“I’ve never been quite this excited about a record,” Amanda Palmer, the New York singer-songwriter and former leader of cabaret rock group Dresden Dolls, tells Billboard.com from Melbourne, Australia. It’s a city that she calls “incredibly fucking alive,” and the site of the creation her upcoming full-length.
Palmer has been down under since mid-March working on the follow-up to 2008’s “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” putting in 12-hour days to try and have a new album in stores by mid-September. “We’re making so many discoveries and creating so much stuff in the studio that it feels like a much more secret project that we then get to pull the curtain away from and unveil to the world,” says the 35-year-old singer.
Following her stint with the Dresden Dolls and a bitter divorce with Roadrunner Records, Palmer paved her own way with “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” which has sold 38,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, as well as a Radiohead covers album released through Bandcamp, personalized merchandise and an addiction to Twitter (she currently has over 538,000 followers). After tapping Ben Folds to co-produce “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” Palmer recruited John Congleton ( St. Vincent, Modest Mouse) to Melbourne to helm her first studio album in four years.
“Three or four years ago, John wrote me a fan letter one day, and said, ‘I love Dresden Dolls and I would love to work with you. What have you got planned?'” says Palmer. “Working with a new producer is always kind of a leap of faith. You can meet with them and you can even do some test sessions, which I did with John — kind of like, ‘let me date you before I actually get married to you for a record.’ But ultimately, you sort of do the math on a producer, and you say, well, they have these influences, they’ve made these records, they don’t seem like a crazy human being, and then you just jump in.”
Producer John Congleton in the studio (Photo: Jim Batt)
With Congleton and a full band joining her in the studio, Palmer says that the new songs are “super emotional. Some of them are kind of hard to figure out, and I can’t even figure them out… My songwriting has taken kind of a turn from the literal in a way that’s surprised me, because I’ve never been a very sort of folky literal songwriter. But, like a lot of my other albums, it’s kind of got a little but of everything.”
A physical version of Palmer’s next album will eventually be self-released, but the singer says that fans can expect most of the new music to come their way before that. “I’m going to be rolling this record as gradually via the Net,” she says. “I think the record itself — the physical object you will hold in your hand — is useful in a way to send to people, to sign my name on, to send to fans, to send to the New York Times so we can get a review. But, the record itself, the way I’m conceiving of it, exists as an entity online. Conceptually, it’s the way people are going to be listening to it.”