Looking back, it’s slightly weird to think how Scissor Sisters ever got so mainstream. A band filled with defiantly queer and unapologetically camp freaks from the New York club scene singing songs about coming out to your Mama and acid junkie college flunky dirty puppy daddy bastards. However, their debut album just exploded to number one in the UK and was followed with fabulous performances everywhere from the Brit Awards to Glastonbury. With the exception of perhaps Olly Alexander at the moment, it’s difficult to think of a band reaching so many people with such a positively queer message.
Since the group announced an ‘indefinite hiatus’ in 2012, which they briefly broke this year to release the belting one-off single SWERLK to raise money for the LGBTQ Lantinx organisation Contigo Fund, lead singer Ana Matronic has been keeping herself busy. She’s been moonlighting as a radio DJ and writing books on one of her main passions: robots! This Saturday, she’s popping down to intimate disco basement of East Bloc to headline the fizzy fun of Pink Lemonade. We spoke with her ahead of the much-anticipated set!
Hey Ana! Are you in London a lot?
Yeah. I’m here once a month for about 10 days to record all my shows and anything I can get my hands on!
Do you feel like an honorary Brit?
Oh Definitely! I have British heritage as well, from Kent, Blackpool, Dorset, all over. Plus, Britain always took to the Scissor Sisters quickly as well. We never had a number one album in the states, unlike over here.
Are you still a robot obsessive?
Yes, I’m still massively into robots. I don’t think that’s ever going to go away.
Are your houses full of them?
I don’t really own any robots actually, aside from a lot of miniature robot figurines. No robotic vacuum cleaners or anything. I’m waiting for a robotic suitcase that would follow you around though.
That’s a pretty good idea! Has anyone made that yet?
There is one that Piaggio, who make scooters, have developed (below), but it’s a little out of my price range at the moment!
Are you still optimistic about the future of robots, or does AI ever scare you?
I am optimistic. I definitely think that we need to be cautious and place limits on ourselves. Legislation needs to be put in place to stop people getting too carried away.
So you don’t see a future where they rebel against us?
I don’t think that humans give them a whole lot of reasons not too! Humans have always been, and continue to be, a very brutal species towards one another, so if we can’t figure out our problems out human-to-human, perhaps we deserve what’s coming. It probably also wouldn’t just be the robots rebelling either, there’s a whole lot of people who would side with them too!
Do you think we’ll ever have a robot president?
I’m not sure about that, but I definitely think that we’ll employ AI in running scenarios, especially if we get to a point where AI is actually cognitive, where we see great benefit from its intellectual abilities rather than just its computational abilities, which is what we see now.
Let’s talk about SWERLK. It’s quite exciting to have a Scissor Sisters single out in 2017, it’s been a while. How did it come about?
It came about purely through MNDR, who is a fan of the band, and was working with Babydaddy. She had the song ready and wanted to get Scissors on there! I went over to Babydaddy’s apartment and recorded my part. I really had a great time and the song’s super fun as well.
So you’re all still in touch with each other?
Oh yeah! Jake’s the elusive one because he lives in LA and New Orleans, which are two places I rarely get to sadly. The rest of us still live in New York, although I bounce back and forth between London as well. He’s just been on a solo tour as well, which made a whole lot of people very happy.
What’s the future of the Scissor Sisters?
That’s a really good question; I don’t know! I’m sure there’s a tour somewhere on the horizon and possibly another record or something, I’m sure. Who knows when that will be though?
Looking back, what was your favourite moment with the band?
We had some really amazing moments. For me though, it was playing the main stage at Glastonbury in 2004 for the first time. I had never experienced a crowd or felt energy like that, until the next year when I played with New Order, which was unbelievable as well!
We saw you when you came back in 2010 and Kylie came up on stage with you, which we absolutely loved.
That was great too, but the first time round, it was the moment that everything took off the band and our record went to number 1 the next week. It was a very special weekend all round, so if I have to pick one, then it’s got to be that one.
You’re playing Pink Lemonade this Saturday at East Bloc. What can we expect from your set?
It’s going to go several places and you’ll definitely hear some disco, but it’s mainly going to be house and pretty extreme bass in your face! Definitely stuff I can’t play on Radio 2! I love East Bloc and the sound system is incredible, so I try to fill it with as much bass as I can. I like some really, really filthy stuff, so it’s going to be sitting low in your hips!
And finally, when was the last time you had pink lemonade?
Hmmm…I can’t remember! It’s been a long time since I’ve had lemonade full stop. I had some strawberry lemonade perhaps two year ago, which was delicious. Shameful really, it’s time to have some more!
Ana Matronic is playing Pink Lemonade #6 –Let’s Have a Kiki on Saturday 19th August at East Bloc, 217 City Road, EC1V 1JN, 11pm-6am