Tag Archives: Liisa Ladouceur

Part II Of Exclusive Liisa Ladouceur interview, Canada’s First Lady of Goth

Goth seems better accepted now than it’s ever been – would you agree, and if so, do you think there are any potential pitfalls to such acceptance?

I would agree that the typical Goth style has become more acceptable, at least in North America and Western Europe. How many Vogue spreads have featured haute gothic fashion stylings? How often do pop stars turn up in black hair and Morticia Addams type dresses on the red carpet? More than ever. If this means young people aren’t hassled at school for dressing like Dracula or turned down for jobs because they have wacky hair and skull jewellery, I’m all for it. The world is in general a rather beige and boring place, and can’t see why a wider embrace of the dark aesthetic would have a drawback. I’m really not precious or protective of it, although many Goths are. In fact, I wish Goth was even more accepted, so that young people in the Middle East and Latin America and the rest of the world could express themselves as well without harassment.

Most agree that Goth should be fun, but can you cross a line where it all becomes too camp and trivial? Is there a serious point to it all?

Of course it’s serious. It’s a part of one’s identity, a source of pride and passion. But if you are going to go outside at the height of summer in a velvet mourning cloak and two tonnes of eyeliner, you had better be able to laugh at yourself.

What positive impact has Goth had on your life personally over the years?

Well first off the music changed my life, for the better. After seeing Love and Rockets, The Cult and the Cure on television a whole new world opened up to me – punk and new wave and noise and industrial and all the rest. That has been the soundtrack to my adolescence and adulthood and I suspect will be my funeral playlist as well. I learned to be a writer and editor by publishing a Goth fanzine, which connected me to fascinating people from all over the world. The fashion we call Goth has given me the opportunity to indulge my obsessions with death, romance, fetishism and rebellion in a way that simply reading scary stories at home by candlelight never could. Most importantly, it gave me the perfect excuse to write my first book, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. Which, if that whole “meet and marry a vampire” thing works out for me, may prove to be a very long time indeed.

Encyclopedia Gothica is published by ECW and available from all the regular book outlets.
To further explore Liisa’s world, check out her website at http://www.liisaladouceur.com/

Liisa Ladouceur interview, Canada’s First Lady of Goth

Liisa Ladouceur, Canada’s First Lady of Goth

We’ve recently found ourselves engrossed in Encyclopedia Gothica, an A-Z of all things dark and beautiful by the Canadian journalist, poet, DJ and dedicated Goth Liisa Ladouceur. A witty insider’s guide to the scene, the book features over 600 spooky entries, from ‘Absinthe’ to ‘Zombies’, with eerie artwork by the talented Toronto illustrator Ghoulish Gary Pullin. Of course, Liisa includes an entry for the Alchemy design studios, which we took as an ideal opportunity to turn the tables, and check out just how many Goth points Liisa has…

The ‘What is Goth?’ question has become something of a faux pas in many Gothic circles – why do you think this is and what inspired you to grasp this particular nettle?

You can’t avoid it! The general public and insiders alike seem perplexed by what exactly this whole Goth thing is. I was recently stopped in the supermarket of my small hometown by a friend of the family who wanted to know if it was a religion, a cult. That was a fun exchange of ideas. Goths themselves meanwhile are obsessed with defining what is and isn’t Goth, from music to shades of lipstick. How else are you going to collect your Goth points? For me, I felt the best way to answer the question was to try and define as many elements of the subculture as I could: the bands, the clothes, the slang and in-jokes. And I certainly hope once you’ve read the Encyclopedia you have you own answer.

Most Goths seem more exercised by what isn’t Goth than what is – what do you think isn’t Goth – I’m thinking here not of mainstream misapprehensions so much as anything embraced by mainstream Goth subculture (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms) that you personally cannot abide…

I’m pretty sure that Emo is not at all Goth, so that confusion prickles me. Also, self-proclaimed “real vampires” are delusional. Both groups are free to do as they choose, but they have nothing to do with the Goth that I love.

Why do you think so many of Goth’s seminal musical icons – from Robert Smith of the Cure and Siouxsie, to Nick Cave and Andrew Eldritch of the Sisters of Mercy – have disowned the subculture so vocally?

Musicians – all artists, really – seem to despise being categorized, and I can’t say I blame them. Because once you are labelled one thing, people can’t see you as anything else, and it can be the kiss of death. Especially if – like the Cure – you pre-date a particular genre or scene, I can understand why you’d find it curious or downright offensive to be slapped with the tag. (I’m reminded here of how Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath reject the term heavy metal for their music, while being considered the ultimate metal bands by many.) I recently had the opportunity to ask Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees directly why he hated being described as Goth and he answered, “Have you seen the bands who call themselves Goth on MySpace?” The man has a point.

For part 2 of the interview, please check back next week…