They’ve played at two major London tourist attractions and are bigger here than in their own home town – no wonder Scissor Sisters call the UK their “spiritual home”. Ahead of two sold-out London dates, Scout London’s Dan Frost quizzes singer Ana Matronic on her favourite aspects of the city.
What’s the best show you’ve ever had in London?
Ooh, a tough one. We’ve had a lot of really good shows in London, but if I had to pick one I’d say our first Halloween gig at Brixton Academy, where we dressed up as characters from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. That was just this amazingly fun, really magical night. Halloween is collectively the band’s favourite holiday, so we asked people to dress up but we weren’t expecting the level that we received. We had a big screen in front of the stage, and when it dropped the crowd screamed when they saw what we were wearing and I screamed because about 95 per cent of the audience were dressed up in costume. It was amazing.
So is the Academy your favourite London venue?
I do love Brixton Academy because it’s a great blend of big and small. You feel like you’re in a big venue but you also really feel like people can hear you and you can touch people. We’re also one of what can’t be many bands who’ve played both the Tower of London and Trafalgar Square. Not many bands can say that, so that’s pretty amazing. I love looking at the Tower of London and going, ‘Yeah, I played that…whatever’.
You must get stopped in the street quite a bit. Do you have a favourite time that a London fan has approached you?
No, that doesn’t happen. People expect to see me dressed up as the cartoon character that I appear as on stage, but I can slip under the radar when I want to. My husband and I have been to Glastonbury a few times just as punters, and I’ve never been recognised. I’m a master of disguise – think Alias, the TV show. If I don’t want to be recognised, you will not see me – I won’t be the droid you’re looking for.
Ok, so when you’re in disguise in London, which nightspots do you like to frequent?
I’ve always had really good times at Dalston Superstore. Horse Meat Disco is always always always fun. And I love Madam JoJo’s. I’ve been to a lot of nights there and DJed there – it’s a nice blend of dancefloor and hangout space.
What other areas do you like to hang out in?
Portobello Market and Spitalfields Market, I love both of those areas. And I love Brixton, partly because it reminds me of Brooklyn. The same with Shepherd’s Bush. That’s where my friend Johnny lives and where I stay when I come to London independently. I love the different cultures and ethnicities that you see there. Those areas get a bad rap, but I’ve always lived in what people might classify as dangerous or seedy neighbourhoods. Maybe I gravitate towards them.
Do you have a favourite museum?
Definitely: the V&A. They have a very eclectic permanent exhibition but I also love the temporary exhibits they bring through, they’re so beautiful and inspiring. One I loved not so long ago was a collection of clothing from the Russian Royal Family. And I went with [band mate] Babydaddy to see one that was futuristic design in the 60s, which was really interesting and well-thoughtout. Ooh, and I love the Science Museum too – saw a great Alchemy exhibition there.
Is there a specific area where you think London has the edge over New York?
That’s easy: nightlife. Hands down. [Former New York Mayor] Rudy Giuliani saw to it that the nightlife/club scene in New York was seriously hindered, so we don’t have nearly as many balls-out, hands-in-the-air, shirtsoff nights as you do in London. It’s so much more fun over here. There are great irregular parties that happen in New York, but we don’t have big spaces like Fabric, where there are multiple rooms, all with a different flavour, where you can spend the whole night sweating and dancing your feet off. Those kinds of places don’t exist in New York anymore. It’s really sad.
What’s the craziest thing to have happened on one of your nights out in London?
Gee, I don’t know. I once got a piggyback ride from Beth Ditto. Ooh, I know: we performed with Pete Burns at The Cock shortly after the first record came out, and there was a guy there who would not leave him alone – this was before Celebrity Big Brother and all that. He was really bothering Pete, so I saw Pete literally take this kid by the scruff of the neck, take him to the back door, open the door onto the kid’s face and then throw him out the door. It was at that moment that I thought, ‘God damn, I am so glad that Pete is in my corner and I know never ever to cross him’. And then we danced and had a great rest of the night.
And one final thing that you love about London?
I love the general appreciation of eccentricity. In the States weirdness is seen as threatening, but over here it seems to be treated as interesting, and you cherish those people as ‘eccentric’ rather than just weird. Our success is living proof of your embrace of eccentricity.
October 23 & 24