Ten Questions With Singer, Songwriter And Author Amanda Palmer

With an upcoming performance in The National Concert Hall and an appearance in the RDS as part of the International Literature Festival, Amanda Palmer takes about making art, the upcoming referendum and what audiences can expect from her shows.

Amanda Palmer standing with arms outstretched looking over her shoulder toward the camera
Image: Photographer - Michael Murchie

Hi, Amanda. What can people expect from your National Concert Hall performance?

I’m working on a new record, so it’s a lot of new material and stories about how I wrote it. I often take requests and chat about the news of the day, whatever’s going on. I’m feeling in Dublin I’m going to be talking and singing a lot about the referendum.

Where did the decision come from to have comedian Andrew O’Neill open your show?

I never like being alone on stage and touring, I like to have friends with me, and Andrew is a phenomenally funny stand up comedian, who is also closely aligned with my politics. The entire evening is a crazy tennis match of humour and deep emotion all piled in a strange sandwich.

How did your recent song ‘Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now’ come about?

I’ve had a lot of spontaneous collaborative projects that have been made possible by my subscription service Patreon. I met this wonderful Welsh songwriter named Jasmine Power totally coincidentally through a friend and we decided to go into the studio and see what we would come up with. We wrote that song in a single day. I didn’t really realise at the time what we were creating, now that it’s out in the world I’m able to listen to it with new ears and it’s pretty incredible.



Were there concerns about that title?

Laurie Penny (a journalist friend) warned that it might get me in trouble. I reached out to Rose McGowan to get her blessing for the song, which actually made it more powerful in the end. It’s very hard writing music about things like this, about assault, about the Me Too movement, because the experiences are so personal and so harrowing for those women. At the same time, you have to make art about this stuff because it’s one of the ways we open the door to the room and let the light in and air out the stench.

How would you respond to people who think you’re being deliberately provocative with the title?

For the people out there who want to think I’m being deliberately provocative, maybe they’re right. But getting up, putting on underwear, brushing my teeth is provocative. I’m an honest songwriter, I write about what I feel and sometimes that annoys and irritates people, especially because I’m a woman, but that’s the world we’re living in. After years of practice, I’ve learned to ignore that side of things and get on with the work regardless of how people are going to interpret it.

What can we expect from your appearance at the International Literature Festival?

It’s a conversation between me and Laurie Penny, a feminist journalist, and this is happening right on the heels of the referendum, so I have a feeling we’re going to focus on those sorts of issues.



Do you think your experience with Patreon has been more freeing artistically? (Patreon is a  funding platform where artists are supported by fans in the creation of their art)

It is astounding how much my songwriting and artistic process has changed now that I don’t have to sell anything. I thought that I was liberated before because I was able to put out all my own material on my own label but even then I had to market and hustle and sell and hawk product. My main income is coming from the subscribers on my Patreon basically paying me a flat salary to do whatever the fuck I want and I can not tell you how empowering and liberating it feels. It’s stripped a lot of the bullshit out of the equation and I can get on with the work of making the art.

Do you feel like the experience has made you closer to your fans?

I’ve always had a really close relationship with my fans, so that actually hasn’t changed that much, but my faith in them and their faith in me has been strengthened through this process. 11,000 people giving me a little bit of money so I don’t have to do a commercial corporate thing. It’s really powerful.



How are you feeling about the upcoming Dresden Dolls live shows? (Amanda’s band will play their first live shows in 12 years over 2 nights this October in The Troxy in London)

The beautiful thing about the Dresden Dolls is it’s a lot like riding a bike and it’s a fantastic bike. Every time we get together to do live shows, it’s glorious. If anything, I just wish it was more. We’re going to be packing a lot into those two nights, but I’m really excited for it.

Are you looking forward to being in Dublin?

I love Dublin and this is actually the first time I’m bringing my child. I’m going to be rooting around for good places to take him. But I also feel like going to Dublin at this particular moment in time with the referendum is not a coincidence. Given how much braver I have felt lately talking openly about my own reproductive story, my abortions, my miscarriage, my birth. I have personally been lit on fire by the Me Too movement, and the bravery of all these women talking about their experiences. I think there’s no better time to lock arms with women right now and do some tearing down of the system which has not been serving us.


More details on Amanda Palmer’s upcoming show in the National Concert Hall are available here. Tickets and information for Amanda’s conversation with Laurie Penny at the International Literature Festival can be found here.

Amanda’s own website and information on how to become a patron are available at http://amandapalmer.net

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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