Sharon Needles’ sophomore album Taxidermy drops on Halloween. Which is fitting for a singer who says she lives every day like it’s Halloween.
In anticipation of the album, PEOPLE spoke to the 2012 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Raceabout how this album differs from her first LP PG-13, her love of Halloween and how her life has changed since she became famous.
PEOPLE: How is this album different from PG-13?
It’s very different. PG-13 is kind of a scattered, almost movie soundtrack album, with elements of punk and metal and electronica. This one is a lot more concise. It’s glued together, I think, better than PG-13. It’s an EDM dance music album. I wanted to really focus on the EDM sound and it’s a love record. I wanted to think of something that was the glue to this record and something that was universal for even people that don’t like drag or aren’t attracted to the macabre. That being said, it’s a very melancholy love record. It’s very moody. If there was visual for the way that it sounds, I would say it would be a dead cheerleader floating at the bottom of pond who is never found.
Why did you go for that EDM sound?
Well, because I like it. Another reason is I have to understand my market and I have to think about where I’m working. I’m primarily working in dance clubs and in discotheque and primarily for the gay community, so it’s just a very fitting sound for my work. If I had it my way – I have such plethora of music that I love – I would like to make a disco record. I’d love to make a punk record. F—, I’d love to make a country record one day. But, in a very “Andy Warholic” way, I like to create commercial products and I like to make a sound that is very current, marketable, purchasable and addictive. That comes with my love of Andy Warhol commercial art.
How was the writing process different on this album? Were their lessons you learned on PG-13 that you applied here?
On PG-13, the way I wrote that is that I would get my tracks ahead of time and then I would write for them, and I wrote fairly quickly. PG-13 is kind of a scrambled party album written by a confident toddler, and Taxidermy is very different. It’s written by a precocious and untrusting adult, because being thrown into a D-list celebrity lifestyle definitely hardens you very quickly and you grow very quickly as you watch your favorite hobby become your own personal empire. So, most of Taxidermy is scribbled in my notebooks and my notes in cellphone because I’m constantly writing.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
I think “Dead Dandelion” is my favorite song on the record. It’s very melancholic. It’s very sweet and it’s also very dark. The conflict of the song is that true love is the truest punishment because you’re forced to lose each other permanently in death. So, I really like “Dead Dandelion” and I think that’s a tie with my cover of “Supernature.” I love covers because there’s just something I love about replicating someone else’s music or taking rare music and introducing it to a wider or a new audience. I love “Supernature,” which a lot of people might not know is a cover. Anytime I cover a song, it’s usually a pretty underground or old song. That’s actually an old French Disco song by Cerrone.
And, now, it’s dropping on Halloween…
I know, and it’s a very appropriate date for the album to come out. I love Halloween. I mean, yes, I consider every day to be Halloween, but it’s a very special day for me. I can always pay rent on Halloween.
Why is it so special to you?
I’ve just always loved since I was a kid. I love that it’s a mixture of the macabre and childishness. It’s just fun. It’s cheesy. It’s campy. I’ve always just loved Halloween when I was a kid. It was the one day where you could get dressed up and actually leave the house looking like that, and I probably would’ve have chosen to look like that every day.
How are you celebrating it this year?
Since I decided to do a reality show and was crowned America’s best drag queen star, I made the last minute to ditch everyone on Halloween and now I work every Halloween. This year I will be in Manchester, U.K., which is a great because it’s so good to see that Halloween is becoming such a bigger thing worldwide.