Exploding Star: A Minute With Joan as Police Woman

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For all her independent talk and revolutionary imagery, indie-rock goddess Joan as Police Woman maintains an oddly traditionalist streak. "For me the most subversive you can be these days," says the former Dambuilders' violinist born Joan Wasser, "is to be totally honest, and to really laud beauty." Certainly, her softly-sung and critically-acclaimed solo debut Real Life was a work of beauty. To no great surprise, her sophomore effort To Survive, released in June 2008, doesn't prove that Wasser's still got it; it proves she's only getting started. Joan as Policewoman took time out from preparing for her fall U.S. tour to talk with us about her eclectic style choices, inspirations, and what it's like just to be Joan.
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How would you describe your style?
Exploding star.
Is there a relation between your lyrics and your personal style?
I think I wear my heart and soul on my sleeve, so whatever I am feeling that day usually is revealed through my appearance. I'm usually combining male and female in some way.
When you head out on the road, what are the five style essentials you can't go without?
My leather cap, my white-fringed Cuban-heeled cowboy boots, my Judi Rosen knickers, my purple CHIC t-shirt, and way too much gold jewelry.
Who are your style muses?
Old Gregg from the Mighty Boosh, my stylist friend Karen Levitt, Betty Davis (Miles Davis' lady), Louis Schwadron from Violet, who seems to have the best style without trying at all (and he's a straight boy!), Jimi Hendrix, Peter Tosh, and Nina Simone.
When you get dressed in the morning, what are you usually thinking or trying to put together?
I am really trying to be comfortable but that's a loaded deal already. "Comfortable" means a style that is tough enough to deal with New York City, but feminine enough to feel sexy.
You wear a Roman soldier helmet, some industrial-looking gold rings, and a pair of handcuffs in your "To Be Loved" video. What's behind that outfit.
Well, I am named after Joan of Arc so I've always been attracted to the style of the fight Really, I am just a survivor, it has nothing to do with my name. I am less combative these days but still feel like I am usually fighting some battle within myself. There is always the quest to find the best way to live life to the fullest. The opened handcuffs are an indication of the continual movement towards how to be more and more free. I think that I am attracted to armor because it is very super hero. Super heroes help others in magnificent ways.
A quote on your MySpace reads, "Beauty is the new punk rock." What does that mean to you?
That's really about how I still feel so punk rock but it is not obvious to anyone else (until they start talking to me) because I am pretty much a soul singer. I have angst. I have anger. I used to let it loose by listening to the Bad Brains. I still do sometimes. But these days, I just try to present my songs in the most beautiful context possible. There is enough ugly in the world. I want to move as many people as I can and now I just feel like gentleness is the way to do it.