Katy Perry and Robyn: Pop's Most Dynamic Duo
The boy toys of summer discuss their upcoming California Dreams Tour
What happens when a chart-dominating California Gurl and a cultishly adored Swedish pop import get together? The hottest tour of the summer (starting June 7) — and one intercontinental mutual-admiration-society phone call, conducted as Perry wrapped up the Down Under leg of her tour and prepared for several dates in Japan, while Stockholm native Robyn got ready for the road in Los Angeles. Read on.
ROBYN How are you? Where are you?
KATY PERRY I’m almost finished with all of Australia and New Zealand, and then I go to Japan. I’m so excited to do this with you! Last time I saw you, it was at Coachella. It was hands down the best show I saw all weekend. Everybody was dancing for their life, like they didn’t have a choice. And you were dancing for your life too! Your dance moves are on another level.
ROBYN I don’t know, maybe another level of frenzy-ness. But I’m happy people got inspired! How has it been for you in Australia?
PERRY I just got handed a key chain that’s a pair of kangaroo balls. That’s how easygoing they are here — that was my going-away gift from Sydney.
ROBYN I suppose if you have all those extremely poisonous animals around all the time, you have to find a way to have a little fun with them.
PERRY I can’t wait to show you America — we’re going to revamp the show before we get started on June 7 in Atlanta, so by the time you see it, it’ll be at its best. And I’ve gotten really into doing activities on this tour. Sometimes you’re so exhausted that all you can do is the routine of get up, eat, work out, get on stage, sing, meet and greet, and get off the stage and sleep. It can get monotonous. But hopefully we can squeeze in a trip to Dollywood. I’ve never been, but I really want to go, and I figured you would probably like it.
ROBYN That would be lovely! What else are you going to show me?
PERRY You might get a little bit fat on our tour. There’s this thing called Cracker Barrel. Do you know what that is? It’s a staple across America, especially in the South. They have a porch with rocking chairs, and you eat so much that you have to sit down and rock yourself out of your food coma.
ROBYN I’m really looking forward to this! My band has always done timid things like going out and looking for a new Korg synthesizer, but now they’ve gotten into the habit of finding a shooting range. They say they don’t like guns, but then they go to a shooting range and come back with a whole new look on their face. They also play tennis.
PERRY I like how they balance out the guns with tennis. That’s very chic.
ROBYN I can always tell when they’ve been playing it because they get Swedish sunburns. They’re super red, like crayfish.
PERRY You know who’s going to do a couple of dates on the tour is Oh Land. I don’t know if you’re friends with her, but she’s great. Do you know her?
ROBYN Is she that Icelandic chick?
PERRY Oh, yeah. [Ed. note: Actually, Oh Land is Danish.] You know what? I’m sorry. I don’t mean to suggest that Scandinavia is so small that everybody must know each other. That happens to me. ”Oh, you’re from California? Then you must know my cousin Bob!” I’m a bit geographically challenged. I figured you might know her because you know all the cool kids.
ROBYN I don’t! [Laughs] I don’t know anybody. I come out when I’m on tour, and then I go back to Sweden. I don’t think I’ve been home more than two weeks this entire year, actually. Do you have catering on your tour?
PERRY Yeah, we’re really bougie like that.
ROBYN I’m so excited about catering! [Laughs and claps]
PERRY You’ve made it, sweetie. Sometimes we even have a manicurist come to the arena. Can you believe that? That’s excessive. I have a question: Do you have a set show outfit or does it vary every night?
ROBYN It varies. I have a wardrobe full of stuff, and then I just open it and panic, usually. I only wear one outfit, so I only have to think about that. You change your outfit, right?
PERRY I change a few times.
ROBYN How many?
PERRY But eight of those are in one song, because it’s a magic trick.
ROBYN Which song?
PERRY ”Hot N Cold.”
ROBYN So you put on a really hot jacket and then you change into a bikini?
PERRY No, it’s an actual magic trick. I saw these two magicians do it on America’s Got Talent or one of those shows, and I thought, ”I’ll have them teach me the trick and we’ll incorporate it into the show.” I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement saying that I wouldn’t give away the secrets behind the magic trick. That’s really crazy, right? I feel super magician.
ROBYN Will you keep your promise?
Perry I might tell you when we’re on the road, but in this interview, no way, no how.
ROBYN I accept that.
PERRY Do you have any kind of pre-show ritual that you do every time?
ROBYN My band and I usually do high fives, and we do them quite hard so that we wake each other up a little bit.
ROBYN Yes, it’s quite violent. What’s your routine?
PERRY I have this little box of prayers, but they’re very small, simple one-line prayers, and I pull them out and read them out loud, and everybody either agrees or disagrees with them, and then we put our hands in a pile and dedicate the show to something funny or stupid. Like when we were in Nottingham, we dedicated the show to Robin Hood. We also use the word werk a lot. It’s W-E-R-K. We say it for everything, like ”Werk, dance moves!” or ”Werk, catering!”
ROBYN But that’s what happens. You get into this mode where everything you say doesn’t really make sense to anybody who hasn’t been on the tour. And then when you get home, you can’t talk. When you’re on the road, the tour manager tells you when to eat and where to go and how long you have to wait for something. When I’m left at the airport to go home, everything stops functioning for me.
PERRY I totally relate to that. You get so used to having transportation or a hotel room, and it becomes: ”Do I eat food now? How do I get to the movie theater? I’m a toddler!”
ROBYN ”May I go to the toilet now?”
PERRY That’s how it is! It’s pathetic.
ROBYN But the bus is a comfort zone for me. I grew up on a tour bus, because my parents were in a theater group that toured around.
PERRY When I was picking out buses, I went for the bus that had more bunks than I needed. I’m going to be on the road for a long time, and I’m going to want to have some of my friends come out, my family, my little brother, my husband [actor Russell Brand], of course. And hopefully one of my cats.
ROBYN Will that be mean to the cats?
PERRY Cats don’t like to travel that much, but my cat, Kitty Purry, is kind of like a dog, so we might try it out for a couple of days. Are you allergic to cats?
ROBYN No, I like cats.
PERRY Good! Then you can stay on the tour. [Laughs]
ROBYN Are you still using all that cotton candy on stage?
PERRY Yes, there’s lots of cotton candy. If you don’t like cotton candy, you shouldn’t come.
ROBYN Okay, so cotton candy and cats? I like both.
PERRY Great, then I’ll see you in Atlanta!