Our Lone Taxidermist SS20

By Jo Phillips

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We first fell in love with Lone Taxidermist when we saw her perform Trifle at the Lexington in early 2018. It was such a full-on immersive experience that we felt compelled to send her a necklace saying Trifle. She’s brave, exciting and her energy is inspiring.

When our guest editors put forward ideas of what they love and would like to see represented in the issue they included in their list The Lone Taxidermist aka Natalie Sharp, no problem we said, we are on it.

If you have not happened to have come across this multi-sensory performance act then you are in for a real treat. Here is their own description:

Lone Taxidermist is the utterly bizarre and otherworldly ruptured activity generated by Cumbrian musician, costume maker, skin decorator, performer and natural provocateur Natalie Sharp. Her performances manifest icons and deities drawn from the corners of the (Post-)Internet, with Sharp herself embodying and channelling ‘cake-sitting’ and new dominatrix tactics– all wrapped in plastic and smeared in whipped cream. Her performances have been known to turn audiences members into exhibitionists– tales transpiring of sensorial acts of gender-bending, food porn, and squelchy mass ritual. Sharp effortlessly blends ‘instrumentswhich come to hand– whether that be songwriting, multi-instrumentalist or mastery of non-standard instruments like musical saw and theremin, stagecraft, costumes, graphic art, video making, face painting, vocal technique, remixing and DJing.

Sharp has performed and created glorious and gory stage, costume and body concepts for Jenny Hval’s European tour, and worked live with Gazelle Twin as a performance artist and vocalist. Lone Taxidermist’s recent album Trifle– a synth-pop electro fusion threaded with Sharp’s distinct vocalisation– has been gaining ground due to Sharp’s driven approach described by The Quietus as “(a)n unholy amalgamation of Grace Jones, Ari Up and John Cooper Clarke, her vocal styles veer all over the place from stream of consciousness poetry in her Cambrian drawl to diva-esque wails and jarring harmonies”. Her new project BodyVice identifies with establishing interfaces between the human body and technology to create new sensory zones between performer and audience– and promises to be a mind boggling episode of industrial spandex and lactose noise.”

We at .Cent are lucky enough to have known Natalie for a very long time, and happen to know she is very keen on baked cheesecake so we asked her on behalf of the Tatty Divine ladies some questions which she kindly answers below:

How did your music career start?

Fifteen years ago my then-boyfriend bought me an acoustic guitar. I learned a load of music from the Bob Dylan song chord book. Then I started listening to blues which led to John Cooper Clarke which led to Madonna! I decided to set up a fake band called the bottomfeeders on myspace and would record Hank Williams remixes on Garageband recording through the mic on my computer. 

What music was most influential to you growing up?

Freddie Mercury. Mum brought us up on Queen. We broke dad’s vinyl copy of ‘ I wanna be evil’ by Eartha Kitt because of the phrase “I wanna throw mud pies.”

There is a lot of drama and presentation costumes etc in your performance. Why do you choose to express your self this way?

Because jeans and T-shirts are boring. The Idea is always to bury yourself in a 360 atmosphere and invite the audience in. 

What do you believe all of this brings to your performance for the viewer?

I want to believe that it brings them closer together in a chaotic sex magic melting pot. For them to be part of one gluttonous organ in sync with what is going on around them.

When you create new music what is your working practice?

It begins with a specific concept, whether that be a wet and messy cake fetish play or turning the spine into an instrument. I usually collect a lot of visual representations which I then translate into sound.

What do you feel you want to achieve going forward?

I want to be still and not move around as much, build something more permanent that audiences can move through in their own time. 

What is next for Natalie?

My future consists of more shows with BodyVice. My dream is to do something with the Wellcome Collection, a BodyVice installation!

London 4 p11

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