Our crush this week is musician Nicole Marxen, one of the shiny dark innovators behind glam rock band Midnight Opera. The singer and synth player's onstage showmanship follows the concept band’s high-drama, ever-changing narrative. The artist, muse and costume queen's appeal is transporting, taking us through the ages and many places. Here’s why we love her.
Describe your personality in one album and one fictional character.
I am Brian Eno’s Here Come The Warm Jets crossed with (Beetlejuice's) Lydia Deetz.
What’s one thing that you constantly tell yourself?
In reference to creativity, I love “argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
Which game show do you think you could win?
I don’t know if I could win, but I’d be a contestant on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, especially if it were hosted by Simon Amstell.
What project are you most excited about right now?
My solo debut is coming out later this year! I cannot wait to share it.
Who’s your woman crush in the music scene?
I’ve got lady crushes for days. Lorelei K, Leah Lane, Kennedy Ashlyn. My newest crush is Katie Puryear from Doomfall.
What are some thoughts that obsess you? And some that delight you?
Writing music is both obsessive and delightful. When I finally hit my stride working on a new song, I’ll know I’m on the right track when I can’t turn it off in my head.
When are you truly satisfied with your day?
When I’ve done these three things: felt wonder or gotten lost in the creative process, had a meaningful connection with another person and also plenty of alone time.
What’s a subject you hope comes up in conversation because you have so much to say about it?
In the past year, I’ve grown very passionate about gardening. The amount of dopamine it continues to fire off in my brain is astounding.
What's your oddest habit?
I have a disorder called BFRB (Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors), so I actually have a few. The most odd one is that I chew on my tongue.
What most fascinates you about mankind?
Our stubbornness, but also our capacity for love.
Are there any (English) words that you can’t say because you dislike the way they sound or because you can’t pronounce them?
To be honest, because I’m an introvert, there are days when I fear all words.
Tell me the last song you looked up — especially if it's embarrassing.
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics
What was happening the last time you felt like your life was incredible?
Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Scandinavia to celebrate my 30th birthday. On our final day in Bergen, after what had already been a great day of hiking, we were walking down the street and I saw Gaahl (from Gorgoroth and Gaahls WYRD) getting off the train. I found out that him and his partner own an art gallery that was close to the place we were staying, so I went. I got to meet him and see his beautiful paintings. It was the best day ever.
Tell me something that bothers you for no good reason.
I think it’s a pretty good reason, but binge television culture really irks me. Like smartphones, I think it’s doing really bad shit to our brains that we have yet to realize the consequences of.
Would you rather be able to plan your last words or your last meal?
I’d like to think I’d plan my last words, but I’m hungry, so last meal it is.
What's your favorite invention? What is yet to be invented?
Indoor grow lights have enabled me to have almost 100 plants inside my house.
I'd like a tracking device for socks, or some kind of contraption to keep the pair together in the wash.
Which movie (or series) would you like to be trapped in?
Phantom of the Paradise.
Tell me a fun childhood anecdote.
With the family camcorder, I created a show in my bedroom that I called "Autopsy." I set up my trundle bed as the autopsy table, stuffed a bunch of pillows underneath a sheet with a wig peeking out, and used one of those wooden back-scratchers as the person’s hand to show what stage of decomposition they were in.
What’s your biggest cause?
Making art. It doesn’t even really matter to me what medium, as long as I’m using as much of my time to do so.
Name the smallest thing that makes you happy.
Starting my day early. I love how quiet and peaceful mornings can be.
If you could spend a few hours with anyone in history, who would it be, and what would you be doing?
I’d love to cook dinner for Bowie.
What non-material things do you collect?
I collect totems from places I visit, rocks and leaves mostly. I'll use the rocks as decor and the leaves as bookmarks. My most cherished item is a tiny pine cone from Ingmar Bergman's house.
What’s one song you play when you feel like being sad?
Pretty much anything by Cat Stevens, but "Wild World" is a good one. My mom used to blast it when she was having a bad day and we’d sing it together.
What’s one thing you did with your friends as a kid that you wish adults would still do?
I wish that adults would nurture their creativity the way that children do. I don’t think that desire ever goes away, it just gets buried. It’s something I’m constantly struggling with as an artist.
What’s something you’ve been told about yourself that made you laugh?
That I was intimidating.
What makes you feel like you’re an old soul?
I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with people older than me rather than those in my age range.
And what makes you think you’ll never grow up?
The fact that my brain operates like an episode of The Mighty Boosh.
What’s one thing you’ve yet to try?
Shaving my head. I love the idea.
Finish the sentence: You know you’re my friend if I ...
You know you’re my friend if I start talking in strange voices around you.
What’s one book that you wish you could erase from your memory so you could go back and read it for the first time?
Reading Devil in the White City for the first time again would be great. It was the gateway that led to my love for true crime.
What question do you love to be asked?
Would you like Indian food?
And what’s the answer?
The answer is always yes.