Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Emilie Autumn

Like Kate Bush gone insane, this lovely world class violinist and singer (writer, composer, choreographer, etc. extraordinaire), bring ordered, sexy, chaos to her stage shows. This describes Emilie Autumn's stage show (along with her merry, sexy band of "Bloody Crumpets"), pretty well, I think. Indeed. When on stage, she essentially invites you into her home, or her "asylum". Chosen by Interview Magazine as one of their “14 Artists to Watch.”

What is this about? Check this out.

With a very sexy stage presence, and a message of "we are all different and its okay", much like Lady Gaga with her little monsters and all about how being different is okay, Emilie Autumn is a very articulate, well read and, apparently, well educated, woman. Don't get me wrong, she's no Lady Gaga. That is to say, she's far more accessible, she's quite attractive, hot really, and plays a mean fiddle. She calls her type of music, VictorianIndustrial or violindustrial. I've always had a penchant for various types of industrial music. Asked about being Goth, she said that she has banned black from the stage, so she's not sure how people think she's Goth. However, Emilie has also been in Gothic Beauty magazine. And she's a beauty all right.

Oh, and she has a very loyal fan base.

From Wikipedia:
"Emilie Autumn (born in Malibu, California, on September 22, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and violinist who is best known for her wide range of musical styles and her use of theatrics.[1] She began learning the violin at the age of four and left regular school five years later with the goal of becoming a world-class violinist; she practiced nine hours a day and read a wide range of literature. Progressing to writing her own music and poetry, she went to the Colburn School of Performing Arts, and then Indiana University's Music Conservatory, which she left over issues regarding the relationship between classical music and the appearance of the performer. Through her own independent label Traitor Records, Autumn debuted with her classical album On a Day: Music for Violin & Continuo in 1997, followed by 2002's supernaturally themed album Enchant."

"After appearing in singer Courtney Love's backing band on her America's Sweetheart tour and returning to the United States, Autumn attempted suicide after having an abortion and was kept on suicide watch in a Los Angeles mental hospital. After being released, she had her cell block number tattooed on her arm as a way of remembering what had happened to her. She released the 2006 album Opheliac with the German label Trisol Music Group. In 2007, she released Laced/Unlaced; the re-release of On a Day... appeared as Laced with songs on the electric violin as Unlaced. She later left Trisol to join New York-based The End Records in 2009 and release Opheliac in the United States, where previously it had only been available as an import. Currently she is working on an upcoming album entitled Fight Like a Girl."

First of all, Emilie herself in 2009 called for her "muffins" or "Asylum Rats, (fans), and her "Asylum Army" (hardcore fans), a mission to, as she put it, "Fuck up" her wikipedia page, because its the "only way to fight wrong information". Hmmm...oh well.

First some conservative songs. on Piano doing "Yoshimi battles the pink robots". Here she is playing fiddle at the Celtic Show.

A day out with Emilie Autumn part 1

A day out with Emilie Autumn part 2

Here she is being quite normal on HGTV Crafters TV Show. She is showing you how to make great fairy wings. But that's not all, then she shows you how to make great sushi (one of my favorite things). One has to wonder if any of the viewers watching this show, have any clue as to what her day (okay, night) job is.

Like an erotic Alice from Wonderland, she is an advocate for hanging in there when things seem impossible, and for better understanding of difficult mental states as well as the Mental Health culture around the world, getting their act together. She is a self proclaimed asexual, indicating a lack of sexual attraction, and being on bipolar medications, its understandable and they can leave one with a flat affect in many areas of ones personality. Her and her female troup's (called Asylum Girls) bisexual antics on stage are a bit over the top, but its all in rather light fun and mostly for release from social pressures from what I can tell. A release in the way of relaxing the stress that culture puts on some. And that is understandable, when you consider her history.

She has had her spell of mental hospitals and events related to an unbalanced mental state, when she was younger. She has taken those experiences and presented them to her audience through her art and music, in a way saying, 'yes, this kind of thing exists, I've been there, but I'm still here; there is hope'. What this leads to is an understanding by her fans of what those parts of real life, of some of their realities, in areas that are seldom understood or even talked about.

Emilie takes her attractiveness, presented in a warped Victorian way to offer up her music in a way that is well played, in a humorous and erotic presentation; but with a light touch, evoking more brash and defiant attitudes allowing her audience to "let their hair down", to be a bit wild, while still requiring a sense of decorum and good behavior. When audience members get to the point of interrupting her show, she pulls them back and shuts them down in a way that is both entertaining and productive.

In listening to her interview, included below, you come to understand she is an advocate for good mental health, but more so, for good help, from loved ones of those going through mental and suicidal issues, and the professional mental health community, world wide. It seems her experiences were quite negative in how people related to her, how she received anger and even abuse from those she least expected to receive it from. And as she says, you'd expect to see a completely different behavior from those closest to people having problems like this. She also said that much of what she is saying is from Victorian times, and how hopeless things were for certainly, some women, which is reflected in songs of hers such as Marry Me and Thank God I'm Pretty.

