JD Samson :: From Le Tigre to MEN
For many queer music aficionado, there is perhaps no act as universally recognized as "awesome" than Le Tigre. Formed in 1998 and best known for bangers like "Deceptacon" and "On the Verge," Le Tigre quickly rose to royalty within a burgeoning electroclash scene that also included and inspired acts like Peaches, Ladytron the Scissor Sisters and the Gossip, just to name a few.
But perhaps no face -- along with its accompanying facial hair -- from that scene has earned as impactful of a legacy as JD Samson. Since Le Tigre went on hiatus in 2007, Samson has continued to tour the world while also working on a new project titled MEN alongside friends Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks Takahashi with some input from her fellow Le Tigre kin.
Last month, Samson released her first release under the MEN moniker, a work titled Talk About Body. The album, for the most part, picks up where the Le Tigre party left off, featuring music that inspires both extensive physical and mental exercise through its catchy, poppy dance beats backing up lyrics about gay couples having children and the "wartime economics." It has been met with a mixed critical reaction, but is sure to be embraced in their traditionally euphoric live shows.
Just before Samson kicked off the U.S. leg of MEN’s tour promoting her new release, she checked in with a very starstruck EDGE correspondent and offered a glimpse into the unique political and artistic lens that has inspired and influenced so many other artists and activists alike.
Live shows = blind dates?
EDGE: How is life on the road going? What has the response been like for the new album?
JD Samson: It’s been really great so far. We haven’t started this tour in the States yet -- it starts tomorrow in New York, which we’re really excited about -- but we just came back from Europe last Monday. We had a really great time and the record seems to be getting a good reception, even though I don’t really like to read the reviews very much.
EDGE: Throughout your music career, dating back to the Le Tigre days, it seems like you’ve played pretty much everywhere in a wide variety of settings. Do your live shows ever feel like a blind date -- like you can’t ever really anticipate what you’re getting yourself into?
JS: It’s always really interesting. It’s like an energy exchange or hopefully that’s the idea, I think, that mostly we just try to share the moment with the audience. I think that’s the most important thing: To give as much energy as you can so that the audience can give that back to you. That’s why you’re really doing it and that’s something we really look forward to all the time... You play that first song and at the end of it, you’re gauging how interested they are that night. I think it’s really cool to actually not be really able to know what you’re getting yourself into.
EDGE: It sounds like a lot of the songs on your new release were developed while you were on the road. How did playing the songs live inform how they were ultimately fleshed out?
JS: We had a lot of the songs written before we started touring, but they did shape themselves a lot over the course of the tour. Some of them had a totally different drum pattern from when we were playing them live and when we went to the studio, we just started to build them up even more.
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Watch MEN’s video of "Off Our Backs: