Q&A with Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage

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Shirly Manson of the Scotland band, Garbage

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Q: When you went into record it, were you concerned about topping the band's previous efforts?

A: Well, I want to put the record straight, because we've had a lot of this talk of the sophomore slump with our second record [Version 2.0]. I think the general consensus was that people feel our second record didn't do as well as the first one, but are second record did better. But I think in terms of our profile, I think our profile was probably quieter than on our first record. It leant us a certain freedom and liberation when we came into record this third album, and we didn't feel the sense of pressure that we did on the second record, which allowed us to take just a few more risks and have a lot more fun. There was a much more chilled-out environment in the studio, and I took more risks as a singer and a writer and it really felt good to make.

Q: Self-produced?

A: No other parties, just us.

Q: Has the promotional machine kicked into gear?

A: The machine is starting to grumble. This is the scary part. We've been like little hermits in our holes. We've come out blinking moles into the sunlight with our record and offered it up to the gods. It's a scary rite of passage in some ways to readjust and reinvesting in your life after locking yourself up in isolation and making music together. So yeah, I have the usual anxieties, but we really feel proud of our record and feel we've pushed ourselves as musicians. You can't ask for more than that.

Q: Are you looking forward to touring?

A: I can't wait. I'm starved for communion in some ways when I'm in the studio. I think my motivating factor as a musician is to connect with others, that's what I'm looking for. There's no more privileged a place to play in my life than to offer something to people and have them get something out of it. It's such an amazing thing to do, and I really feel lucky. Am I sounding like a really deranged hippie? I feel like I've gone mad. Hahahaha.

Q: Outstanding. Is there anything else you'd like to add or highlight?

A: I would just like to say one thing. I think it's a mistake of America to lump Europe together as a sort've cultural mass, because in fact y'know each country that's drawn under the veil of Europe is very diverse in terms of the music that comes out of it. Each country has its own national sound. Each country has a very different sensibility regarding artists that are massively successful and artists that are underground. You may find a underground artist in Germany whose massive in France and vice versa. Each culture has an influence on the way people receive music. I think it's a danger in this world today that although I think it's important to maintain a sense of identity, we have to stop thinking of boundaries so much any more. The more we center on our differences as nations the more we tend to cause friction. I look at regions where everyone's fighting over their nationalities or their creeds, I feel despair. A big term at the moment that everyone's speaking about here in Europe is the concerns of Globalization. I think it's a very complex subject. On one hand I think it is horrific that we're all becoming homogenized. And yet on the other hand, in some ways the more we can eradicate our differences, wouldn't it be a happier place. How does one go about it?

Q: How do you feel about the 'Americanization' of several European cities?

A: It's tragic. You can wander through the streets of London or Lisbon or Stockholm or wherever, and there is a sense that we're losing our identities. But I think there is a way of celebrating our nationalities and our culture without it causing intolerance. I think ultimately, that is the key thing. I think we have to learn appreciate other peoples' differences and celebrate that with them and not feel threatened by a different way of thinking. Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance, as my Dad is always preaching.

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