Interview with Jeffree Star: Butcher, Baker, Controversy Maker

Just as the phone line was about to disconnect, a soft, purr-like voice quickly whispered, “I’m pregnant” into the phone. It didn’t matter that the interview was over and there was no way to inquire who the father was, because the voice came from someone who could not possibly be with child. We’re not talking the next over-hyped by the media “pregnant man,” but rather electro-pop artist Jeffree Star.

As a follower of Star, this comment did not come as any surprise and I had only wished our conversation had begun this way and continued on in the same fashion. But once questions started up on touring, music, and his own record label, the other rumor of Star being a well-spoken and serious artist emerged.

Putting aside most of the drama that sometimes precedes the empire Jeffree Star has built, you’ll find that calm and intelligent individual, who seems to welcome the haters through a laugh and implied “whatever” in responses. Especially on his current tour, “2 Drunk 2 Fuck,” with BrokeNCYDE and Blood On The Dance Floor, haters must be all around or likely to donate their two cents. “It’s kind of like us three, we have a lot of controversy and so many people talk shit about us. It’s cool to come together and put on some really great shows. And prove people wrong—us three combined really make a killer tour. ”

If you were to ask someone about Star, you’ll probably be met with a quick history of how he climbed his way into the limelight and music industry through online social networking and his make-up artistry background. Fast forward a few years after Star probably first hooked his camera to a computer and you’ll find a career that’s turned into his own empire.

Consider him the next Sean “Diddy” Combs, only with neon hair and a much cooler legal name. He’s just about there with a music career, record label, clothing line, and possibly more. Yet, that might not be for awhile when the subject comes up about something so expected like a make-up line is in development. Seems the cliché and age-old answer holds true for Star, as he has “so many ideas, so little time.”

For now, the focus is on his current album, Beauty Killer, which is finally seeing a full tour in support of it after last year’s winter tour was cancelled, something not surprising for Star. “I think anything I do, there’s some drama around it whether I want it or not,” and it held true for the album itself. With the hints as to what Beauty Killer would be like found in “Lollipop Luxury” on his previous 2008 EP, Cupcakes Taste Like Violence, the album would not come to light until early last fall. The album underwent being pushed back about a year, but it was not the end of the world. It was, in hindsight, a good thing.

“It let me play more shows and work with more producers and get a better idea of what kind of route I wanted to go. I think it was a good idea, but getting arrested and having to do all this drama wasn’t very fun, but it was a good story.” An innocent misfortune of having the album pushed back may have also been due to a discreet arrest that Star served his community service for. He’s in good spirits, making a brief mention of how it gave him a new recharge towards his music. “Well, being in jail wasn’t really that fun, it was boring. I mean, it made me want to do more and get everything done because there was so many setbacks.”

With the reveal that the life and times of Jeffree Star is not always a party, he is always able to point out the fun in even the most mundane parts of life. Using his eloquent and colorful vocabulary to describe the Texan weather he was met with on this day off, he comments, “It’s kind of hot and sticky, it’s like I literally just had sex, but it’s all good.” It may seem crude in print, but somehow was otherwise. Star has a way of saying things to shock that come across in a professional and calm manner. It took a few seconds for what he said to register and this must be a game for him, to see how long before people realize that he really just said that.

This is one of the most common misconceptions of Star that he faces. “People think I’m way more serious than I actually am.” There’s a lot Star has said to make people second guess what is true and what is absurdity, but people seem to believe both. He admits he’s full of sarcasm and pokes fun at things, something people either understand or misconstrue. When it comes to lyrics, it’s up to the listener to completely decide which of his lyrics are true, with topics ranging from celebrities, partying and violence.

There’s nothing entirely new in his lyrics since he first started making music with promoting his brand of sugar-coated violent imagery. “In the beginning, yea, it was for fun—but I’m tired of talking about sucking dick— everyone knows that,” and thus, the gears were shifted. Whether Star likes to admit it or not, his words have grown miles from his origins, while still mixing sweet and outspoken sexuality with violent overtones, Beauty Killer poses experiences a bit more in a mature light that may be easier for the listener to connect with.

Star is not afraid to tackle any subject matter or speak out on things. One thing he isn’t afraid to admit is the process behind the creation of his music. The start of melodies for tracks is built by him and then gets worked out through producers in the mixing process. Still, he claims he is “musically retarded.” Even with touring and being part of numerous festivals, the thought of picking up a guitar, bass or pair of drum sticks is something he’s not too keen on. Playing an instrument didn’t click with Star and the desire was never there; he’s more about “performing and make-up.”

But the Diddy-side of him comes out concerning the new album and Cupcakes Taste Like Violence, with the start of his own label, Popsicle Records. Both albums had been released under this label. Star was obviously not out to play games when the outside labels came with offers. He was finding people were out to steal money and not really be there for the performer. “I already built up my empire, so why do I need them?” While he remains the label’s only artist, he hopes for it to one day be among the ranks of the majors.

Future plans for the label will be the next album from Star that is already in the works and what’s on the game plan when the tour is over. He foresees it to be faster with more upbeat dance tracks. Not a major reinvention of his sound, but does go against the elements of rock found on Beauty Killer, particularly heard on “Louis Vuitton Body Bag,” featuring Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. Thoughts go to who Star will have on his new project to rival the “one big party” had before with Skiba, electronica/rock band Breathe Carolina and an apparent favorite of his, female rapper Nicki Minaj.

Star cooed when talking about the talent of Minaj and how great she is. When it was my turn to joke and I commented he should have been on the summer tour with Minaj and Lady Gaga, he remained serious in response. While we both knew the strategy behind setting up tour packages, he confirmed the idea that he would have never been a contender for an opening spot is due to “people are scared and everyone plays the game of same labels and everything.”

Ending on this thought, it’s funny to think this as similar to how the conversation started, asking if the current tour was his first headlining one. “Oh no, I usually have my own tours because everyone else is afraid to have me on theirs.” Maybe Cobra Starship and Kesha won’t be afraid to share the microphone and backstage with him on a tour line-up he feels would be an ideal choice. Now it’s just time to kick back and wait for crazy road stories to surface, all for you to decide which is truth and what you only wish you could have been around for.

Catch Jeffree Star at The Gramercy Theatre in NYC on June 4.