By Michael Lello
Yoko Ono is your average 80-year-old. You know, if your average octagenarian works on EDM tracks, collaborates with her son Sean Lennon and releases a new Plastic Ono Band record.
Released under her dance music alter ego ONO, the artist’s remix single “Walking On Thin Ice 2013” has reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart – placing her in the company of Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Avicii, Kylie Minogue and Pet Shop Boys. The digital-only release features remixes by Grammy-nominated house music guru Danny Tenaglia and Dutch EDM producer R3HAB. Tenaglia’s remix (“Give Ice A Chance”) is his first production in nearly a decade.
John and Yoko recorded the original version of the song on Dec. 8, 1980 – the night John was murdered.
Meanwhile, last week, the Plastic Ono Band – which she initially formed with John in 1969 and reformed in 2009 with Sean – released its latest album, “Take Me To The Land Of Hell,” which features collaborations with Questlove, Lenny Kravitz, Ad-Rock and Mike D of Beastie Boys, tUne-yArDs and Nels Cline of Wilco, among others.
We recently caught up with Yoko to chat about her love of dance music, collaborating with John and Sean and why she keeps creating.
YO: I was in Cold Spring Harbor at the piano. Most of it just came to me – especially the music. I finished it in the car going back to New York. But didn’t have any pencil in the car. So I just ran into Studio One in Dakota, and wrote it all at the piano.
H81R: What do you like about what Danny Tenaglia and R3HAB each brought to the track?
YO: I think both of them showed their love of the song and the spirit of creative challenge. I thought it could not have been better.
H81R: How has the EDM community – fans and people in the industry – received you?
YO: The song had its own fate, so to speak. John loved it and expressed it when we were recording it. Then it went so fast to the public: 1) because it was the last song recorded by John and I, and 2) it was a dance track. So many people were dancing to it in clubs.
H81R: What originally drew you to dance music?
YO: I was always into dance music. Remember “Hell In Paradise”? There were a few songs like that which were dance.
H81R: Why is the time right for you to do another Plastic Ono album?
YO: I didn’t think anything of it. Sean asked if it was alright to revive the title.
H81R: How did your collaboration with Ad-Rock and Mike D come about?
YO: Yuka Honda brought them in. I thought it was very wise and sweet of her.
H81R: There are a lot of other collaborators on “Take Me To The Land Of Hell.” What are some of your favorite collaborations on the album?
YO: There are not many on this album. I love them all. They are all very different from each other. Incredible characters… and talent to go with it.
YO: I like it. It’s working pretty well for what you expect a mother/son combo to be. Sean is very different from John, but I was and am lucky to have had those two.
H81R: What keeps you going at age 80?
YO: Who knows? If I stayed at home being a couch potato, I’ll go crazy, that’s what!
H81R: You are very active on Twitter. How have you been able to use Twitter to connect with people?
YO: Because it comes naturally to me. It’s a good medium for communication.
H81R: Your work has always been controversial. Do you feel that the critics sometimes go too far, and do you care what critics say about you or your work?
YO: I’m just being myself. It’s a waste of time to try to be somebody else.
H81R: What other projects are you working on?
YO: Actually, pretty many things. I don’t remember all of them – until one day I see something on my desk with a nice wrapping!