She has written a book about it. She has albums of music exemplifying it. Her shows portray the results of her experiences, but in a way that is entertaining and productive to her fan base who love hear dearly, and know all her songs and the lyrics to the point that fans in other non English speaking countries, may know no English, but know all the English lyrics to her songs.

Bottom line, if your teen daughter has been having issues and she wants to go to one of Emilie's shows, I would say let her, you have far more serious issues to worry about and this can only give her a positive outlet for something you may be finding difficult to handle yourself. And as Emilie herself has pointed out, this isn't only about young girls, anyone can have issues where life is simply too much to handle. Sometimes, you only need to give yourself the license, to lighten up, change your life, make things workable for you and it may not always be in a way that the authority in your life may agree with. But you have to survive. Isn't that what is paramount, after all?

Aside from the title of some of her songs like The Art of Suicide, her message is quite different than you might think and really is Life Affirming and oriented to living, to not killing oneself when times seem so impossible.
For my money, I find her quite intriguing and an interesting light in a dark cave that most of us have not had touch with, until it was too late.I speak from experience, to say that when you are in the situation with a child who is having problems, who is contemplating suicide, you have moved from the position of pitcher to catcher. If you continue to try to throw the ball in the direction you wish things to go, you will most likely, like the rest of us have experienced, lose.

Rather than try to mold the person at that point, you need to find out who they are, what they need, and give them the most positive environment possible to achieve who they need to grow into being. Because, for the most part, the symptom is the result of growing up one way, and trying to fit into an environment that is insane for them. The beginning of fixing the situation, has to do with, letting them become sane.

From what I've seen, frequently, this has been an issue in the part of the parents, in one way or another. Its not to lay blame, but to say that sometimes, there is just no way to understand, how things have changed and how to make them better. The one thing that is absolutely true, is that continuing to do things in the way they have been done up to that point, is indeed insane, only, on the part of the parent then.

If you find Emilie's sexuality, banter, playfulness to be challenging, it could be that these are the least of your concerns at this point. To Emilie, its only a way to allow herself and her fans to simply relax, be who you need to be, have fun with it, make fun of it. Step outside of things, outside of your world, and say, "See? Life, can be pretty great, pretty easy, pretty fun."

Emilie's web site says, "Welcome to the Asylum". Its just an admission really, of where it can feel things are, and sometimes, that is the beginning of finding your way out of the Asylum. She has her book available on there for $75 with incredible artwork, although, it seems its sold out for now; which perhaps, says something in itself.

This, is an incredible woman. She has for instance, taken a very dark period in her life and literally turned it into a stage show that is life affirming, energizing for her fans, and truly has a very high quality of sound and creativity.

I'm truly impressed.

Studio music: Thank God I'm pretty; Marry Me; Opheliac (title song to her album and a direct reference to her Victorian thoughts); and Rose Red.

A Live show taped by a fan:  Misery Loves Company

Another fan recorded show: I want my innocence back

Shredding on her fiddle at The Key Club in Los Angeles, 10/25/09

Interesting interview by Interviewer/Researcher: Evi Hoste. An unusual, in depth and by the Artist, a quite appreciated Interview.

Finally, Emilie's "Dominant" song, fan dance.


  1. Good review! I agree completely with how she puts across the message of survival and overcoming your weaknesses/internal problems in a very constructive manner through her music/the book/her persona/the stage shows. Her strong, level-headed confidence is indeed inspiring.

    I'd just like to mention that the Gaga moniker is a good comparison and one most people latch on to since there are a fair few similarities between the two to my eyes and ears(in the type of performances they put on and individual songs like ''I know where you sleep'' etc.)but Emilie has been doing this for a long time before Gaga. She's had the construct of 'plague rats'/'muffins' long before gaga's monster army was probably conceptualized (not to say that she was the first artist to ever show affection for her followers in this way, mind)but if anything I think Gaga has been very aware of EA and her music/stage persona and cashed in on Emilie's thunder fashioning it more towards the more mass market of completely accessible pop appeal. (just to contradict what you said about Emilie's music being more accessible :p, I really do think that's not the case)

    Also, can I just say that EVERY interview I've seen with Emilie is quite intimate/interesting, even if the interviewer seems a little incompetent, it's entirely in her nature to be chatty, forthcoming and charming, with as complete and detailed and LONG an answer as she can wrangle out. I agree that that interview you linked to is a good one, I prefer this one however, it's pretty revealing in that unabashed honest way EA is all about :3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LeO2xc73_k

  2. Thanks for the comment. Obviously, I think Emilie is amazing. You may very well be right about Gaga, in every respect. :) Thanks for the interview link. I have seen that one before, and it's a wonder I didn't use it, perhaps just an oversight, I can't now remember, but I was going on a bit long, wasn't I, but I did like that interview. I simply found Emilie to be refreshing in her attitude and intellect and life is all about having fun. Getting things done surely, but we have to have a good time, or why are we doing it? All the best!