EA, this is the 2.0 version.  What I’ve realized is… well I just remember that I had this hair naturally until I was about 14 years old and then it started to get darker, and then I dyed it. So I’m seeing it as almost a second chance at a happy childhood, because things are really positive at this moment and really just, yeah. There are good things happening and I feel like I’ve gotten to that place where I haven’t forgotten anything that has happened to me in the past, really in any situation, because it gave me that story to tell without which I would never have met the people in my audience, I would never be talking to you, therefore I really can’t… I see everything that I have ever lived as how can I use this as a brilliant ingredient in something beautiful and useful.

Toddstar: That makes sense. When we talked last year you mentioned that you had a cook book companion, and possibly a coloring book coming.

Emilie: I do. I’m working on that and have taken a step back from putting all of the little bits out for the simple reason that I am trying to get this musical done.  We are developing and still touring and all of this. So yeah we’ve got projects backed up for years, it’s a bit crazy. I’ll never not be busy, I’ll never be bored, but that is what is happening. This musical situation has kind of taken over in the scope of it and it started out with me thinking well, I just have to tell the story. Maybe it’s 10 people, maybe it’s a small theater, maybe it is very minimalist, and since that time it has turned into well, how about we make the entire asylum universe layered over itself in holograms. So that is actually… you’re one of the first people I’ve given that away to, but we are definitely building something that has never ever been done, and I think if I can pull this off it will be completely mind blowing to me above all.

Toddstar: I think you hit on even just another off shoot you could have, the Asylum for Wayward Girls Barbie line up.

The Devil's Carnival Teaser Shoot

Emilie: You know what I should. I’ve always thought of… you’re brilliant by the way. I’ve always talked about me and the girls on stage with me, The Bloody Crumpets, as being like a gang or group. We’re like Spice Girls that you can identify with, and I know there have been plague rats that most identify with Veronica, or with Captain Maggots, or being that pirate character or something. A big part of the joy of the whole growth of the whole thing as a show is that there’s something for everybody and I think just to drive it home there should definitely be a silly line of Asylum character dolls. I think once the musical happens and then we make that of course into a film version, then we should just have that crazy merchandising that comes in like Happy Meal McDonalds’ toys. You realize that’s the third time that McDonalds has come up in our chat. That’s not right. Something is definitely up today.

Toddstar: You’ve done just about everything you can do with this, and you are touring this again, and I am so disturbed by the fact that when you guys arrive in the Detroit area, in Pontiac at the Crow Foot, I will actually be boarding a plane to Croatia that day.

Emilie: Oh no! What are you doing in Croatia? I understand that to be a really beautiful place.

Toddstar: That’s what I understand as well. My wife and I decided that we need to go there for vacation this year, so that’s where we’re headed.

Emilie: The director of our last video just came back from there and he went on this beautiful vacation. It’s supposed to be kind of heavenly in parts. Yeah, so trust your wife and go for that.  That’s okay because we will be back soon and it will be 10 times as decadent, or whatever the word is to describe our show, but it will be that much better.

Toddstar: I still listen to the album quite regularly and every time I listen to it, I have a different song that resonates with me. In going through it, there is one song that really wraps the whole musical journey together in my mind.  I know this is totally autobiographical, and if you would rather discuss something else, please let me know and cut me off, otherwise I’m going to talk like crazy.

Emilie: Oh no, please, talk.

Toddstar: The one song that I keep coming back to is One Foot in Front of the Other. I’ve always liked that song. To me it indicates your realization and the discovery of your own need to walk away from the past, while keeping it firmly embedded in your character.

Emilie: I think that’s perfect, yeah. That’s brilliant. It’s absolutely perfect.  You got it entirely, thank you for really listening. That’s what it is all about. It’s like we’ll never forget. We won’t even forgive. It’s not necessary to be able to move on. It’s funny I just had this discussion about the subject of forgiveness with a really close friend, like what does it mean to you, how you think… I know I’m getting deep and you can cut my off if you like, but it does play into this.  You know there’s more to every story that is important.  Just like my own personal story, because I’m just one person. I’m more comfortable doing interviews, talking about myself and all of this, and One Foot became more personal and about me, Emilie Autumn, and all these things. So now I feel like I’m one ingredient in this story, and one character. In reality I am all of the characters. I am the building, I am the rat, I am the doctor, I am the enemy of everybody, but so are we all. There are beautiful light and dark things inside of all of us. This is how it played out among the archetypes in my story.  But one of the components of my personal belief that this is not necessary all the time, and it isn’t… it’s a proven Christian virtue. Well, I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe that is something automatic; that it is something that must be given in order to move on in your life. I think it’s healthy to say it was not okay, and I will be okay, and I will not forget it, and I will not forgive it, and it’s all about one question, and that’s am I moving forward? Of course there is looking to the magic thing that you’ve been looking for to make it all go away and basically have to question, as I’ve always talked about, either just basically how do you go on, it could be over anything, but how do you go on, on this day, in this situation that is life, and the answer being that there is no answer, you just move on and you just put one foot in front of the other, and that’s what it says in the song. It doesn’t mean everything is okay; it’s not this trite happy ending, because that doesn’t really exist, it’s all up to you, and also there is no end. So it isn’t like “Yay, we’ve reached the finish line because we’ve won this war and all the bad guys are dead.” It isn’t like that. That’s what it’s all about.  I think that’s why it’s one of my favorite songs, because it’s the closest thing that I’ve ever had, or ever written to a resolution, and it’s part of the end and that’s part of the resolution. It’s never there but it indicates a beginning and it’s like just because we live doesn’t mean that we’re alive, and I so believe that. And that is something that has come to me so many times in the past, whether it’s me questioning whether I should be on this planet, all this stuff. It’s like I’m alive right now but it doesn’t mean anything, and does it hurt so bad that I shouldn’t even put myself through this or whatever, all this over dramatic melodramatic stuff. But yeah, that is what it’s about. I haven’t let anything go. I’ve transformed it into something beautiful and useful and that was necessary for… and more realistic. It doesn’t mean anything to tell somebody that you should just get over something. It’s like let’s use this as an ingredient. I’m like magic… all to meet this ultimate goal, and you either help somebody else, and all of a sudden it’s worthwhile. The story is more important that oneself, and that’s why I’m so much more comfortable now. I’ve never been comfortable just being me. Also I think because the music is all made by me and I’m the one putting on this show, and I’m the one on the poster, and it is called my name, and it’s always been a bit much for me to deal with, and just living in your head so much and having things all be about you isn’t that natural to me, but now it’s all for the sake of the story, and the fact that it’s all true, is almost beside the point. The story is just as valid even if it weren’t.

