Former girlfriend of Jeff Buckley and founding member of The Dambuilders, Joan As Police Woman frontwoman, Joan Wasser, is a pivotal cog in the ‘freak folk’ movement. Not A Hipster checked in with her and asked a few questions about her music and her style.
What were some of the inspirations for your new album, The Deep Field?
‘Stevie Wonder and how he creates songs from such a universal place; Marvin Gaye and how he creates songs that feel so good the second they hit you; Al Green and how he creates songs that sound so relaxed that he could have recorded them from his bed; the choice to be happy rather than cynical; the continuous push to make myself more vulnerable and therefore more happy; the idea of ‘doing’ rather than just ‘thinking’ all the time’.
You have such a unique style. Where do you find your clothes?
‘Almost entirely at thrift stores or vintage stores. I hardly ever buy anything new. From when I was very young, I was shopping at the Goodwill and Salvation Army. I liked that they had unique styles and clothing from other times that were fashioned
differently. Because I do a lot of touring, I get to check out the recycled clothes from all over. I can find the best stuff in the South (US.) but now that ‘vintage’ has become so popular, there are often amazing stores to be found all over the world’.
How would you describe your style?
‘Late ’70’s, early ’80’s glam chic psychedelic bohemian absurdest gypsy rebel powerhouse with a cause’.
How would you describe the relationship between fashion and music?
‘I would describe it as fascinating! The way music-makers express themselves externally has always been thrilling for me. Jimi and Bowie come to mind immediately, the way they tweaked the flavor of their music by the way they dress. Jimi was a tricked-out psychedelic butterfly with god-like power. Bowie was at one point a glam alien, at another, a deeply suave ultra-coiffed soul singer, and many many more. I will never forget when Avril Lavigne came on the scene and was styled as a “punk” because she wore eyeliner and black fingernails and she actually tricked certain folks (especially the ones who weren’t around when punk happened) into thinking she wasn’t just another pop tart. Playing with expectations is what is possibly most fun for me’.
When do you get the best ideas for songs and lyrics?
‘When both my brain and body are relaxed’.
What’s your favorite band to see live?
‘Prince, Neil Young and Krystle Warren’
What do you consider to be the perfect day in New York?
’75 degrees on my old 3-speed sauntering around town visiting friends and lying in the park people-watching’.
What item of clothing would you never be caught dead wearing?
‘A half shirt’.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
‘I had steel-cut oats with blueberries, blackberries, ground flax seed, maple syrup and cinnamon. Yum’.
Joan As Policewoman photo by Thatcher Keats