Yoko Ono is one of the most recognizable, successful female artists in pop culture today. In 2009, she released the album Between My Head and the Sky, produced by her son, Sean.
In the wake of the success of “Give Me Something,” Yoko’s fourth single in a row to reach #1 on the Billboard Dance Charts – no mean feat – I had the good fortune to catch up with her and talk a bit about her new place in the realm of dance music.
MC: Good afternoon Yoko, how are you doing? Where are you today?
YO: In my study: in my apartment.
MC: So the big news of the week is that your single, “Give Me Something (The Remixes)”, has reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Congratulations! Did you have any idea that this set of remixes would be so popular?
YO: I thought it would be popular, but didn’t know that it would go up to number 1!
MC: It’s a track originally from your and John [Lennon]’s critically-acclaimed 1980 album Double Fantasy. How did you choose this particular track for the remix treatment? How did it jump out to you that it would work well in other people’s hands?
YO: Because it’s a good track and also one song some people might remember…familiarity is a plus.
MC: Dance music seems a big change from the experimental, avant garde music you are known for. Were you ever worried about how your remixes would be judged by the public?
YO: I’m not so concerned about how it will be judged by anybody. First of all, you never know. Second, I always want to give my best at the time. This is the best now.
MC: What do you think John would have thought about these remixes and the importance of the dance music scene in popular music today?
YO: I am a rebel. I love the idea that I’m joining a relatively new field. I know dance music will get bigger and bigger. Because it’s a direct injection into your head and your body. Powerful stuff!
MC: On your three previous #1 dance hit single remixes, you’ve collaborated with some amazing names like the Flaming Lips, Basement Jaxx, and Pet Shop Boys. How did these collaborations come about?
YO: By knowing their incredible talent and loving their attitude in music.
MC: And on “Give Me Something” in particular, you worked with the Swedish DJ Stonebridge, Canadian electro duo Junior Boys, and Los Angeles producer Dave Aude, just to name a few collaborators. Quite a varied mix. How did they get involved with the remixes? I particularly like the Aude dub mix – do you have a favorite?
YO: I think what Junior Boys did with “Give Me Something” is incredible, I love it! I think it happened because of their love for the song. (NB: You can grab the Junior Boys’s remix at RCRD LBL here.)
MC: Since 2001 you have been releasing remixes to great audience response. What about these remixes do you think strikes a chord with people?
YO: These remixes definitely strikes a chord with people.
MC: Have you had the opportunity yet to be at a club, heard one of the remixes be played and witnessed the crowd’s reaction to it?
YO: I have been to several clubs. I thought people were reacting warmly.
MC: With the popularity of these remixes, are you going to stay on the dance music genre for a bit? Or can we expect a return to experimental / art rock (like in Between My Head and the Sky) with your future releases?
YO: I would love to release another CD of just dance music. In fact, it’s in the works already!
MC: What’s next for Yoko Ono? You’ve done so many great things in your career, from performance art to civil rights activism, from recording music to performing at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy in 2006. Is there something you haven’t done yet that you sincerely wish you could?
YO: Yes. To live forever in good health!