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INTERVIEW: Sasha Grey On Desertshore
Luke Turner , November 20th, 2012 08:04

The actress and noise musician discusses her vocal for Desertshore

As Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti explained to us last week, one of the criteria for choosing the vocalists for their completion of Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson's Desertshore album was as much to do with how people approached their life and work in relation to TG or Sleazy as it was music. In the case of Sasha Grey, an adult film star who has now moved into mainstream cinema and making music as half of the noise duo aTelecine, great parallels can be seen with Cosey Fanni Tutti's own work in the porn industry, art and music. Where aTelecine's work (listen to their albums on Spotify here) deals in fractured, unsettling sounds where any vocal is a mutter amidst the noise, Sasha Grey adopts a more forthright approach for her twisting and strange take on Nico's 'Afraid'. We spoke to Grey about her Desertshore collaboration.

Sasha, can you tell us a little of how you came to Sleazy's music, and Throbbing Gristle in general? What is the significance of it to you?

Sasha Grey: An every growing abundance of sound and self, that’s the essence. Luckily I had at my disposal, it was a treasure chest of musical introductions for me. The sonics an influence on aTelecine, that can't be denied.

Did you also have a relationship with the music of Nico? If so, what is it about her music that speaks to you?

SG: Nico has always been able to take me on a complete journey. Her ethereal voice, and timeless music is larger than life yet so gentle and spiritual. She doesn’t hide darkness and try to cover it with light, she exposes truths but the music always leaves me feeling calm and safe.

When I listen to Cosey's solo album Time To Tell and read the writing in the sleeve of that album, there seem to be parallels with your life and work involving pornography, responses to it, and then creating music. Has she been an inspiration to your work?

SG: Yes, and once I slowly began my exit out of porn, and became friends with Cosey, I think that’s where more of the magic happened. It’s interesting to compare our careers for sure, while I believe we had different goals set for ourselves… I definitely had a model to follow in her (and TG/Coil) they were some of the individuals that really inspired me not to hide from myself, and to take pride in all I aspire to create.

How did you get involved with Desertshore, and why 'Afraid'?

SG: Cosey and I had talked about collaborating for quite some time; when she and Chris decided to finish Desertshore, they asked me if I’d like to be involved. Naturally I had to do a track that was sung in English, haha; after choosing three songs, ‘Afraid’ was the final selection.

How did you approach doing the vocals for 'Afraid'? You've given it quite a twist away from Nico's. Was it a challenge to do?

SG: Yes of course! Nobody has a voice like Nico. Yet in true X-TG/Carter Tutti fashion the music was a completely unique take to the original. After a few takes I remembered what Cosey said to me by email…it was something along the lines of 'don’t worry about matching the original, as we will continue to develop the music, so it won’t even sound like the backing track you hear now'. Eventually I just ended up singing Temptations, Beatles and Love and Rockets songs to get my nerves all worked out… stepped back in without reservations and sang the lyrics as I felt them come through me… similar to some of my favorite acting exercises actually!

Desertshore / The Final Report is released next Monday, November 26th on Industrial Records. Chris and Cosey will be doing a Q&A about the album the next day (27th) at Rough Trade East, London.