Just Fine

Dear Readers, In recent weeks I felt a bit dull, especially when it came to blogging. I wasn’t feeling it, nothing excited me. Now, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m talking about an inspiring interview, which I’ve read today.

Mary J. Blige talks to MTV about her new album, Growing Pains (due Dec 18), and the first single, Just Fine (couldn’t resist highlighting):

“So many people are like, ‘I’m perfect.’ I’m so imperfect, that’s why I’m able to let everything out and let people see everything. ‘Cause I’m just a mess like every other person that’s a mess out there. (…) So as long as I’m a human being and I’m not perfect, I’m able to say I’m having some growing pains. Because in order to sustain where you are once you made such a breakthrough that everyone is looking at you, now everyone is like, ‘Ooh, is she gonna make a mistake?’ Yes, I’m going to make a mistake. Yes, I’m still gonna do things. And that’s what Growing Pains is about, it’s about finally not whining about the pain, Mary J. Blige, and accepting the pain that comes with growing.

makin waves

“‘Just Fine’ was written based on me having a good day,” Blige explained. “You know, I can have 30 or 40 [bad days]. I can have as many bad days as anyone. But I choose to say, ‘I’m just fine.’ Right now. You know those days when your hair looks good, you’re not sitting in traffic, your man’s not acting like an idiot. You’re just fine. So it’s OK to have those days. So instead of coming with something ungrateful to the universe, how about I come with something first that’s says, ‘You know what? It’s OK. Enjoy this day if you’re having a great day.’ ”

boy drag

“Feel Like a Woman” (…) she said, is based on the idea that it’s OK for women to receive gifts from men and that they shouldn’t be called gold diggers for it. “Sometimes you got to enjoy him splurging on you,” she said.

Just Fine Fine Fine Fine Fine, was produced by the The Dream and Tricky Stewart, the team responsible for Umbrella Ella Ella. Makes Sense? It doesn’t stop here, the videos to both songs are directed by Chris Applebaum. The video to Just Fine had its premiere today.

just dancin'

Make Like A Fairy, Baby

The fine folks of the wonderful, Paris based Fairy Tale magazine asked me for an interview. Boy, was I surprised when I got the questions for their FOTO issue. I never thought I could answer all of them, especially the ones regarding pictures and photography. Huuuuh.
But then, there were a lot of Mariah questions, I finally felt at home. And some concerning Madonna. And even more questions about Toffi in Montreal.

Below is a very brief excerpt of the interview in German, if you want to read the full thing, get Fairy Tale FOTO. It’s all in English, don’t worry.

produzentin is in love, again!
I know what I want. Hint: It is not a dog.

Ein bestimmter Moment

FT: Gehen wir einmal vom reinen Bild aus und lassen den künstlerischen Faktor dabei ausser acht. Was bedeutet das Bild generell? Zeigt es das Leben in einem bestimmten Moment, bildet es also direkt ab, oder zeigt ist es wie das Leben in einem Moment sein könnte oder sollte?

produzentin: Ein Bild, eine Fotografie, ist für mich eine unstillbare Quelle der Inspiration. Manchmal gebe ich den Bildern Namen: “das Lustige”, “das kleine man nehme”, “wasted” oder auch “Beauty, beauty, look at me”. Und wenn sie dem Dialog standhalten, dann sind sie gut und zeigen die Realität, die sie mit dem Namen bekommen haben.

FT: Sind die Bilder in dem Moment in dem sie gezeigt werden Realität geworden und die Situation genau die, die auf dem Bild zu sehen ist?

produzentin: Für mich werden die Bilder sofort zur Realität. Ich finde so kleine Fotostrecken mit Stars oft ganz gut, in denen sie posieren. Dass zeigt eine Realität, so wie es sich der Star oder der Fotograf vorgestellt hat.
Daher wünsche ich mir oft, ich würde keine Paparazzi Bilder mehr sehen (und ich versuche sie auch zu umgehen), die machen die Posen kaputt. Die Paparazzi Bilder sind keine Realität. Ausser, wenn eine Star die Paparazzi bezahlt, dass ist etwas anderes, darauf sollte aber bei den Bildern hingewiesen werden.

