"It’s difficult to say if there is a difference between Brian Warner and Marilyn Manson. I find that on the contrary, there is more of Marilyn Manson on the album than any of my other records. You know, I’d started to lose my identity last year. It’s definitely one of the reasons why I’d almost stopped making music; I was telling myself that Marilyn Manson isn’t a good thing to be, essentially because of my relationship at the time. I was made to feel that I had to be more mature and responsible, everything that comes with being a married man but in the end just didn’t suit me. And so, putting myself into the album helped me to feel like myself again. I don’t know what you can call that, but I would say that the album is a true representation of who I really am."
On your previous albums, you were always hidden behind characters, without weaknesses. Was it difficult for you to display your vulnerability on EMDM?
I have to confess that it was difficult to do. I tried for a year to write songs, but nothing came out. But once I’d started to write bits and pieces last November, everything happened very quickly. The album was finished in January/February. If I had known before that I was capable of doing that, I would have without a doubt done it for all of my albums. But on the other hand, I’m happy to have waited, because it makes this record even more special.
It’s special because it essentially talks about love. To understand the significance of these new lyrics, could you tell me if they were written after your split with Dita Von Teese?
During and after. The album was written as if it were my private journal. It begins at the first song where I say “6AM, Christmas morning”, and it is actually then that it was written. There is both a story side and a side saying what’s happened to me personally on the album, which I’ve never done until now in my songs.
On the track “They Say That Hell’s Not Hot”, you say "I killed myself in small amounts / In each relationship it's not about love / it's just another funeral / It's just another girl left in tears”. Do you think that the Antichrist cannot love?
I don’t know. The album is part tragedy and part romance. Having found a girl who is as tragic as me made me understand that, as unhappy as I was that my marriage was dead, at least I myself wasn’t dead (sorry, couldn’t translate that part very well). The album talks about the discovery of love, but also the act of killing love at the same time.
In “If I Was Your Vampire”, you talk about cannibalism in a very romantic way. Do you think that a relationship is something which devours people?
Yes. And at the time of writing, I had never wanted to be devoured, only to devour someone else. The best way to describe how I felt was to do it through the album. In general, I write songs which are more conceptual than descriptions of my emotions, but this time, the lyrics really say what I feel.
In “Just A Car Crash Away”, you say “Love is a fire that burns down everything”. Have you been consumed by love?
I was and I still am, but the situation is different now. I am in love with a girl at the moment, but it’s completely different. I was in a state of mind where I wanted to let go, and it’s only when I met someone else who wanted to die with me, literally I think, that I didn’t want to any more. I told myself that I’d found someone who could go to Hell with me (laughs).
In ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses”, you talk about a girl with blue eyes. Is it that girl who you are in love with at the moment?
Can you tell us who that is?
Evan Rachel Wood. She’s now my girlfriend. She’s younger than me. The song title is a joke between myself and her about Lolita, a book which had a big influence on the album. The author is Vladimir Nabokov, who also wrote “L’Invitation Au Supplice”, a major work which has inspired me a lot.
Was choosing “Heart-Shaped Glasses” as a single a way for you to talk publicly about who you love?
Not really. Honestly, I found it hard to choose which track would be the single. Personally I would have preferred “Putting Holes Into Happiness”, but I’m not disappointed, because I would have had any track as a single. Generally, my romantic songs are violent and sombre, but I think that HSG is deceptive in the sense that it sounds very pop with lyrics which are everything but upbeat.
You recently worked with James Cameron on the video for the first single. I’ve heard that there are a lot of naked girls in the video...
Yeah... there was a lot of controversy, because it was considered as bordering on pornography. There are effectively lots of naked girls, but the aim was only to create an atmosphere. I tried to make it very cinematic with the theme of romance which is present from start to finish. There is one scene which unrolls in a room in the form of an artery, it makes me think of being inside the heart. I can’t tell you the rest because I haven’t seen the final result yet, but it will without a doubt be very impressive because we used 3D technology which James Cameron invented. But he was actually only there for one day out of four days of filming.
Why choose James Cameron? Is it because he made a controversial documentary about the tomb of Jesus?
It was a good coincidence, but the main reason is because he invented the new 3D technology.
I’ve read that you will work on a film together, is that true?
No. There were lots of rumors because I wanted to make a film based on EMDM. “If I Was Your Vampire” even inspired a scene for me. The day I wrote it, I also wrote down an idea for a film.
Can you tell me about that?
Everything is mixed up, but Evan Rachel Wood will be featured. It’s about the love between me and her, just like the song. It’s a lot like ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and ‘True Romance’. I drive a car over a cliff and it rains blood (smiles).
This isn’t the first time that your albums have inspired a film. Around the Holywood era, you announced that you would make a feature-length film. What became of that project?
Unfortunately, I could never make that happen because the plot was too violent and I couldn’t make it how I wanted. It’s based on the theme of kids, guns and violence, in response to the Columbine massacre. I don’t think that it will ever happen because I would have to do it in a different way. The idea behind the film about EMDM is very autobiographical, it’s almost me playing myself. I think that it will happen very soon...
Autobiographical from the point of view of Marilyn Manson or Brian Warner?
I’ve never considered things in that way. You know, no-one around me calls me ‘Brian Warner’, so I see myself basically as Marilyn Manson.
Talking about your cinematic work, there is also ‘Phantasmagoria’. Where are you with this project?
I was supposed to start filming when the album was being written, but as EMDM was almost finished, we decided to wait until the end of the tour before we start. It’ll be done in France, probably in October.
To go back to EMDM, I sense a lot of Tim Skold’s influence. What was his role?
Greater than mine on the music side of things, that’s clear. He played guitars, bass and keyboards.
Could you say that he’s become the ‘No2’ in Marilyn Manson?
I get the impression that there is a strong link between you. How would you describe your relationship with him, compared to his predecessors?
I think he’s the only one to have been around me long enough to properly understand me and to write music which does justice to the lyrics that I’ve written, as well as my vocals. He co produced the album with me. It’s him who, one day, when I was telling him what was happening in my life, said “Why don’t you talk about it in your songs?” For this album I reached further when singing, it was done very naturally. We went into the house I moved into at the end of last year, and I shut myself in a room, lay on the floor and sang like that. A lot of the tracks on the album are using the first vocal takes.
The fact that you lay on the floor to sing explains the despair felt on the record.... did it help you to make the album?
Yes, it’s the only thing which really helped me. You can hear the change it makes on the album. The songs are pretty much in the order that they were sung. I started with IIWYV and finished with EMDM.
Let’s talk about the artwork. What will the album booklet look like?
The cover is a photo of me taken in a room in my house. Now I’m selling that house to go live somewhere else, because there is too much past in there. The walls are covered in blood, it’s very hard to describe, it’s a very dark photo. It’s very personal, like the record. Inside the booklet, there are documents and personal papers, photos of the notebooks which I wrote lyrics in. You can see the creative process and the first discarded and replaced lyrics. I think that it’s a good representation of the way the album was made.
In June, you’ll be touring in France. How will you interpret your personal songs onstage?
I think that this tour will be more glam rock and gothic, maybe a bit reminiscent of the Mechanical Animals tour. It’ll be very theatrical, and I’ve involved the artistic director who worked on David Bowies ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour. The albums I listened to while writing this album were things like ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince and ‘Scary Monsters’ by Bowie. I wanted to concentrate on the rock star side, being a singer. I think that for this tour, I will never have placed so much emphasis on stage performance...