Ice Queen Bjork cometh, turn off the phone

If you plan to see Icelandic singer and songwriter Bjork perform at the Big Day Out on January 18, be warned - leave your cameras and phones at home.

Bjork, who has just completed a tour of South America, says she has noticed a new trend at her concerts and it's one she doesn't like.

Concertgoers are using their phones or cameras to record Bjork's performances and it's causing the singer some angst.

"I don't want to be rude or anything. I understand they come to the show and they want to keep a memory. I appreciate that.

"But after two or three songs I just have to say 'Listen, if you want me to be here in the moment with you, then you've got to be too'.

"It sounds weird but I really have to feel that we're doing it together."

Bjork, speaking from Mexico where she is on holiday with her family, says people "have been really nice, they've been, 'Okay, we get it'."

The objection has nothing to do with fear the clips will end up on YouTube but about the performance.

"A live concert is all about being there in the moment. You just have to let go.

"What bothers me about it [is] you prepare yourself psychologically before a show and you go on stage and you open up and you want to be open.

"It's a bit like going out to dinner with your friend. You've decided you want to trust them with something really important and the minute you start talking he picks up his mobile phone and starts texting and you think, 'What? wait a minute! Are you listening to me, do you care?' It's like, 'Look me in the eye'."

Bjork says her tour is the most "theatrical full-on thing I've done so far and probably will ever do".

Fans had better be quick to catch her because Bjork says the next few years will be quiet, with her daughter due to start school after the tour ends.

This tour, like all Bjork's tours, is different from the others.

"The last tour was really low volume, performed mostly in opera houses, and the songs were very pretty and delicate and sweet.

"Now it's kind of primitive, raw almost butch."

However, Bjork says with 40 songs on her set list which she rehearses, the line-up can be random.

"I try to take in the place, the moment, what mood everybody is in, what shape the room is, what's going to sound good."

Bjork started her career in Reykjavik in 1977 at the age of 11, recording an album of children's songs and covers of popular songs that went platinum in Iceland.

At 14, she played drums in the all-girl punk band Spit and Snot before finally finding her feet in the Sugarcubes, where she achieved international success as the lead vocalist.

The group split in 1992 and Bjork established herself as a solo artist with Debut in 1993. She also won the Best Actress Award at Cannes in 2000 for her role in Dancer in the Dark.

- NZPA

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