Mariah

FT: Auf dem Cover zu ihrem Album “The Emancipation of Mimi” sieht Mariah sogar aus wie Beyonce. Auf “Rainbow” sah sie noch anders aus. Wie hat sie das gemacht? Ich meine, man wird doch nicht so einfach Beyonce, oder?

produzentin: Ich war sehr geschockt, als ich das Mimi Cover zum ersten Mal sah. Ich hatte grosse Befürchtungen, dass die Musik dementsprechend sein könnte.
Mittlerweile denke ich, sie musste den Beyonce Trick anwenden: Also auf dem Cover wie Beyonce aussehen, um die Käufer zu täuschen und anschliessend mit der Musik faszinieren.

FT: Wäre es nicht einfacher gewesen Beyonce um ein altes Foto zu bitten?

Mariah: Ansich eine sehr gute Idee, aber ich glaube, es wäre nach hinten losgeggangen, wenn Beyonce gemerkt hätte, dass Mariah mit dem alten Beyonce Bild mehr Alben verkaufen kann als sie selbst. Womöglich hätte Beyonce auch noch Jay-Z verboten, für Mariah zu rappen.

Helmut Berger Interview

Helmut Berger on German late night TV, The Harald Schmidt Show: Part I, Part II.

I think it’s a shame, that Helmut Berger’s autobiography, Ich, has not been translated into English yet. It should be available to a broader audience, it is one of my favourite autobiographies. Maybe I should translate some highlights.

“Cocaine was the jet-set-drug. If everybody was on it, I had to be too. You know, I am very easily influenced by other people. I like modern things. I wanted to be “in” back then. Immediately I took half a pound…” (source)

Stink Mitt Interview

Here is my interview with Vancouver’s own electro-pop-r’nb’-hiphop trio Stink Mitt, which I did last Saturday. The band consists of Jenni Craige & Betti Forde and is backed by producer/rapper/vocalist Bigstuff. They played this years North by Northeast music festival and I caught up with them at the music market, which was held at Toronto’s Dundas Square.

Check out their myspace site and listen to songs from their upcoming Red Album and their first offering, Scratch and Sniff.

We talk about their new songs Jabba the Slut and Marilyn Monroe Sleepover, Berlin and <a href="Betti and I sing a line from Let’s Pretend We’re Married by Prince.

Stream Marilyn Monroe Sleepover (Flash required):

http://www.produzentin.com/media/dewplayer.swf?son=http://www.produzentin.com/media/2006/marilyn.mp3

Photos by Bobby Sievert.

Stink Mitt

stink mitt sandwich proddy

produzentin: I got to know your music when I moved to Toronto and Andrew and Will introduced me to it.
Obviously most of the native English speakers would get it, but I didn’t know what a Stink Mitt is. So for my German readers, what is a stink mitt?

Jenni: It is a festering vagina.

produzentin: Festering?

Jenni: Yeah, that’s one word to describe it. There are many: smelling, drenched, I don’t know, I like festering.

produzentin: When we met at the Powerball (a fundraiser for the Power Plant) you gave me your five track sampler from your new album which I played all week. How did Jabba The Slut happen? Did you get served by her?

Betti (laughing)

Jenni: We were having a Star Wars fixation. We were all making jokes. I was making jokes in reference of me being Jabba as Jabba the Hut, but I am Jabba the Slut. And Betti was working at a whore house, so we decided to make a track, sympathizing with the overweight, tired, nearly retired whores.

Betti: Who totally worked guys for money. They’d be older and out of shape. And there were these young hot chicks but they would totally get the guys to pay 300 dollars to fuck them. I was like: You fucking rule. You’re old, you’re fat and you still making men paying so much money just to fuck your ass. Because you are just that wicked. (laughing)

Jenni: From the public eye there is no love and there is no recognition so we thought it was just time to speak up.

produzentin: And how do the old women get the men? Do they have secret tricks?

Jenni: Oh, when you get to that age you have many secret tricks. I think that especially if you’re having to keep coming up with new things and reinventing yourself to the point that you are Jabba, it’s all about the mystery.

