Questions Three

We talk with the honey-voiced songstress Neko Case

Neko Case

Off Broadway

Rock critics fall on top of each other to find the appropriate label for Neko Case. "Chanteuse," "diva" and "songbird" get tossed around by writers trying to capture the mixture of talent, gorgeous voice and striking red hair that Case brings to the stage, both as a solo performer and as a member of the power-pop supergroup the New Pornographers. I'll let her speak for herself.

JH: You were voted sexiest indie rocker [in Playboy Online] a while back ....

Neko Case: If we could not talk about that, that would be really helpful. No offense, but that's all anyone wants to talk about, and it didn't have anything to do with me. Basically, nobody will ever talk about your music if you talk about that. If you pose for it, everyone will talk about the fact that you were in Playboy all the time, but even if you don't pose for it, people still talk about it all the time. But really, I'm working really hard on records, and that was a long time ago.

What is something you'd like to talk about in an interview that no one's ever asked you?

Sometimes people will talk to me about it, but it never makes it into the article. The process of making music, and all the stuff that's involved, and how you can do all these things on an independent level. I take a lot of joy in the fact that I do pretty much everything. There's a lot of crazy mythology that goes along with music, and it sounds like it's really hard. Like the nebulous title of "producer" -- what does a producer do? It's all really pretty easy. It's a lot of manual labor, but if you trust your instincts, it's pretty easy and super-fun. More people should do it.

Help settle an argument between my girlfriend and me. My favorite song on your last album [Blacklisted] was "I Wish I Was the Moon." My girlfriend prefers "Running Out of Fools." Who's right?

One of them I wrote, and one of them I didn't ["Fools" is a classic torch song]. It's more fun to sing someone else's song. I'm sure "Running Out of Fools" is a better-written song, because I didn't write it. But there's no black-and-white in music. She can like one; you can like the other. It's good for tension later on, make-up tension. If it leads to making out later on, it's successful.

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