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Joan Thoughts From Abroad
Ahead of her Electric Picnic slot Hot Press catches up with Joan Wasser — aka Joan As Police Woman. On the agenda? Musical adventures in Ethiopia, James Joyce’s love letters, falling for werewolves and news of a still-under-wraps collaboration.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 29 Aug 2011
It was February when we last had a proper chinwag with Joan. Back then, she was still riding high on the good vibes created by her effervescent fourth studio outing, The Deep Field. With a tonne of touring under her belt between then and now, the first leg of which she claims was her best ever live experience, the positivity is still flowing. Her Twitter page in recent months has read like a joyous shout out to every country she passes through and when you’re playing in the sun-baked likes of Italy and Southern France, who can blame her? On that note, she’s set to return to our wet, windy island in the middle of the Atlantic in September… “Haha, that’s right!” she laughs. “But it’s always such a pleasure to land on your cold rock. Because the feeling is always the opposite of that. It’s one of my favorite places to play. And then the Electric Picnic festival is really tops, as well.”
The last time she was on Irish soil, she proudly announced to the Dublin crowd that she’d just finished reading Ulysses. No mean feat, congratulations are definitely in order.
“Thank you very much! Well, let’s put it this way, I finished it in my own way. I don’t think I read every single word but I read most of them! It’s an amazing thing but I’m glad I don’t have to teach a class on it.”
When pressed Wasser is fairly adamant she’s not giving up the music game to become a lit professor, but she is clearly enamoured of Joyce. Has she had a read of his love letters to Nora Barnacle? Hilarious and filthy in equal measure – ‘graphic’ doesn’t even begin to cover it – they’re worth a Google.
“I have. I actually have the book! They’re wonderful. I feel like his is a pretty beautiful template for living in general. I’m a little bit disgusting, so I can relate. Would we have hit it off had our lives intersected? Most definitely!”
Gregarious, warm and just generally pretty lovely, you get the feeling Joan Wasser would hit it off with almost anybody. In the past, she’s had plenty of dark challenges to overcome and for a long time that fed into her music. Happily, the contented, soulful departure that is The Deep Field finally seems like the right fit for the violinist-turned-frontwoman. She’s clearly still drawing from the buzz of exploring those songs onstage. What’s different this time around?