Many many many years ago when Loverboy was just a twink of a gay, we were partial to hitting up London’s G-A-Y on a Saturday night, but sadly it had to leave the legendary Astoria and move to Heaven due to property prices. Cunts. But it was during this transitional period when an equally young Lady Gaga came to town and performed ‘Just Dance’ and more for the very first time.
We were working for London’s Boyz magazine, so we got whisked upstairs afterwards to say hello before our interview the next day. Sadly this was was before the age of the iPhone so all our photos were beyond shit. All we can say is that the next day Gaga was a delight and even if our photos had been in focus you wouldn’t recognise her anyway. She also had two dancers either side of her who, according to Gaga were not actually there, just part of the experience.
Anyway here goes. This is Lady Gaga: The 2008 Edition.
What age did you start writing?
Thirteen. And it was about love – go figure. But then by 21 I was writing for Nicole Scherzinger.
Did it get released in the end?
Did that upset you?
No, the record I did made my album instead. The track I did for her, Jimmy Iovine didn’t want her to record. It’s much more pop, they were going urban with her. My record was ‘Money Honey’. I mean that is a great record. He said, ‘Oh this is a smash, but this is more you than Nicole.’ I’ve written for Akon, Pussycat Dolls, New Kids on the Block and Britney too.
Do you think her new album is going to be good?
*sigh* What? Yeah! She’s great. Even at her lowest she goes platinum. It’s like, ‘Fuck off!’ She’s great. If I get asked to write tracks for other artists and the beat is very Gaga, I won’t write it. Unless it’s Britney, she can have what she likes.
Who is a typical Gaga fan?
My favourite type are my gay boyfriends with the lightning bolts and glitter on their faces. They know about the short films I put out before anybody else. What I love about my fans is that they are all pretty diehard. They’re not like, ‘Oh, I like that song in particular.’ Normally if they like the record, they’re really into me as an artist.
Have you played a lot of gay gigs?
Haha…an understatement! I grew up with a lot of gay friends. I am so humbled by my gay fans. They fight for me already. They are up in arms for me. I think my work speaks to them because I grew up with them. But in another way they are very critical. You either win them over or it’s garbage. There were a few shows I did in America where people were like, ‘Who the hell does this bitch think she is?’ My gay audience were like, ‘Oh yeah, let’s check her out. Oh, she’s dope, we love her.’ It’s like playing a song for your best friend. Just to give you an idea of how much I love my gay fans – last night I was nervous. That’s how much I love them.
Are straight people harder to impress?
I don’t think it’s a matter of gay or straight, I think it’s a matter of pop music period. The straight community think of pop music as a manufactured, dishonest and wretched genre. Whereas the gay community loves pop music all around the world. It’s like, ‘Is it pop? Well, it’s pop but it doesn’t look like any kind of pop I’ve seen before and it’s a bit left and she’s a bit strange. But she’s very pretty and it sounds good.’
Playing last night was special. Everyone knew all the words and you’ve not even released anything. Were you surprised?
I was really surprised. It wasn’t just to ‘Just Dance’ either, it was to all the records. They were ready for me. It was so great. And as an American, my initial club runs were a bit ‘Oh my God, I love her but I don’t get it.’ In London, everyone is so on another level, artistically, and what they see, they enjoy.
The mainstream is made up of much more diverse materials and references so everyone just enjoyed themselves. Of course, they were studying, learning and judging I’m sure. But for the most part, it was just a good time. The next day I worked. I’m writing on Michael Bolton’s next album with him…
Wow, that’s really different.
Yeah, well you know he’s 80s and he’s all about killer love songs.
Does he see himself as 80s?
Well, he knows that I see him that way. We’re actually very good friends. I was really excited to do this song with him. We finished it yesterday in London. He came to meet me here.
You’re clearly very inspired by the 80s. What happened when the 80s wasn’t quite so cool. Were you still rocking it?
You mean like a few years ago? Well, you change a lot. A person changes a lot in just one year of their life. You change emotionally and intellectually. My style is always changing. I was always very retro. It was thrift shops, I was making stuff or bedazzling bras. I was always trying to do stuff that was very innovative but at the same time decidedly retro. With my hair, it used to be dark but I kept getting called Amy all the time because I looked like Amy Winehouse. My hair was brown and a bit more frizzy and I just have very hard features and I got called Amy all the time.
Who has influenced you?
Well, obviously David Bowie, Madonna, Prince..
I heard a great remix of Just Dance with Vogue in it. Have you heard it?
NO! I can’t wait to hear it. But all of them The Stones, The Beatles.
Chanel, D&G, Prada, Gucci. I just recently got into Klaus Nomi. It was funny because I was wearing one costume and suddenly I saw a YouTube video of him and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m making the same shapes as him’. Then there was the gloves, then I’ve been wearing really dark lipstick off stage and he wore that too. Then I started getting more into bows because he wore a lot of bows.
He has the history with Bowie too.
I feel he’s influenced a lot of people but no one knows about him.
No, he’s not really…he was very strange. He didn’t have quite the commercial viability that Bowie did. He wrote music in a language that he made up. That’s a tough sell but he was loved by the East Village. To me it’s like most people don’t see my references and it’s not about that, it’s just about me being inspired.
How do you feel when people download your music illegally?
It’s fantastic! I’m nobody in the UK – the labels are like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ But people are demanding my music and we had to release it early in France because it shot up the charts. There’s a real demand for the records. A lot of my music has leaked but it’s still Number One in Canada and it’s been out for weeks. It was supposed to be a soft release, like a slow burner.
What I am starting to learn is that as much as there are these huge female artists out there with these huge hit records they don’t really sell albums. I think it’s because the market doesn’t care what they have to say as artists, not to say the music doesn’t matter because it does. But I think the reason my fans are buying my records is because they love me and what I have to say.
But then you have freaks like me who are obsessed with Mariah and I buy every CD…
That’s great. You are a superfan. Whether I inspire my own superfans or I just inspire the idea that people should be superfans that’s my job.
You performed at the Miss Universe event too. How was that?
I thought it looked amazing. I’m graphic and fashion forward and then you have the Miss Universe pageant which is totally devoid of any fashion at all. It’s purely about accentuating their bodies. PopJustice wrote something about it and said, ‘That is just the kind of trivial, post-feminist performance that Madonna would have enjoyed watching.’ Pageants are seen as very chauvinistic in terms of womanhood. What I do is very boyish in a way. It has a lot of balls. It’s not pretty. It’s quite strange. It was a nice dichotomy.
In your first video there’s some serious lesbian undertones going on. Discuss.
It’s just the way I like to make my art. I’m not interested in using lesbianism to get more attention. I am who I am. Whatever you see in my work, that’s me doing something that I think is beautiful, artistic and inspiring. It’s not meant to be like, ‘Oh my God, is she a lesbian? Has she kissed a girl?’ Like the opening scene of The Fame (a short film that Gaga made to promote the album). That wasn’t planned. We were in Santi Alley in LA filming. Suddenly someone pulled out this cart and we jumped in. We started rubbing and touching each other and it was this really beautiful, theatrical moment. There is this great moment where the camera turns away and there’s like 30 people staring at us with their mouths, just going, ‘What the fuck is going on here?
Is it a wig?
It’s not a wig. But it’s not all real.