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Marilyn Manson on life, death and painting with piss

Marilyn Manson opens up about his new album Heaven Upside Down, mortality, collecting razors, eating leeches and everything in between

“Listen to the album, it really grows on you – like herpes.” Marilyn Manson says when we meet at Soho House in Berlin. We’re here to talk about his latest album, Heaven Upside Down – made with producer/instrumental mastermind Tyler Bates – but a conversation with the self-styled God Of Fuck is always going to include a few curve-balls. Conversation veers to from new music to Wal-Mart, mortality, his collection of razors and… eating leeches. The man no longer known to anyone as Brian Warner (since his parents died, his mother in 2014, his father in July this year) could never be accused of being dull.

The new album is reminiscent of your albums Antichrist… and Mechanical Animals, but I’d assume you’re not looking back on purpose.

I think that I wanted to make cinematic albums when I made those two. And they were both dangerous in different ways. One was in New Orleans – Antichrist Superstar – where I was completely in a state of nihilism and… well, ‘nihilism’ might not be the right word. I was in a state of wanting to make things change in the world. For Mechanical Animals I moved to Los Angeles, and I was pissed off at the fact that they were going to make me into something I wasn’t, so I wrote a record about it before it happened. This record is more of me – after making Pale Emperor, which still will be one of my favorite records because it gave me back my swagger as a singer. It gave me back my confidence as being able to sing and being able to do things and handle loss and handle things, and not let it affect my music, in a literal sense. Pale Emperor was the opening act for this record, I think, in some ways.

One of the strongest lines on it is: ‘I write songs to fight and songs to fuck to,’ on Jesus Crisis.

If you want to fight, I fight you. If you want to fuck, I fuck you.’ I debated that song, the lyric, at first. I think that I probably wrote it down as a post-it note and put it on my refrigerator, just as a ‘to do’ list… [chuckles] That’s kind of a joke, but essentially I wrote it down, and it’s a basic manifesto of myself. It’s like my resume: I write songs to fight and to fuck to.

Well it’s a pretty aggressive yet sexy album, isn’t it?

I wanted it to be both of those things. A lot of people that I played it for initially thought it has an implying feel of threat to it, a threatening sexual tension to it. And I said: “So do I” [laughs].

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