The punk feminist icon on Sleater-Kinney, St. Vincent and seeing queer enter the mainstream

BY ROXY BOURDILLON, IMAGE BY CHARLIE ENGMAN

Since forming in 1994, Sleater-Kinney has boldly pushed boundaries and their epic, urgent new album, The Center Won’t Hold, continues to do just that. We grabbed a coffee with Carrie Brownstein to find out more.

DIVA: In what ways is The Center Won’t Hold a feminist album?

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: Sleater-Kinney’s always been a band comprised of feminists. The fact that we’re women, now in our 40s, making an album that defies what people might expect from women that age, is a feminist statement.

St. Vincent produced the album. What was it like working with her?

She has an immense imagination. She’s a perfectionist. She really challenged us lyrically. Annie is fearless in that she wanted to illicit from us the most personal, honest version of the band and of each song.

How much do you think the music industry has changed for queer female artists since Sleater-Kinney started out in the 90s?

What used to feel more fringe has been really proudly centred. It’s interesting to see queer enter the mainstream. I don’t lament it, because I think that people should feel safe and seen, but it kind of forces the question of, “How do we find that space that’s still transgressive?” Because to me, transgressive art is interesting art.

How do you feel about being a visibly out queer person in the media?

When I was younger, I wish there had been more people who were out and visible, because it normalises it. It makes you feel less alone. The older I get, the more I don’t really care what other people think. I’m not interested in moving through the world as a straight person. I try to be as open was I can but also open about being a flawed and contrarian person. I try to set a good example, but we’re all human.

The Center Won’t Hold is out now. Sleater-Kinney go on UK and European tour 18 February 2020. Visit sleater-kinney.com for details.

For more Carrie Brownstein, check out our exclusive interview in the September issue, out 23 August via the links below.

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