Hostess Club Weekender Special: Interview with Perfume Genius

In the words of the once great Morrissey of The Smiths fame; "Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you / From doing the things in life that you'd like to (Ask, 1986). It was a little like this for Seattle native Mike Hadreas as well, making tunes just for his friends to hear. Fast forward a few years, and he's touring the globe and playing at festivals under the stage name Perfume Genius. Thanks to Hostess Entertainment, we'll be seeing the return of the Hostess Club Weekender with a throng of new acts for this instalment. Perfume Genius will be sharing the spotlight with the likes of shoe gazers Blonde Readhead, the current buzz act Sohn, psychedelic rock outfit Toy, and the enigmatic Cat Power. We speak to Perfume Genius, and in the short pocket of time we learnt so much about his music, journey, and the artist himself.

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I just recorded an album. So now I'm doing all the stuff people do when they've finished recording. I flew to LA last week for a photo shoot for the press photos, and hopefully the album cover. I'm going to do a music video, and then I can't wait to see you guys and tour and all that! 

Let me think of something good. This is the first press I'm talking to about the new album, so here goes. I ended up making something that's a lot more creative than the last album because I sort of allowed myself to be a little more wild and try different ways of writing and thinking about songs that I've ever had before. The music is still personal and I still feel like I have so much to say - so it's been cathartic and therapeutic. It's also much more darker, confident, loud - it's a lot more fun. If anything, it's a lot less depressing, than my older stuff!

I like that 'churchy' feel. In the movies I watch, and the music I listen to, I like the idea of baring your soul, that desperation, the raging emotions - and I write to channel that feeling and mood when I write my songs. It all comes from the same place, but it's just interpreted differently. 

I never really had a purpose in life before. Probably that sounds a bit too depressing, but music has changed my life so much. I feel like I have a reason to do things and that has been the biggest thing to me. I'm a lot more confident in myself, not exactly as much as I'd like to be but certainly a lot more that I've had been before. Also, I'm a lot more healthy now too. Everything's got better - I can pay my rent, I have a boyfriend that's still here, I have a job, I get to travel all around the world - it's pretty crazy. 

Belgium, it's the best. We do our biggest shows in Belgium, that's when people come out. We've done fancy shows, television shows - that place always makes me feel real good. We also played at a BBQ restaurant once, it was pretty bad. In Boston once we were playing in the middle of the restaurant and everyone was eating their dinners - nachos and burgers. They were pretty nice but it was weird too. 

How did you know I play World of Warcraft! Yes I do, I used to play League of Legends too… but people are really mean on there! I guess some people are okay with that but I ended up becoming really upset, these teenagers telling me to kill myself over whatever, and then there's people calling me a f*ggot and I'll be like "Ah why yes I am a f*ggot." I don't know why I got too worked up and personally involved, so now I play more RPG games where I don't have to deal with a bunch of strangers and teenagers from all over the world telling me to kill myself!

It's a weird balance. Being gay is a big part of me, and it's important for me to talk about it and it's important to be open but you don't want that to be the only thing people identify you with. To me, it is what it is. Hopefully the world is changing enough so hopefully people won't feel alienated or they know they can live in the music that has personal stories from a gay man but don't feel that it's only for other gay men - because I listened to PJ Harvey growing up and I connected and 100% identified with a straight woman, I identified enough to be moved by it. 

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