Betti: It’s called having game. If you are a sex worker and you can work it then you got game and Jabba has mad game. And that is what the lyrics are all about. With these suckers right now…

Jenni: … you can fuck many different layers of Jabba. She has got so much more to offer.

Produzentin: I guess she can handle many men at once.

Betti: Jabba is a superwhore.

Jenni: She can probably have sex through her various orphises with many men.

Marilyn

produzentin: The other song that I really really like is more pop, Marilyn Monroe Sleepover. Tell me all about it.

Jenni: Me and my girlfriend we get together every week and we try to joyfully kill ourselves with vodka and pills.

produzentin: Oh.

Jenni: Not in a sense that we are actually trying to commit suicide but definitely enjoying and loving. Betti and I have a tendency to just binge. Binge ourself to the point that it is happiness. It is virtual suicide.

produzentin: Which pills do you use?

Jenni: Vicodin and Percocet with vodka.

produzentin: These are downers?

Jenni: Oh yes, we always stay downtown. I’ve never lived uptown.

Produzentin: Downtown this is where I want to be. So what is it about you guys and Marilyn?

Betti: Jenni and I, we have a real fascination with Marilyn Monroe and we both know a lot about her. And when we were writing this song we were trying to interweave the most sordid details about her life, like she always hung out in her bathrobe which was covered in period stains and she was wasted all the time. And when she died, five men at the morgue had sex with her corpse.

Produzentin: Yeah, sure.

Betti: That is from Anthony Summers. He wrote Goddess, The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, which is considered the most credible book on Marilyn Monroe. They were like: “œDude, I don’t care if it is a fucking corpse, it is Marilyn Monroe. I’m sticking my dick in Marilyn Monroe, dude.”
And the chorus is kind of what’s going through Marilyn”™s mind.

produzentin: Did you know that Mariah bought Marilyn”™s piano?

Betti: No, I didn’t know.

produzentin: She has it.

Jenni: The ironic thing is, they both couldn’t play it. It is never been played.

Automatic Attraction

produzentin: You took on the stage names Jenni Craige and Betti Forde. Today I have been to Jenny Craig”™s website and it reads: “œYou don’t have to be a celebrity to look like one.” Is this true?

Betti: Of course it is true. Celebrities don’t even look good. They just get airbrushed so they look good.

Jenni: We have this automatic attraction and people just wanna be us. We exert hotness on so many different levels, this is the back to the Jabba thing. Serious, I mean, it is kind of like that movie where Cheech and Chong, where Cheech had to scar his face so other people could get jobs. I really feel that…

Betti: … about Stink Mitt.

Jenni: Yeah, even at the playing ground. I could loose weight but my private trainer keeps me fat.

produzentin: So, it is not like with Missy Elliott, because they recommended to her, it would be good for her health to loose weight.

Jenni: No, he highly recommends that I stay on this weight and if I go under 200 pounds I would just die.

Jernny: It is like my therapist: “œStay on the booze and coke. If you go off the booze and coke you are gonna become so sane, you gonna loose your mind.”

produzentin: It would be sad.

Betti: It would be so sad. If I made money, that would be tragic. (laughing)

Jenni: And it would tear apart the band.

produzentin: You shouldn’t let it happen.

Berlin

Produzentin: As a German in Canada…

Betti: A German, a German”¦ (makes fun of my German accent and reaches for her bag to pull out a Deutsche Volkspolizei hat)

Jenni: (to Betti) No, you don’t pull that out.

Betti: We have the worst hated hat in Germany.

produzentin: Let’s have a look. Ooooohhh, wow.

Betti: I got it at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

Jenni (in a thick German accent): Germans hate that hat. And our friend was like: (thick German accent): Take that hat off.

produzentin: (thick accent) Take that hat off.

(laughing)

produzentin: As a German in Canada I always wonder what is going on in Germany. What is going on in Berlin, I heard it is quite happening over there!

Betti: One time, we had to stay at this place Eschschloraque at the Hackesche Höfe. And there are these mechanical animals outside and tourists put a Euro in and they go like “mmmeeeh” and make loud noises. We were trying to sleep at 8 am. So sketched out, so hung over, so Jenni threw her dirty, shit stained underwear out of a bunch of tourists.

