Kylie Queers It Up

Gay goddess returns with 'Aphrodite' - and talks about her new album's 'fairy godmother,' orgies and the best part of being a gay icon

By Chris Azzopardi

That sex-talk makes Kylie Minogue shy isn't something anyone who's seen her hoisted to the top of an orgy in her video for "All the Lovers" would think about the ever-sweet Aussie. But you're probably not just anyone - fans of the pop princess are either really into dance music, really gay, or usually both. And Minogue knows it.

There's lots of same-sex canoodling in "All the Lovers," on which she adapts her melty pillow-talk coo to the throbbing elation. The song's the lead-off to her 11th studio album "Aphrodite," Minogue's follow-up to 2008's "X," released after a bout of breast cancer.

In a recent chat with Minogue, the dance-floor diva talked about what's really going on in that hypersexual video of hers, plans for another tour, and why this album's better than her last. We even got her to blush.

You know talking to you is a dream come true for a lot of gay men?

Some tell me something like that, yeah (laughs).

So let's break the ice right away.

Crack it, baby!

Are you trying to beat the world record for biggest orgy in the "All the Lovers" video?

You know, perhaps. I could not be happier with the response the video has got. It's not just that it's a sexy video; it's a lovely video as well.

Right. It has a very pure feeling. But what's with the flying elephant?

No real explanation. Maybe Joseph Kahn, the director, has some particular reason why there's an elephant flying above head. But he's very cute!

He is, but not as cute as the plethora of guys around you.

(Laughs) Yeah, well, I also love that there's a real mixture of bodies in there. It wasn't all picture-perfect people.

And you have the gays in there. Was that your choice to be all-inclusive?

It was in Joseph's treatment, and that just made perfect sense to me because that's universal love. However you choose to interpret that, what's important is the love.

And not orgies?

No, not for me. It's just about people connecting with people. (Long pause) But I would probably choose the more romantic view.

What's the best part of being one of the biggest gay icons alive?

That I have carte blanche to be fabulous (laughs). I don't know how I earned those stripes, but my gay audience means the world to me.

It goes way back. You've said they adopted you, right?

Yeah! Hell, whether I liked it or not.

Was there a specific moment that transitioned you from pop goddess to gay goddess?

Perhaps when I performed at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the first time in '94. But it was probably earlier than that. I don't know the specific point. It was very organic.

Do you think like a gay man in order to gay-up yourself and your shows?

No, no. It's just there. Like with my tours, the fact that William Baker is at the helm of those, there's bound to be boys in trunks with a dumbbell or two ... perhaps in a shower. In my show there would definitely be an angle where I would say, "Well, that's for the boys." But the demographics at my show, although there's my gay audience, there are all sorts there. I love to be able to look out and see such a variety of people.

Are there plans for a more extensive tour to support "Aphrodite"?

We'll see how it goes, but I would love to. I'm planning to tour next year and I would love to include the cities that I already went to last year, because the welcome just blew my mind and I think I'd have repeat offenders coming back to see another show. But I'd love to be able to extend some new cities onto those dates as well. So I'll just have to see how it goes, but it wouldn't be for lack of desire, that's for sure.

What were some of the best parts of touring the U.S. for the first time?

The whole damn thing! It was from the heart, and I basically set my wallet on fire and did it because it had been so long. It was about time. And I just thought, it's now or never. I have to do this. I want to do this.

Dance music's become more mainstream - with Lady Gaga and Ke$ha controlling the clubs. Do you feel like you're in competition with these younger dance divas?

I think just by nature of the game, yes. But I also think we all occupy - because of our personalities - a different space.

You only worked with one producer on this album, Stuart Price, which gives it a real cohesive feel. Why did you decide to go that route?

It was largely because of Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters' lead singer); I consider him to be the fairy godmother of this album. Stuart Price just executive produced the new Scissor Sisters' record, so I went to visit Jake when he was recording with Stuart in London. When I was working on my album, Jake and I would catch up and have a chat about it and he could see I was going down the same path that I'd been down the previous couple of albums - working with a bunch of different producers and then picking the best dozen songs or so.

They might not have that much to do with each other, although independently they could all be very good - and I think that's fine. But it was time for me to feel satisfied that I had a cohesive album, and I just can't imagine having done that with anyone other than Stuart. He was an absolute delight, and I think that he's a wizard.

You had some regrets about the last album, didn't you?

In hindsight, yeah. It's weird, I have a few friends who still say they play "X" a lot and they still find it very contemporary and they're loving it, so I think it kind of did its job. What I think of it now is - throughout illness and treatment and people wishing me all the best and to get well - it would've been better if the songs that I had written about that time, because I did write them, were on the album.

I was relying on A&R's advice then, and they weren't really feeling the songs. I'm not sure if that's because they just weren't good enough or if they were a little lost in the emotion of the past couple of years. And so I'm weary to say regret because regret's just a heavy thing, but I perhaps would've done it differently.

Why did you name the new album "Aphrodite"?

The song was written for me by Nerina Pallot, so sadly I didn't have that brainwave of writing a song called "Aphrodite" (laughs). She did, thankfully, and wrote it for me. And throughout the process of the album - with different songs coming and going - I always really hoped that "Aphrodite" would make it because it was such a perfect album title. The album has a lot of euphoria throughout it and I think that's what Aphrodite is known for, really.

That, and her sexual powers. What are yours?

(Laughs) Oh my God! I can't tell you that! You make me blush.

Are you intrigued by mythology?

I haven't really studied it besides way back at school. But I'd rather be Aphrodite than Medusa!

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