Five(ish) Questions: Yvonne Lambert (The Octopus Project)
I recently saw The Octopus Project perform a blistering set of punk-infused, electronic-laden, dance-inducing, rock music. After the show, I sat down with Yvonne Lambert who plays about a zillion instruments including her iconic Theremin. Meet Yvonne.
Who is the most important person in your life?
The most important person in my life is my husband, Josh, who is also my bandmate. He’s my best friend. We’ve been together for twenty years. Yeah, we’ve grown up together. And it’s been an incredible experience finding a soulmate in him.
Me: Twenty years, that’s insane!
Yvonne: I know! [Laughter]
How do you define being “in love”?
God, love is so hard to… I don’t know. It’s just a feeling that I can’t put words to right now. [Laughs] I mean we communicate. We share. Honesty is important. Truth is important. Trust is important. Love is everything. Yeah.
Me: You say truth is important and honesty is important. What’s the difference to you?
Yvonne: I think of truth as a set thing. Honesty is, I don’t know, something I think people struggle with. I don’t know. I’m sorry!
Me: No, that’s OK! It’s totally fine. To me, for the project, being honest is the most important thing. Some people have three word answers. That’s fine. But I feel ya. So, cool!
What’s your greatest fear?
Ooof. My fear. I’ve been working really hard lately on conquering fear. Anxiety is a terrible thing. Depression is a terrible thing. And it’s something that I know very well. I think music has helped me overcome so many fears. I think that I wouldn’t be here still if I weren’t doing music. I think that it’s just something I have to do. And that it continues to help me conquer my fear of just anxieties. That’s a big thing I’ve been working on for myself. Um, I’m very shy.
Yvonne: Incredibly shy! When I’m home, when I’m not touring, I almost never leave my house. I’m a hermit. And I just work on—we’re always working on band stuff. Not just music, it’s videos, and art of all kinds. Making puzzles, you know? [Laughs] Making screens for the band. Killing disco balls to put the mirrors on our amplifiers. [Laughter]
What's one thing you don't know now, but feel compelled to know?
[Long pause] That’s a hard one! I don’t know.
Me: Do you want another question?
Yvonne: Yeah! [Laughter]
Me: That one, I wouldn’t—I’m glad nobody asks me these questions because I’m like, “Uhhh!” I was doing an interview with a guy I worked with and he’s just a good dude and at the end he was just like, “What about you?” And I was like, “What?? What are you doing? This is my shit, man!” [Laughter]
How do you deal with loneliness?
Oh, I don’t get lonely.
Me: You don’t? Then tell me why you don’t get lonely. Or how, cuz I want those details. [Laughter]
Yvonne: I love solitude. I love quiet. It’s just a—I don’t know. Quiet time, alone time, is really important to me. And as a band, Josh, Toto, and I have specifically been working together—we started this band just for fun in 1999. And the three of us are all very solitary people in the way we write records, write songs. We work alone. We start alone and then we trade ideas. You know, “This is an idea I have. See what you can do with it.” But I think that—yeah, I don’t feel lonely. I feel loved by my band. And my friends. I don’t notice feeling lonely. Just being at peace with myself in silence. And my own thoughts are just trying to make sense of things for myself. It’s a very necessary thing for me.
Me: And the last question I have is…[Clears throat] I didn’t mean to do that on purpose right there. That was dramatic.
Yvonne: OK. [Laughter]
Me: It is… [Clears throat] [Intense laughter] I’m sorry! I’m not doing it on purpose! There’s legit something in my throat! [Laughter] OK, so the question is…
What will you miss the most when you’re gone?
When I’m gone? Where am I going?
Me: I don’t know, you tell me! It’s interpretable. [Laughter] That’s the point!
Yvonne: When I’m gone from this life? From physical life?
Me: Or whatever you think.
Yvonne: Oh gosh! Everything physical! Everything! Everything sensual and physical, I think. I think that would be… Touch, taste, sight, sound, everything that makes us human.