July 30, 2008
Antigone vs. (M)antigone
The first single from Antigone's forthcoming album is out now. More Man Than Man has started showing up on hardcore dance blogs, which is a good sign that the word is out. Juicy pop stomper though it is, it seemed to me there was a message in the lyrics.
XO: What's the inspiration for the new single? I will take the male point of view and say that the guy in it sounds like he can't win, because on the one hand the woman assumes he's going to leave and never come back, but later she implies that she wants him to leave. Is this is a "war of the sexes" song in the sense that we are conditioned to assume what the other sex wants?
Antigone: More Man Than Man is precisely a war of the sexes type song, but it's as much about the complexity of one's own sex as the division between them. The way I always try to approach writing about something more existential in my songs is to paint a picture which is vivid and personal that sits on top of the deeper darker stuff. Most people don't notice the undercurrents though, I don't think, much to my chagrin!
XO: I hear "her" singing and I'm like, "You want me to leave, you want me to stay... WHAT!?"
Antigone: I suppose I wanted to articulate a common legend in today's sexual landscape: girl meets boy, girl and boy become friends. Platonic friendship develops into that of the fuck-buddy variety, where occasionally girl and boy get drunk or trashed and fall into bed, hence the opening line "I woke up to find you in my bed again." Girl discovers that for a small period after sexual interactions, boy becomes an idiot and ignores her, getting all annoying and teenagery and treating her like a skanky ho'. Girl then delivers sexy sermon in form of 'More Man Than Man' to boy, to put it to him that actually, she doesn't want a relationship at all, and he should just be cool about their interludes and not be a rude prick (pun intended).
XO: Is she pissed because he is making assumptions about what she wants?
Antigone: She is totally pissed about him, and his sex or gender, making assumptions about what her sex or gender are perceived to want. In my own experience, women are often very cool about casual sex, indeed they seek it out in certain circumstances ("On my own I reserve the right to get my share"). It's a liaison that girl is demanding needs to be assessed on an individual basis, not a prescriptive one. The chorus really just consolidates all of this by asserting that a woman can have a higher libido than a man, and in that sense she can be more man than man. Only because that's the way that women and men have traditionally been pitted against each other, that men have insane libido's and woman don't.
XO: How does the video fit into all of this?
Antigone: I tried to tackle all this gender stuff with the video in a really simple way. We render total stereotypes of masculinity and femininity - suit, prom queen, club bunny, worker man - then splice them into each other like some kind of lo-fi video gene therapy. So if you look carefully, you'll see that they all end up wearing each other's clothes and taking on each other's characteristics, as well as mashing them all up in the middle section. And by dressing both the prom queen and the drag queen in exactly the same clothes (quite a feat as my darling friend Byron is 6"7 and I'm 5"3!), we're not actually saying that we're the same, but that we all have common elements. The way genetics is going, I'm sure male and female will be recognised as loose categories soon enough and the world will be a much better place for it. Certainly I feel I'm somewhere in the middle.
Antigone More Man Than Man:
You can buy More Man Than Man in various mixes at iTunes worldwide and other vendors. Check Antigone's myspace for more details.