Jenni: I took off all my clothes and I layed like I was raping naked in the pathway of the bar and my friend was pissing over me from four stories up. It was fucking poetry.

produzentin: I’d love to have a picture of that.

Jenni: Oh yeah, it is on the net.

produzentin: I bet. Are you in Berlin quite often?

Jenni: Twice a year.

Betti: We got some friends there now. Like the DJ Moe and DJ Andre, Connie Opper, who does Co-op and who runs the Rio. And Walli who runs White Trash and of course Peaches and our real estate agent Neil. Lots of big ups Berlin. (laughing).

Whore Action

more stink mitt

produzentin: Have you ever met Avenue D? It would be a total slutfest, I guess, or would it be a bitchfest?

Jenni: I’m sure we would get along with those girls.

Betti: It would be slut on whore action.

Jenni: We’d definitely outwhore them.

produzentin: I’m sure. Who can compete with Jabba action?

Betti: I’m sure we’d like Avenue D. We heard they are really nice girls. And they worked with Larry Tee, didn’t they? They are friends with our friends, it is all love.

The Best Albums

produzentin: When is your new album coming out?

Betti: September 18th.

produzentin: What is the story behind the name The Red Album?

Jenni: Well, we were trying to release a compilation of Canadian artists or even international artists, women all doing menstruation songs. Then we looked and there was The White Album, The Black Album, I found a Brown Album and Betti was like: The Red Album. And we were like: Done. So that was it.

produzentin: What is the best album ever recorded?

Jenni: Del tha funkee homosapien, I Wish My Brother George Was Here.

Betti: 1999, Prince.

produzentin: My last question was going to be: What is the best Prince album ever recorded, because I know you are Prince fans?

Betti: My best track off that album would be Let’s Pretend We’re Married.

produzentin: And go all night?

Betti and produzentin sing: Let’s Pretend We’re Married and go all Night, I won’t stop until the morning light.

Jenni: I’d say Baby, You’re A Star is my favorite track.

Betti and produzentin: That is Purple Rain, though.

Jenni: Oh off 1999, I like Lady Cab Driver, I like Delirious.

Betti: Delirious is the shit.

Jenni: It is in the Cheech and Chong movie again.

produzentin: It is?

Jenni: It is from Still Smoking.

produzentin: Thank you for the interview, I love you.

Jenni and Betti: Thank you, we love you.

Bernadette La Hengst

Bernadette La Hengst habe ich 2002 beim Videodreh zu "Der beste Augenblick in deinem Leben, ist gerade eben jetzt gewesen" kennengelernt. Damals war ich die Assistentin des Regisseurs. Ihr erstes, phänomenales Soloalbum aus dem gleichen Jahr ist immer noch ein Hammer. Toffi und ich haben es hoch und runter gehört. Wenn ich mich richtig erinnere, hatten wir sogar den Accapella Sample "Hallo, es wird nicht eingeschlafen!" von Bernadette als Klingelton auf unsere Handys gespielt. Wir waren im Wahn.

Mittlerweile ist Bernadette Mutter geworden und von Hamburg nach Berlin gezogen. Sie hat den produzentinnen Style: überall die Finger im Spiel. Oder wie es Eddie Monsoon aus Absolutely Fabulous nennt: "Got my fingers in lots of pies. Eddie Pie Hands!". So hat Bernadette seit 2002 das großartige Album von Parole Trixie produziert, ein Hörspiel geschrieben und aufgenommen, ist mit Ihrer Theatergruppe und dem Stück "Alles muss man selber machen – zum Beispiel Globalisierung" aufgetreten, war am Ladyfest Hamburg beteiligt, und und und. Vor ihren Soloalben war Bernadette Sängerin und Gitarristin bei "Die Braut haut ins Auge". Man sagt auch liebevoll "Die Braut".

Zur Veröffentlichung ihres zweiten Soloalbums La Beat habe ich ein bezauberndes Gespräch mit Bernadette geführt.

Continue reading “Bernadette La Hengst”