Chain D.L.K. spends a few minutes with Renaissance woman Emilie Autumn in the midst of her latest tour. After years of composing her own music and lyrics and doing her own costume and set design, she has recently also added writing her autobiography to list.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve been recording for a solid number of years now and gained a global fan base – can you tell us a little about how you got started, and how the Plague Rats evolved?
Emilie Autumn: I’ll be honest and say that the success of this, my music and writings, as well as the way in which the ‘Plague Rats’ (the global audience we are so grateful for and utterly in love with) came into being is still very mysterious to me. It’s seems to me as though on one day I was invisible and on the next I wasn’t. I went from having no family to have a very, very large one within a short time. I think we were all searching for each other without really knowing it.
Chain D.L.K.: When you first started playing the violin at age four, what drew you to that instrument, specifically?
Emilie Autumn: I simply thought it was pretty.
Chain D.L.K.: The tour schedule this year looks pretty intense – from North America to Europe – I know it’s early in, but do you have a favorite part of it so far?
Emilie Autumn: I do. It was during sound check for our show in Nottingham, UK. All of the VIP Plague Rats were watching as I obliviously danced directly over to the area of the stage where the Crumpets were performing a fight scene incorporating antique Victorian medical tools (I have a massive collection, and we use them in the show as prop weapons). I got myself smashed in the face by one of the heavy steel bone separators, and now have a serious scar near my left ear to show for it. The best part was when, because I hadn’t had time to go to the hospital for stitches before the show, I performed with blood streaming down my face. That was my most badass, punk rock moment on stage, and, thus, my favorite.
Chain D.L.K.: If you had to describe your typical audience/group of fans, how would you classify them?
Emilie Autumn: I see our audience as being the most unique and varied group of individuals I have, personally, ever witnessed at a rock show or musical production, and I am exceptionally proud of them for this. They represent all ages, genders, genres, and fashions – it’s almost unbelievable. I firmly believe that it is how impossible they are to classify that characterizes them. They are united by what makes them different, and that is our bond with them as well.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve said in past that the statement that classical musicians are constantly told to keep their individuality out of classic pieces because “it’s not about you.” Do you think that if classical training were done differently, it would be more popular with musicians and audiences? If you were teaching a student, what advice would you give them about playing?
Emilie Autumn: To begin with, I would encourage individuality from the first day. I would instill work ethic and demand perfect technique without encouraging each student to sound exactly the same. Any manner of art you create absolutely should be about you, first and foremost. In classical music, you are not allowed to have a point of view, and, thus, it’s largely boring. You’re also not allowed to look good, but that’s another story.
Chain D.L.K.: There have been a great deal of obstacles in your life where you’ve given voice to subjects that are still unfortunately not as talked-about as they should be, like mental illness and the treatment of women institutions – is this mainly for cathartic purposes, or is the main goal education of others?
Emilie Autumn: The reason I am open about these things is indeed to encourage awareness and understanding for the good of all. If it were just about myself, and my own personal catharsis, I would be off baking bread in the mountains or working the tea plantations in China. That would be far more therapeutic to me than anything I’m doing now.
Chain D.L.K.: What was the main influencing factor for your title track “Fight Like a Girl”? Does the feminist movement – either in the US or abroad – still have work to do?
Emilie Autumn: Does the feminist movement still have work to do? That can’t possibly be a serious question.
Chain D.L.K.: Have reactions to The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls surprised you in any way, and did you intend to share it with anyone when you were initially writing it?
Emilie Autumn: The book consists largely of my personal diary entries, and so, naturally, the majority of the writings were not originally meant to be read by anyone. The only reaction that surprises me about the book is at just how much of one there is.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s next?
Emilie Autumn: ‘The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls’ musical, London’s West End, 2014.
Visit Emilie Autumn on the web at: