Interview: Amanda Palmer

By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  September 25, 2008

See, this is the lesson of '80s John Hughes movies: that there are those people, and that kids aren't really the stereotypes that outsiders think they are.
It really is true! And the people that buy into their own stereotypes just suck. People who really are hipsters, they're terrible!

You always just sort of think that they'll grow out of it.
You assume that. People who identify so strongly, like "I am goth, I listen to goth music, da da da, this is what I am," I'm always really suspicious of them, because sometimes there's something behind that, but often they're just really insecure. And especially the modern goth culture, like if I pick up a copy of Propaganda magazine or something, or I see some modern goth band, it feels very joyless, and that feels very antithetical to who I am, the music I make, the fans I have, and how I want to live my life, that I never want to touch it. And when someone calls me goth, I cringe, because I just don't want them to stick me in that pile, it just feels like it's such a bad fit. I think that it's upsetting to see — like these great bands like the Legendary Pink Dots, or Dead Can Dance, they just got literally picked up and plunked into this category, and seriously, that market is such a niche with such a low glass ceiling, that if you get stuck there, you're screwed.

Yeah, I'm usually shocked if a band that is described as "goth" is actually good. You know, like, someone will say, "Hey, Christian Death is this really great band," and you'll think "Really? But they're supposed to be goth!"
Death in June, for example, the music does not sound goth to me. There's definitely darkness in it, but you've got a guy playing an acoustic guitar singing in a major key!

Or the dude from Dead Can Dance, who sounds like Neil Diamond half the time.
Yeah!  But it's also a lot like "punk"— that term has just been bandied about, and it's much more about fashion than about a genre. And the bands and the artists that are literally saying, "I'm going to tap into that crowd," like Voltaire or Switchblade Symphony, or, what's that fucking band, oh yeah, the Cruxshadows! The goth band, they are willing to go up there and say, "We are a goth band, you are goth fans!"

It's like, I dunno, the metal equivalent would be like Manowar I suppose.
Absolutely. They know who they are, they know who their fans are, and that's the job. But one thing that's really important to me, though, is that I not alienate the goth fans. Because I love that they love the Dresden Dolls—

And they'll grow out of those other bands, but not you guys!
I would hope so! I would hope they'd stick around, and that as I evolve and they evolve, we'll all hang out together.

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