MIGNON – DOLLHOUSE
Splendid Berlin meets up with Mignon to chat about her new album, touring the world and playing laser-harp with electro artist Peaches.
Photography & Interview: Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit
SB: Was there a decisive moment when you made the conscious decision to become a musician, or was it something you always knew you would end up doing?
Mignon: It wasn’t a conscious decision…it just happened. I always loved music, at the age of 5 or 6 I sat at my grandmothers baby-grand and taught myself children’s songs with one finger. When I first moved to Berlin, Melitta Sundström, a berlin drag queen, taught me the basics of songwriting and showgirl-ship. From that time on, I was hooked.
SP: Your new single and video entitled ‘Dollhouse’ has just been released. The video features a miniature version of you living in a doll house, watching TV and being moved from room to room by an ominous-looking white-gloved hand. Would you like to elaborate on the idea behind the song/video?
Mignon: A lot of people in our society feel powerless. They feel they have no control over their lives, as if they would be led by an invisible hand. People enslave themselves by believing they need more things, to buy more and to treat themselves. But is it a real treat?
In the line ‘everyday a new toy, give yourself a new joy, try something new boy let me be your friend’ I wanted to point out that taking care of each other should be the focus of our existence and not making the rich people richer. Be conscious in what you consume and where your money goes.
SP: What are your touring plans for 2018?
Mignon: There are dreams which turn into plans and we are working hard to turn them into reality. What is confirmed is a tour in the UK in May.
The plan is to also tour in the US, in Europe and Japan this year. To stay updated, sign up to my newsletter on http://www.mignonmusic.com and check on my website regularly where shows are always announced first.
SP: How do you compose your songs? What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Mignon: It goes hand in hand. I usually have a rhythm with a guitar riff or bassline first. If it’s good, then I get inspired to write lyrics.
After that I develop the song to support the lyrics and form out the song with instrumentation, just like a colouring book.
SP: Tell us about your new album, what is the concept behind it?
Mignon: I wanted to show a mirror to the world. A mirror where people can identify and be inspired to change something. I wanted to give everyone the feeling that they are not alone. I am trying to empower the less fortunate and the misfits. I stand up for equal rights, thin, fat, black, yellow, green, white, all kind of sexes and if you feel like a blue bunny be a blue bunny!
SP: Which song was the hardest to complete and which is your favourite?
Mignon: There is no particular song. Every song is unique and special and none of them were hard to complete. It was a lot of fun to produce the album as I invited a lot of guests. Me, Corwin Hambrick and Mathias Brendel recorded the songs in the studio, live as a band, instead of tracking. I invited a string-quartet, Corwin composed the string arrangement. I was lucky to get to record the Timpani at the Hansa Studio in Berlin, that was a very historic moment. Fredovitch from King Khan and the Shrines played the organ on the song “Make Believe” and Adrian Stout of the Tiger Lillies played the singing saw on “Ghost of a Memory”. It was fantastic to make the record together.
SP: One of your close friends is Berlin based electro artist Peaches. How have you collaborated together?
Mignon: I actually already did collaborate with her. I helped her tour her first album “The Teaches of Peaches” and we wrote a song together called “Casanova”, which has been released by XL Records. In 2011 I also played multiple roles in her musical “Peaches Does Herself”. I was the Dyke on the bike, a little boy with a balloon, and I also played laser-harp. It was great fun!