"I’ve fallen out of love with nightlife but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have sex with it, you know what I mean?"
As we now know, life on the road isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But we’ve all been there, lost in our own picturesque dream of rock ‘n’ roll bohemia: the screaming fans, late night soirées and glamorous debauchery. Strip away the inflated expectations, though, and what are you actually left with? Badgering journalists, perpetual jetlag and countless lonely hotel rooms. It’s a reality worth ignoring, but French Canadian electronic artist Marie Davidson wants a chance to set the record straight.
She’s just set off on tour, and from now until Christmas she will play shows in more than ten different countries. The run marks the arrival of her new album, ‘Working Class Woman’, and for someone who hates the necessity of lugging her work around the world with her, Davidson radiates a deeply calming presence. Sitting in the sterile lobby of her London hotel, she explains: “The biggest struggle is the constant travelling. I’m in airports all the time. Four to six flights every week, sometimes even more. The airport and hotel life is very isolating. I feel alienated all the time.” It’s a sobering sentiment and one you wouldn’t expect from ‘a dream come true’.
Her voice is soft and delicate, so much so that I’m worried the music coming from the inbuilt speaker overhead will drown out the interview recording on my shitty phone mic. Yet when giving her thoughts on a different kind of work schedule – the nine ‘til five that most of us endure – her stance unmistakably sharpens. “It’s just so crushing and I find it deeply depressing. It works for a certain type of person, and in that respect, I have nothing against it at all. But it doesn’t work for everyone and we can literally see it. People all around are unhappy, depressed and stressed out.”
It’s everyone’s predetermined path that pisses Davidson off. You go to school, then you work, then you retire and then you die. Our bleak existence summed up in one miserable sentence. Is it too much to ask for an alternative that doesn’t leave anyone feeling inadequate? “People are fully encouraged to work but also shamed if they don’t,” she says. “Anyone could end up on social welfare just because of bad luck. It could be personal issues, poor health or you just lost your job because your company closed down or whatever. There’s so many ways you could end up on welfare but there shouldn’t be any shame or guilt connected to it. No one can be proud to say they are on benefits.”
And for those of us who are lucky enough to be employed…
“If you do have a job, it becomes your identity. Hi I’m Carol, I’m a store manager. Hi I’m Jack, I work in IT World. It’s sad because people only define themselves by their jobs. I do it too sometimes. I don’t jump to it immediately but if people ask me, I reply, hi, I’m Marie and I make music.” Whether she knows it or not, Davidson is of course privileged to be able to say, ‘I make music for a living.’ But just like Jack from IT World, she doesn’t want a job to define her own identity.