Christine And The Queens joined Hattie Collins on Apple Music 1 for Proud Radio as part of Pride month to talk about the release of his fourth album 'Paranoïa, Angels, True Love’. In an honest and open interview, Chris opens up about his relationship with Madonna, who is the narrator on the forthcoming album, and how her involvement on the album came to be. He also picks songs from key influences and inspirations including Bjork and Chaka Khan, and discusses his desire to collaborate with Lil Uzi Vert.
On how Madonna's involvement on the new album came to be…
Genuinely, the whole thing was insane which is the best thing because the record itself solidified in maybe less than a month. I was writing a new song every day. It was quite consistent and a wild journey. And as I was singing the song, a character was surfacing in the words, and I was like, "Oh, this is a character. Okay." Big Eye was the name I gave the character because it's this very all-encompassing, slightly worrying angel voice. Could be dystopian. I was thinking about Laurie Anderson song ‘O Superman’ as well, where you can't tell what the voice is and where does she come from. It's giving me Stanley Kubrick Space 'Odyssey' as well.
In fact, the idea of asking her was total delirium I had one night. Because we were working with Mike (Dean) on a song called ‘Angel Is Crying in my Bed’. When we work together with Mike, we are like 15 years old and we are teenagers. We do lots of different things.
We clicked on a video on YouTube that was a poem and it was a computer voice uttering it. And I was like, "Those tech guys literally took Madonna's imprint," because it sounded a lot like her. And I was like, "It's genius!" Because she's basically ingrained in everybody's subconscious. She's the voice of... She's the mother.
And I was like, "You know what would be a great flex?" to Mike. I was like, "That gives me Malcolm McLaren. If Madonna was just a stage character, it'd be brilliant." And also, it was like giving her a poem, a celebration of her, maybe giving her a different play field.
So Mike (Dean) picks up the phone right as I say it. Okay, that's swift. Okay, that's America then, right? She picks up, blue eyes, piercing blue eyes, so kind of on character anyway. And I pitch it fast like that, quite intensely: "I need you to be the voice of everything. I'm doing a psych-op opera, and it's kind of seventies, and it's by Tommy Wiseled, and you need to be this voice of maybe it's my mom, maybe it's the Queen Mary, maybe it's a computer, maybe it's everything."
And she was like, "You're crazy, I'll do it." And she did it swiftly again. I mean, she's good, so she understands good stories, and she just gave me the takes two hours after. I love the swiftness of it all because it was just like a dream. I didn't really overthink it. It was just dreamlike and happening.
On having dinner with Madonna afterwards…
Yes we had dinner after that actually. She's glorious and an intriguing entity. She's very present, very human. She's a poet for me. She's been so strong and grounded and human inside the pop journey, which is the masterpiece. Unequaled as well in the bending of patriarchy, in my opinion. I often describe her now as a British lord reincarnated in a woman's body to become a pop star just because it's a flex of storytelling. She's intriguing, quite uplifting.I think she's really cool. I loved her before as an artist and now I love also the intricate person she is. And she's very kind as well.
On the impact Bjork had on him growing up…
I don’t say it often but when I was younger, I was listening to a lot of Bjork. Bjork shaped my ears quite a lot and made me discover ...Through Bjork I discovered Tricky and Massive Attack. And the trip hop. Sprinkle Radiohead, classical music as well, like Vivaldi. Also, contemporary music, I loved Jocelyn Pook. So yeah, and then later on, Fever Ray, the Knife, I got very interested in electronic music as well and their approach to it.