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interview with Jarboe by e-mail september 28, 1999

despite her solo work before after & during Swans, Jarboe is most known as the singer & keyboard player in that legendary band.  since that time she’s become incredibly prolific with her collaborative projects, made one of 1998’s best albums (Anhedoniac), formed a new band, recorded another album soon to be released, & started a website that features informal discussions & interviews with fellow artists she admires.

QRD – what is your musical history before the Swans?  i know your piece  "Walls" was recorded before that & that you were in the band 349, but what all else was there?

Jarboe – I was in a jazz lounge act as well as was a performance artist. I also sang in church.

QRD – who are the people involved with your new musical project & is it mainly you or is it an actual band?

Jarboe – Currently it is 4 musicians. Cello, guitar, bass, keys, samples,  electronic & regular drums, & two other singers besides myself.

QRD – for performing live are you planning for it to be very theatrical or
mainly just music?

Jarboe – It is definitely theatrical!

QRD – why did you decide to start your new website The Living Jarboe & how involved were you with the technical aspects of the design & execution?

Jarboe – My partner whose design company is known as Tank Pictures did all the design on the site. The main aspect of the site which has yet to come is regular diary entries from me. This will begin soon & will change several times a month if not weekly.  I felt  that the Swans site should remain a home  for Swans considerable legacy & Michael Gira's  new projects. Swans was after all, Michael's project & so it is only appropriate that I now get off of that site & have my own place.  I do own & manage & pay for the Swans site as well as my own site.  Michael does not have anything to do with the actual running or  financing of the Swans site...that is all part of my company's business, The Living Jarboe Incorporated. I support Young God Records (Michael's company)  by being a major purchaser of their products which my company then sells on the website to fans worldwide.

QRD – do you think the internet will replace printed media?  if so, in how long?

Jarboe – No, I do not think printed media will ever  be replaced by the net.  At least not in my lifetime.

QRD – do you thinking releasing Anhedoniac exclusively on the Swans website increased or decreased its availability worldwide?

Jarboe – That was not even a factor for me. All I cared about was completely controlling the content & having some personal contact with every single  person who purchased it -- all 1300 + of them to date. It is a very private & heartfelt album from me. I was only interested in people having it who really went to some effort to obtain it.  It would have been blasphemes to have it in a bin in a shop in my opinion.

QRD – do you plan to continue self-releasing your material?

Jarboe – Disburden Disciple is a big project & I may decide to get an investor, but I will not become a hostage of a record company.

QRD – what artists would you like most to work with that you haven't yet?

Jarboe – Trent Reznor, Tricky...

QRD – are you still thinking about writing an autobiography?

Jarboe – Yes, I am already in the process of writing a sort of unauthorized history of Swans in that regard.

QRD – what type of monster would you most like to be & what kind do you  most identify with?

Jarboe – a DEMON on both accounts....

QRD – what's your favorite piece of musical equipment?

Jarboe – my voice.

QRD – are there any myths about yourself you'd like to end or spread?

Jarboe – Yes. To the stupid misguided bullshit from a few  people who think I stole or tried or am trying in any way to usurp Swans or Michael Gira's glory...  If anything, I did my best to support HIS vision musically for 13 years.  I was never in the limelight all of those years. Nor did I think it appropriate for me to be so. I worked incredibly hard for very little in return in a tangible sense.  There are Swans fans who continue to give energy to feeling bitter about me for some reason. I have this to say: Get over it. Get a life. You have no idea what you are talking about. You are misguided & inept. You are an embarrassment. You are  foolish. There is no competition between me & Michael Gira.  Read my dedication on Anhedoniac. Read HIS dedication on New Mother.  Enough said.

QRD – what do you think is the cause of Norway being so receptive &
embracing to your music?

Jarboe – I will always have a warm place inside for Norway. They said I “spoke with demons” during my performance on stage in Swans.  I consider that a high compliment. The Living Jarboe band is playing in Norway in 2000.

QRD – do you really think trepanning (cuting holes in the skull to alter blood flow allegedly helping creativity) works & do you encourage it?

Jarboe – the url for the trepanation society is www.trepan.com.  I do NOT encourage anyone to do this or any other surgical procedure to themselves.

QRD – is there anything specific you think  people should be aware
of in life?

Jarboe – You have to walk that fine line between skepticism & sincerity. Balance being jaded & world-weary & paranoid with being childlike &  enthusiastic. Don't let the bastards get you down. They WILL try to destroy you. Laugh everyday. It is important not to lose your sense of humor.

QRD – what are your upcoming plans & what else would you like people to know?

Jarboe – My website will continue to feature talks with a variety of people. I am going out to LA to meet & interview some movie people in October. I am playing in a project (not my music) with Bill Rieflin & Percy Howard in  January. We are to do a show Jan 26 at Great American Music Hall as well as in Seattle & Portland....This project is also recording....  The Living Jarboe band is playing Gothic Wave Treffen in Lepzig Germany in May 2000 as well as other dates to be announced on my site in the future....