Besides playing hazy night club dance music with her musical alter ego LA Vampires, Amanda Brown also writes books and runs no less then two record labels. One of those labels happens to be prolific dance imprint 100% Silk, home of artists such as Ital and Maria Minerva. In May she is taking both the label as well as her live act on tour across Europe, so we decided to give her a call and talk about her new book, feminism, guilty pleasures and online shopping.
“I don’t feel guilty about anything I take pleasure in.”
First off, do you have any guilty pleasures?
I don’t feel guilty about anything I take pleasure in. I hate it when people say: ‘Oh, Britney Spears is my guilty pleasure.’ I say, own it. It’s stupid, but own it.
Do you ever experience shame?
Whoa, that’s heavy. I feel ashamed when I think about when I was a teenager. I didn’t start loving myself until my mid-twenties, for sure. I wish I’d pushed myself harder to do anything other than watch movies and read books. I never went outside or played an instrument. I was a dork.
When did you start making music, then?
Britt sort of forced me . He still forces me actually, because he knows I’ll give up. Maybe I’m guilty of quitting. Ha ha, maybe quitting is a guilty pleasure.
What would be the pleasure in quitting?
I could focus more on my writing. I like to do what I’m best at. I like to be the best. And music is not me at my best, it’s me trying insanely hard, ha ha.
What are you writing?
I just signed a two-book deal. The first one’s coming out in July.
Whoa, I didn’t know that.
No one does. It’s a good little secret.
If music is something you have to try hard at, then is writing something that comes naturally?
Writing is hard in a different way. If it’s a cliché to say something is ‘what you were born to do’, then I’m that cliché when it comes to writing. Music is a non-stop struggle; writing has more highs. And it’s a solo sport.
Do you enjoy working by yourself?
I don’t! That’s why I’ll never be a true solo artist. I don’t know why people navel gaze to intensely. It’s the rise of the solo artist now, bands are a thing of the past. It’s ego-striking mania.
What do you write about?
Being a teenager.
Ah, that era of shame.
Yeah, I’m working through that shame. The novel is about young feminism. About embracing being a girl and turning your back on the idea of what girls say and do. I didn’t care what anyone said when I was fifteen.
Do you think that’s different for young girls nowadays?
I think everything’s different for everyone these days. Thank God I grew up in the ’80s. Literally I thank God every day I didn’t grow up with the Internet.
Is your novel set in the ’80s as well?
It’s loosely set in the ’90s.
Is there any music in it? Some grunge maybe?
Yeah, grunge for sure. And heyday rap. ’94 had the best rap. When I hear ‘Motownphilly’, that’s got to be like when my mother hears Carole King or some shit. My mother only likes the early Beatles. I think it’s so tasteless and weird, but it reminds her of her childhood, so who cares?
I was just thinking, here in Holland feminism has turned into something to feel guilty about.
I should hope Dutch women claim feminism, they’re wonderful. I lived near Nijmegen for half a year, back in 2000. All I could say was ‘dankuwel’. I sounded like an ass, but a polite ass.
Is the way you look and dress part of being a feminist?
For sure. 100 per cent. I believe in sexiness. I have to project what I think is sexy and that is something a bit androgynous, something that is stern and modern.
What is feminism going to be like in the future?
It’ll be more about an inner strength than a movement, which is wonderful and sad.
So once again, it’s about going solo.
Solo is the future, I’m afraid. We’re all separating.
But isn’t the Internet bringing us together?
No no no no.
Should we all get rid of our computers?
No! How else will we do our online shopping?
What are your earliest memories of guilt and pleasure?
I was always talking back to my mother, always getting in snips and last words. My father is dead, and she meant the world to me. So when I was cruel to her, it would feel awful. I know every once in a while my mother thinks: I gave birth to an asshole.
Does your mother have any guilty pleasures?
Salty foods, gossip, conservative news programmes, shoe shopping.
Sounds like a very normal woman.
Yes, that’s feminism at work. Embrace your inner shoe shopper. I just wish women were more unapologetic about it.
Thank you for your time.
Of course, thanks for yours.
LA Vampires play during the 100% Silk Label night at OT301 in Amsterdam on 31 May. The Show is free for Subbacultcha! members.