Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O: ‘The one factor I maintain in sacred regard is rockers’ hairstyles’ | Yeah Yeah Yeahs

After nearly a decade away, the American rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs are again with an pressing, electrifying album, Cool It Down. Entrance and centre as all the time is Karen O, 43-year-old Karen Orzolek, the band’s singer and one of the vital charismatic and intriguing figures to emerge from the New York indie scene of the 2000s. She now lives in Los Angeles with the British film-maker Barnaby Clay and their seven-year-old son.

Did you ever doubt you can make music once more that will be up there with something you’ve accomplished earlier than?
I don’t know the reply to that query, as a result of I’m a fairly future-oriented particular person: I feel extra about what’s subsequent than what got here earlier than. However the secret sauce on Cool It Down was simply that we waited to be supercharged and impressed and utterly swept up within the urgency to take pleasure in making music once more collectively. In order that helps.

Would it not be honest to say this document got here extra simply and was extra harmonious with the band than some earlier ones?
Effectively, due to the acute separation of these two years, due to the pandemic and stuff, there was simply this very deep sense of joyous celebration that it was again on the desk. Having that selection taken away from me, I actually did perceive how treasured it was. Then on high of that, every part was percolating in a really intense method for the years main as much as that: there was simply a lot to reply to as a human being and in addition as an artist.

What are a few of the variations making an album in your 40s versus making one in your 20s?
For one factor, humility. You’ve been knocked round by life. In our 20s, it felt freewheeling, devil-may-care, like: “Who cares what occurs tomorrow? Let’s rejoice like tonight’s the final evening of our lives!” So there’s much less self-consciousness in that sense, however you’re additionally very self-absorbed in your 20s. Now that I’m in my 40s, there’s humility, but additionally compassion and a deeper look after issues bigger than myself. I perceive that I’m not the centre of the universe any extra! The powerful interval was in all probability in-between: my 30s.

You continue to have the distinctive black bowl lower. When was the final time you had a distinct model or lower?
I did go blond for Mosquito, our final document, so I lived as a blond for nearly three years.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2006, from left: Brian Chase, Karen O and Nick Zinner.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2006, from left: Brian Chase, Karen O and Nick Zinner. {Photograph}: Paul Natkin/WireImage

Did that really feel completely different?
Yeah, it was actually vital at that stage in my life to disconnect from the black bowl lower and expertise the world as a blonde, which at occasions was extra enjoyable, I feel. However yeah, I return to the bowl, as a result of I really feel like I look bizarre with out the perimeter; I don’t even recognise myself with out bangs at this level. And that’s one factor that I maintain in sacred regard: rockers’ hairstyles.

Within the 00s, you used to say: “I wish to achieve success however I don’t wish to be well-known.” Do you suppose you’ve achieved that?
To a sure diploma. And that sentiment continues to be one which I maintain. After having my child in 2015 I used to be pondering: “I’m going to steer my profession in the direction of a behind-the-scenes one now.” However in some way I stored discovering myself again within the limelight. However sure, the holy grail is to achieve success with out being well-known.

Is that simpler to realize dwelling in LA than New York?
I assume, yeah. In LA, even in the event you’re not essentially delinquent, you could be considerably reclusive. There’s numerous privateness in that sense. However then numerous celebrities appear to have moved to New York, as a result of New Yorkers play it cool they usually don’t usually pester folks an excessive amount of.

There’s a brand new documentary primarily based on Meet Me within the Toilet, Lizzy Goodman’s oral historical past of the New York rock scene of the 00s. Do you suppose the ebook and the movie painting the scene precisely?
Lizzy did a fairly superior factor with that ebook: she did seize the essence of the scene and the sensation of what it felt prefer to be in a band in New York at the moment. And the movie, it’s like a time warp again to the early 00s. It doesn’t really feel prefer it was that way back in some methods, however there’s additionally a realisation – circling again to the age factor – that it was 20 years in the past and that’s sufficient time for folks to consider it in an nearly historic method.

What modern music are you most excited by?
One in all my favorite information was Consolation to Me by [Australian punk band] Amyl and the Sniffers. I simply love [frontwoman] Amy [Taylor] a lot, I feel she’s the actual deal. And the document is that this unimaginable combo of coronary heart, grace and balls-to-the-wall punk.

What else in tradition have you ever favored lately?
I used to be an enormous fan of the present Severance, I assumed it was good. It actually resonated with me.

There’s some large themes on the brand new document, particularly the local weather disaster, however you don’t appear pessimistic. Is that arduous to maintain?
The present of with the ability to write music is that you just’re working from a better self that leads previous all of the noise and the despair. Making music, it’s such a euphoric course of: it feels not too not like what I think about a near-death expertise could be, the place you faucet into deeper truths. There’s numerous concern and disconnection and loneliness and despair, however what music helps me to do is tune into this deeper understanding of how interconnected every part is. That buoys me and I hope you may really feel that within the music.

Leave a Comment