Exclusive: Yoko Ono on Antony, Iggy Pop and Kim Gordon
At 82 years of age, it’s hard to believe that Yoko Ono continues to top the dance music charts, but this iconic multidisciplinary artist’s rebirth as an EDM star will hold no surprise for long-time fans. Ono’s transient nature in different art mediums has been well documented throughout the years. And while her incredible body of work extends across the gauntlet of pop culture – from visual arts to [sonic experiments]( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdZ9weP5i68) – Ono’s most refreshing work lies in her recent collaborations.
Enter ‘I love you Earth’, a moving vocal duet between Ono and Antony, and ‘Blink’, an intense avant garde piece with John Zorn. Both of these tracks form part of an impressive series which includes other collaborations with tUnE-yArDs, Iggy Pop, RZA, and Thurston Moore / Kim Gordon.
The songs were released on Feb 18th to celebrate Ono’s 82nd birthday in addition to the publication of her new book See Hear Yoko a compilation of black and white photos by rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen, with twenty-five years of interviews edited by Austin rock radio DJ Jody Denberg.
Milk Made’s Paul Bui catches up with the inimitable Ono to delve deeper into these collabs.
‘Love You Earth’ is a beautiful song. Tell us a bit about it.
There was no personal meaning behind it. One day, when I was walking in the park, the song just came to me with music and all. That’s how many of my songs have been made by me.
What was it like working with Antony?
Antony is an incredible singer. I thought it was such a blessing that he offered to sing my song.
The song is also part of a series of collaborative works. What was it like working with Iggy Pop?
I learnt a lot from experiencing his act in Meltdown. He is indeed one and only. His energy is incredible. It gives us all the kind of positive power, the very power you get from a rock concert.
How about Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore?
They are both power houses. It actually reminded me of John and me working together. Thurston and Kim were very protective of each other like John and I were. They never threw a mean word to each other. On a subconscious level, they must still love each other a lot. Well, that’s how I felt.
You’ve had such a long and colorful musical career. What has been the highlight?
It was all highlights. I think you will not believe this. But it was. I was lucky that I always worked with brilliant musicians.
How does your music inform your other artworks?
I keep them separate. The inspirations I get for art, music, are very unique in forms and in contents.
What musicians or artists are you digging at the moment and why?
I think my son Sean is getting to be quite a powerhouse. It’s good that he is doing his thing separately from me now.
Tell me about the book ‘See Hear Yoko’… why did you decide to release this?
When I went through the pages, I realized that it was not just me, but John and me doing things together. I just wanted to share that with John’s fans who never get it like this. I know they will be thrilled. So I told Bob Gruen I don’t mind if he released it. Bob and Jody were try to be decent about it, and wanted me to decide. But it’s their incredible effort that made this book…inch by inch. It’s amazing!
The book features 25 years worth of interviews. Of all the interviews you’ve done, what is one question you wish you were asked… and why?
Jody is a very thorough interviewer. He covered it all. I have no complaints.
[’I Love you Earth’]( https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/antony-yoko-antony-yoko-ep/id957881133) and [‘Blink’]( https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/john-zorn-yoko-ono-single/id957875953) are out now through Chimera Music.
See Hear Yoko is out now through Harper.
Photo by Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon.