After days – weeks – months – a lifetime of creeping our way through Ezra Furman’s internet personality and record history, we had the honour of meeting our everyday-hero in real life. After an alcoholic beverage, a thousand times of going through the prepared questions and a lot of “Everything is going to be all right” in front of the mirror, we managed to meet Ezra in the kitchen of our beloved Keller Klub, Stuttgart.
Marsmädchen: To start off, the first question is quite an easy one, we guess: would you rather wear lipstick or a necklace?
Ezra Furman: Woah, you think that’s easy? Let me think about that. I guess it depends on the necklace and the lipstick. I started to wear lipstick first, so I’d probably choose that. It’s more a signifier of femininity. Plenty of masculine guys wear necklaces, but lipstick – there’s not too many ways to see that as a masculine accessory.
MM: Do you own a lot of them? Are you a collector?
EF: Maybe five or six, I use to throw them all in a back and don’t really keep track of them. I’m really sloppy about everything I do, that includes lipsticks.
MM: Are you collecting anything else?
EF: I have a little vinyl record collection going, but that’s the only thing. I don’t have so many personal possessions, I’m more of a minimalist. Maybe because I have never made my home for very long in one place.
MM: Is that because you’re a lot on the road or because you do not want to settle down?
EF: It’s mostly because I keep travelling a lot. I’m working on a fixed home (laughs). It’s hard for me, I leave town so much and there are always reasons to move here and there.
MM: If you met someone new and they have never heard of you or your music. They don’t know anything about your art, but ask you to show something of what you do, but you are only allowed to make them listen to one song – which one would it be?
EF: I wonder.(Thinks about it for a long time) That’s a good question. I want to get in the idea that I’m a good writer and that I have a lot of insane energy, so I would choose something like Tell ‘Em All to Go to Hell. That’s like throwing a bunch of words that are carefully written at you, but it’s all in a furious torrent.
MM: Is that a song you can identify with right now or is it rather related to your overall situation?
EF: I don’t know if you do any philosophy, but is there ever a time in your life that isn’t -. Who you are is always bound by your situation, right? Some people think that there is a person that they are and they will always be, their deep soul. I don’t know about that, maybe it’s true – maybe it’s not. Whatever situation I’m in always gets very deep in some way. I don’t know if you can seperate those two things. The fact that I’m in a band, travelling a lot, has really become who I am in a deep way. Sometimes, I wonder about the fact that I’m so committed to the idea that I’m a wandering person and the human soul is a wandering thing that should never stop moving and changing. But is this just because that’s the life I live, is that really true and is that really true about me? Could I stay in one place for twenty years? I don’t know.
MM: It’s also hard to find out, right? If you stay in one place for such a long time and then realize it was the wrong decision, you spent 20 years on nothing.
EF: Well, it might actually be not that bad to stay somewhere for so long. Most people do that at some point. I might try that out.
MM: What was the first music poster hanging on your wall?
EF: I didn’t have any in highschool. When I went to university, I got some, because I guess you’re supposed to get posters. So I got The Strokes which was a band that really changed my life. It was an important band for me. Also, I got a poster of The Who and maybe of Louis Armstrong. Oh, and there was one of John Lennon. I don’t know when I got which one, but I still have the John Lennon one. I don’t know what happened to the other ones. It’s hard to keep track of them. You have to move, roll them up, find something they fit into and then they get all crumpled. I got the records, I care more about the music than images.
MM: If you had to listen to the same song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
EF: I guess I’d choose something really long. That makes me think of my favourite long song. But it would be sad to never listen to Little Star by The Elegants again. (Thinks about an answer for a long time) Maybe I shouldn’t take these questions too seriously. I’m thinking about it so hard, I just wished I could remember the name of that Tchaikovsky tune I like, it goes: (sings the track). It sounds very dark, scary and intense and then it gets nice and pretty. I like Tchaikovsky. I’d like to be more into classical music, people seem to love it so much. I only know the famous stuff.
(Editor’s note: We found out, it is Piano Concerto 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23)
MM: Is there any question you are sick of hearing and don’t want to answer ever again in an interview?
EF: Yes, there is. There is some questions that are so off, that betray a whole way of looking at things that is so wrong that I ask myself “Why is that your question, where do you get your ideas?”
MM: Like “Where does your bandname come from?”?
EF: Well, nobody asked me why they are called The Boyfriends until now.
MM: Do you want to be asked?
EF: No, not really. (laughs) But yes, “Where do you get your ideas?” is a bad question. It seems like a lot of people ask me about how I dress lately and some of them ask about it in a way that I like and am fine with, but there is also people that make me feel weird. It makes me think that they think that it is some sort of gimmick or a way of getting people’s attention. Which it is not. It’s just how I like to dress, which they don’t have to know, I’m not mad that they don’t already know that because it might be an accessory. It’s just all on the tone. It can make a big impact as it is something I feel vulnerable about and it would be great if people would put a little thought into it before asking. They are still careless or casual about it. It’s hard to define what is offensive, especially if it is something you are a little touchy about. At the same time I do want to talk about that matter, because it is important to show people that do not know anything about humans being gender not-conforming what it is all about. I am glad to have those conversations in public for us. But then sometimes, I’m thinking to myself that there are other things about me that might be relevant.
MM: Talking of relevant things: Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
EF: No. Nothing. (laughs) I always try to take some time to remember that I’m going somewhere that is different from normal life, because it demands quite some presence of mind. I want to make the people listening feel like it’s the only time the songs are performed. No matter if we have been playing concerts many nights in a row or if we come straight from home.
MM: Thank you for your time, Ezra.
Photo Credits: Simon Binder