Dita Von Teese is a woman of many passions — burlesque, modeling, fashion design, writing and, with the arrival of Soundtrack For Seduction, music. Her latest endeavor is being released by 12on12, a limited-edition vinyl label that invites all manner of artists to curate their own limited-edition “life soundtracks.” With songs by Peggy Lee, Royksopp, Blood Orange and Handsome Boy Modeling School, Von Teese’s compilation explores the duality of her public vs. private taste. It also serves up her biggest toe-dip into the music scene so far — with Von Teese herself performing on four tracks. You can hear “A Guy What Takes His Time,” a collaboration with producer Chuck Henry, below.
“The Crazy Horse [the Parisian cabaret] does a thing where girls lip-sync to tracks and I thought it would be fun to do a standard like that,” Von Teese tells Rolling Stone. “I’m a really big fan of Mae West and she does this talk-singing thing so I found this song, “A Guy What Takes His Time,” and I found a certain arrangement she did in the Fifties, so I worked with Chuck to make this more of a burlesque sound. I recorded it when I was really sick, and it gave me kind of an extra little breathiness to my voice.”
Rolling Stone caught up with Von Teese to talk about the album (out on pink vinyl exclusively until March 14th) and whether or not the glamour icon owns sweatpants.
What elements have to be in place for a song to be “perfectly sexy”?
For me, I really like songs that have a slow and inviting tempo. I like music that tends to become part of the atmosphere. You don’t want it to become distracting. When I think about music that you would actually make love to you don’t want anything that turns kind of weird. It’s important to have music that sets the mood but doesn’t completely overtake.
How did you come to be involved with the making of Soundtrack for Seduction?
I was approached by 12on12 and, of course, I loved the idea. My idea was to utilize the two-sided aspect of a record to kind of give people a glimpse into both sides of my musical taste. So one side has a lot of focus on my burlesque persona, with a lot of classic, glamorous music, and the other side is more the type of music I like to listen to in my everyday life that maybe people wouldn’t expect me to listen to. That was something I felt was important to me because I’ve always felt there was a bit of duality in my life with what people think they know about me. Like, maybe all they think I listen to is vintage music, but there’s a whole other genre of music that I love.