Toddstar: That’s a great insight. Emilie, I know you are busy, but I have a couple more questions for you if you don’t mind.

Emilie: Oh no, I am here for you. Anything that you’d like to talk about – this is my priority.


Toddstar: I’d like to know… again, I did get a chance to speak to you and a lot has happened and changed for you over the last year and a half: you’ve did the movie, the album was released, you’re working on the musical – which I cannot wait for…

Emilie: Oh thank you, I’m so glad. I will make you proud, I promise you.

Toddstar: You already have made this great.

Emilie: I will make this great for you. Thank you darling, you’re the best.

Toddstar: As far things have come for you the last year or so, at this point, what is the meaning of life for you, Emilie?

Emilie: I think the meaning of life is to be in service to something, and to help. Like obviously it sounds like I’m going for Miss America, but really honestly, I think the meaning of life is to help other people.  That’s it. The way that each of us finds to help other people is what’s beautiful about it. There are infinite ways to do that. To me, art is the primary, one of the top few ways that one could absolutely save lives, help other people, and also you don’t have to save life just to help, you need to give a kind word to, you need to give a ray of light in a situation or to really be in service and realize, especially… for me it’s interesting because I am private and very antisocial, I’ve always been very much alone in my world, and very gracious to other people, by being polite and exceedingly over nice at times and all those things, but I really preferred something just like myself, a book, or an animal, and what I’ve learned is I do give back through the privilege of being able to tell stories and be on stage, and to talk to people like you, or the audience, or anybody, and have anybody care what I think, then I start to care what other people have to say and help you find the value in society, and also start to see alright, just because I don’t like certain things doesn’t mean that there is no hope, how about I just shut up and start fixing and so I think when I started to get healthy, which I feel that I am, was when I learned that I had the power to help other people, and for me art is the way of doing it, because art is also what influences politics, what influences gender relations, I don’t know, it can change anything. So that is really the meaning is its beautiful to be able to help people, in all of these different ways, there are so many ways to do it. And you don’t have to be famous to do it. I’m famous enough to get to talk about things, but I’ll never take it for granted. But yeah, I like the question. That was one of the sweetest questions I’ve ever been asked. Yeah, to help. That’s really it.

Toddstar: I wouldn’t have expected any less from you than to be honest and heartfelt.

Emilie: Aww, thank you.

Toddstar: One last little quick fun one if you don’t mind.

Emilie: Of course.

Toddstar: Did you learn to thrown knives yet?

Emilie: Yes, yes I did. And I practice on Scorpion on an almost daily basis.

Toddstar: Excellent. That was one of the things that you said you wanted to learn to do in 2012.

Emilie: I know, I totally remember that and I’m so glad that you called me out and remembered that to, because I made it a point and I have actually set up a very large space in the back of my asylum headquarters, where I’m sitting right now, and I’ve got some boards set up that can take a few stabbings, and yeah. In fact, I was up to the wee hours last night this is the absolute truth and I can send you the website. This is kind of interesting that we are talking about this again, but yes, Scorpion is a bit scared. He deserves it though.

Toddstar: Well listen a year and a half, almost two years ago, you welcomed me to the asylum and I thank you for that because it’s been so much fun getting to know you through your music.

Emilie: You’re an inmate, and I can truthfully tell you that I am so grateful for that today.  I will write that in my daily journal, and also just this has been the beginning of everything. So thank you for being into this. There is something for everybody, everybody finds something that relates to them or their reasons, and so this is why I feel this isn’t just about me. I’m so glad for it. This is about an alternate reality that is our reality, we all need a sanctuary and it’s the thing of like what can make this place, what we can make it a place that we never want to leave. I think we’re doing that. There is so much in this world that I think we’re all doing together a pretty fucking good job. So I kind of have unlimited hope for the future and yeah, thank you so much for being a part of that. It really means a lot to me.

Toddstar: It’s my honor to be a plague rat.

Emilie: Oh god I love you so much. I’m going to go write about you in my diary right now.

Toddstar: Awesome, well thank you so much for the time Emilie, and your plague rats in Michigan are looking forward to your upcoming show in Pontiac at The Crofoot, and I look forward to the next trip so I can thank you in person.

Emilie: Absolutely. We will have a tea party. You remind me, we will have a tea party. We will go into an alternate reality and knife throw. I will show you everything I know. You’re the best. Have a beautiful, magical day, and I will talk to you soon.

Toddstar: You too, Emilie. Talk to you soon.

Emilie: Thank you sweetheart.  Bye baby.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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