Ke$ha – the Beatweek interview: America’s favorite party girl gets Sleazy
March 15, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
“People always think I’m a party girl and that sometimes has a negative connotation,” muses Kesha Sebert, her first name more recognizable when there’s a dollar sign in the middle of it. “But really, the party for me is not about being fucked up. It’s about enjoying life.”
Even as Ke$ha spends her second year of fame touring the world and releasing a remix EP appropriately titled I Am The Dance Commander + I Command You To Dance, the mainstream pop star who managed to initially catapult her career with a guest vocal spot on a hip hop track back in 2009 is opting to do things her way in 2011. Plans for her sold out headlining tour are as weird as she wants them to be. “In my live show I perform a human sacrifice ritual every night,” says the Tik Tok singer, as if this is the kind of thing every pop star does on stage. “I also have a giant jumping man-sized penis with balls for feet. And I have costume changes and dancers and diamond-shaped spaceship where all my keyboards, drums and theremin are.”
What hidden messages the fans attempt to read into the tour’s symbology remains to be seen. Even a year after unleashing Your Love Is My Drug onto the airwaves, Ke$ha is still answering questions about the seeming throwaway line at the end of the song, where she giggles “I like your beard” for no immediately clear reason. It turns out there’s nothing to read into it. “I love beards,” she says. “I’m not being cryptic in the song. That’s exactly what I mean. If you have a beard, I support you. And I want to touch your beard with my hand or maybe my face. The longer and bushier the better.”
But those who believe that there isn’t more going on than that under the surface of the Los Angeles born, Nashville raised songstress have misread their woman. The dollar sign in her name, which admittedly started as a joke during a time in her career which saw her rising in popularity yet still financially broke at the time, has since become a symbol she’s taken ownership of in popular culture. “The dollar sign is a symbol for money, which means it’s a symbol for power. I’ve somehow manipulated that sign to now equal fun and debauchery.” But lest the girl with the party reputation get too serious, she quips “I am so money, I am the new global currency.”
While the new release Dance Commander is largely a collection of remixes of her existing songs, fans are also having their say in the form of a long awaited studio version of Fuck Him He’s a DJ, which has long been popular in her live set but could only be found in bootleg fashion elsewhere. “I love DJs and I love that song. When I do it in my live show I play guitar. It’s been a fan favorite for a long time but no one could buy it anywhere.”
That’s right, Kesha Sebert plays the guitar too. That part of the plot, the fact that a rising pop star doesn’t get this far this fast without being smart about it and working her ass off to make it happen, can too easily get lost amidst the veneer of a self effacing Twitter handle like “keshasuxx” and a signature lyric like “The party don’t start til I walk in.” But all while painting her image as a party girl, Ke$ha is busy not only writing her own songs but also penning the latest Britney Spears single. “At my core I’m a songwriter,” she says. In the past she’s written for Miley Cyrus and the Veronicas.
Blink and you’ll sometimes miss it, but her serious side is there. Asked why she’s taken to frequently draping herself in the American flag during her live acts and photo shoots (see the cover of this issue), and you’ll get a thoughtful answer. “I exercise freedom of speech in every facet of my career. For me that’s one of the main things the American flag stands for.” But for every serious moment in the Ke$ha experience, there’s another in which she feels compelled to share with me the fact that “most of my favorite things start with the letter B. Beards, boys, boobs, babes, beer, boots and boners.”
An enigma? Perhaps. But then that’s part of the fun. In her fifteen month recording career, Ke$ha has cranked out one full length record in Animal, a nearly full length EP in Cannibal, and now the Dance Commander EP – a pace which suggests her next full length album may not be all that far off. While she’s predictably evasive about whether the next record will deliver more of Animal and Cannibal or evolve into new territory, joking that it may ultimately be a heavy metal polka affair she had no hesitation about sharing the title of her next album with me: Spandex on the Distant Horizon.
In the mean time fans will have to get their Ke$ha fix from the current tour (if they bought their tickets early enough) or from her new single Blow. The video for the song continues in the self effacing tradition, with James Van Der Beek referring to her as “Ke dollar sign ha” after she tags him as Vanderdouche. Can you get away with saying that last part on MTV? We’re about to find out.
But lightheartedness aside, Kesha Sebert has something serious to say about her song. “I love that I say ‘we’re taking over’ in it because my fans and me have me have started a cult. We’re misfits of society but we’ve banded together and we’re starting a revolution. We are taking over. So get used to it.”