RENATE – ELECTRO-POP TOMBOY.
Flame-haired Renate is bringing androgyny back to the charts… when she’s not knitting! Interview by Marc Andrews.
DNA: Please introduce yourself to our readers. Renate: My name is Renate, I am 34 springs young, currently living and playing in Sweden.
You’re a one-name artist like Madonna and Cher. Why join the diva club?
[Laughs.] Because there is just no other way! I’m a one-woman show. I don’t like to be dependent on anyone that might not vibe the same way. I need ultimate freedom to create.
Your music is darkly delicious and electronic. How would you describe it?
[Laughs.] I think you just did, thank you! The dark will always follow me. I find so much beauty and inspiration there. The electronic soundscapes make my body vibrate on high levels and plays well with my synesthesia.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
The King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, was my first crush and idol. Madonna, Sir Elton John and Queen were also there. A little later, Lady Gaga. I will never grow up!
Just like Frida from ABBA, you moved from Norway to Sweden…
Ah, yes, Frida. What a woman! ABBA is linked to everything really. Geniuses. It is part of the very fabric of this country. Hearing them sing in perfect harmony blows my mind every time.
Sweden punches above its weight in musical terms. How come?
From what I have learned, Swedes get access to music and instruments through school. Having a band is basically mandatory. I was very surprised by how saturated they are with love for music, and their knowledge of music. It’s astonishing.
We see a few similarities between you and Robyn. That’s a good thing, too.
Oh, Robyn! I am a big fan and sang Dancing On My Own on stage for the first time. She means a lot to me – what a powerplant! So much respect.
Is international domination part of your career plan?
Who wouldn’t mind a little world domination? But what does it really mean today? We are in a time where music can find its own way, but at the same time it’s harder to push through the noise. I just want the right people to find joy in it. That’s the main plan.
Are we likely to see you in TV or movies? [Laughs.] Got any contacts? Not that I know of, but I have a feeling something will show up.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
I work as a graphic designer. I also design prints for T-shirts. Check them out at siikaline.com.
Who do you see as your contemporaries in music today?
I would rather say artists that inspire me today. Rein is an upcoming EBM artist who kicks ass. ionnalee shares the love of electronic music. Fever Ray is sick and Austra creates haunting soundscapes. The list is endless really.
Talk us through your look and style choices.
I will always be a tomboy. I like to challenge the norms of what it means to be a woman. Androgyny has always attracted me. If it’s not a bit edgy, it’s not me. I love the way we can morph through clothes and make-up.
Have you done any performances at any LGBT events or venues?
Actually, that was one of my biggest performances after releasing the Be Your Own Phoenix EP. I performed at a party during West Pride with the rainbow flag in my hand. Great memories! I’ve always had gay friends and I love them dearly for many reasons.
What are the issues that really matter to you? Freedom to be you. Freedom of expression. Equality and freedom to love, regardless.
What’s the one thing that might surprise people about you?
I knit… like an old lady. It’s my meditation. You should try it.
What’s your message to the gay boys of the world? Be proud to be human. Be proud to be you. Be proud to be special, to love, laugh and express yourself. Be humble and learn from everything life throws at you. Fill your own shoes.
Be proud to be human, to be you, to be special, to love, laugh and express yourself… fill your own shoes.