Yoko Ono Discusses Artistic Vulnerability & The Importance of Dancing

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What’s the most personal part your work? Yoko Ono: They are all personal.

MP: What is the significance of “Talking to the Universe” to you? YO: Just opening ourselves up to talking to the Universe in fun.

MP: Speaking of The universe, what does that Word mean to you? YO: A space bigger than all of us we are part of.

MP: You’ve always been connected with Music, Art and Activism…this is your 8th #1 single. What’s next? YO: Another song is being mixed right now. I hope you’ll like it.

MP: What makes you the most vulnerable with your work? YO: The fact that I like to do several projects at the same time. I love doing that, But some people don’t listen to my music because they say that I am an artist. And some don’t want to go to my gallery shows, because they say I am a musician.  

MP: How do you dance/create with your pain? YO: What all of us artists are doing is using our pain as material to create our work.

MP: Is it passion, pain or some other source that you pull from when you create? YO: Pain, passion and love of life.

MP: What’s one of the most interesting aspects about creating with DJ’s. (Our music editor, DJ Spooky collaborated on your YES album.) YO: DJ Spooky cannot be called just a DJ. He is a very accomplished composer. But these days, DJ’s are the ones who are bringing fresh sounds to the music world. In fact, they are creating a new spatial music. They are the space transformers of the universe.  

MP: What does it mean to be an activist today? What are some of the biggest challenges? YO: How to communicate the idea without getting repetitive, so it will still turn on people.

MP: You are one of the biggest advocates of peace. What makes you angry? YO: Anger is an emotion that is very energetic. It is an ideal emotion to turn it around to make it work as a positive force. 

MP: Is your art/music art a form of activism and if so, how? YO: Long, long time ago, I declared that all my works are a form of a prayer/a wish.

MP: Name a few books everyone should have read. YO: There are too many books in my head to choose one. Sorry.

MP: What the cause currently closest to your heart? YO: Of course, I am still working on World Peace. Aren’t you?

MP: What humanitarian issues/organizations do you support the most? YO: What all of us people do. We don’t have a particular organization, but we all want to make a world in which justice is given to each one of us.

MP: I loved witnessing your passion at SXSW this year in Austin, What keeps that kind of fire alive for you? YO: You’re filled with so much life. Is there any reason why all of us are not full of life? 

MP: What does the success of your #1 Talking to the Universe symbolize/mean to you single mean to you? YO: I wanted to splash a a little humor. I felt we needed it.  

MP: What’s your idea of real success? YO: Doing things right every day by not forgetting to express love to your friends.

MP: Do you feel dance music a good way to influence consciousness and impact listeners with your message? YO: Definitely. Dance music makes us dance. Let us get off our couch and spin around! 

MP: What do you think is the most powerful medium right now for communicating your message? YO: All media.