Listening to Badlands (Zoo Music, 2011) will teleport you to the front seat of a brand-new Chevy cruising a lost highway. There's no lovely Betty Draper right beside you though, nor an ice cream parlour anywhere near in sight. Badlands evokes a much more darker image, one drenched in angst and noir. Taiwan-born via Honululu-Toronto-Montreal and now Vancouver based drifter Alex Zhang Hungtai aka Dirty Beaches sprinkled his new album with “minimalist rockabilly”. We asked him about it in this little questionaire. He answered every question with 'c'. For cherry of course.

1. Your most recent release 'Badlands' was made as an homage to your father's youth. Listening to the record I came up with certain impressions of your dad. Which one is the most accurate?

a He was not the most upbeat person, even though he owned a superfast motorcycle.
b He met your mother in the lobby of a hotel when she was 17 wearing nothing but black nylon.
c Other, namely: My dad was a trouble maker in his youth. Even though he mellowed out in his later years, he's someone you don't fuck with. I'm a pretty big guy (6' 2" 170lbs) and remember feeling scared once when he stared at me after I called him an old man.That stare is in the album.

2. How did you come up with Dirty Beaches as a moniker?

a I woke up one day on a deserted beach with seaweed wrapped around my legs.
b I watched a lot of Baywatch as a kid and developed a thing for little red bathing suits.
c Other, namely: I awoke on a beach with Baywatch babes running around, but their voices were dubbed in French -“dirty bitches” was pronounced “dirty beaches” in their accountable accent.

3. Your approach to making music is very similar to the working process of a filmmaker; you've said to start out with an idea or character. While experimenting with sounds this results in a certain persona and atmosphere. What's your favorite movie character and why?

a Audrey from Twin Peaks for the cherry part.
b The silent girl in Wong Kar Wai's film '2046'.
c Other, namely: I love Willem Dafoe in almost every film I've ever seen him in. This is a hard one. Bobby Peru in 'Wild at Heart', and Dafoe as a cross dressing gay FBI homicide detective in 'Boondocks Saints' (I didn't like the movie but Dafoe was amazing).
4. Should David Lynch keep making music or stick solely to directing?

a. Yes.
b. No.
c. Other, namely: David Lynch can do whatever the fuck he wants.

5. What do you think of the comparison with Chris Isaak?

a It's more accurate than being compared to Brian Setzer.
b Except for the Helena Christensen video and his Twin Peaks appearance I think he should get back to his blue motel (sic) and never come out again – I absolutely hate the comparison.
c Other, namely: Hahahahah, answer B is very accurate but it's mean, so let's take out the-staying-in- the-blue-motel-and-never-come-out part. Chris Isaak can do whatever the fuck he wants.

6. 'Badlands' is also the sensational debut by filmmaker Terence Malick who recently won the Palme d'Or for the Tree of Life.

a That's no accident, the way the film depicts two outcast lovers on the run is spot on.
b Lars von Trier should have won.
c Other, namely: It's none of my business who wins what. I don't like criticizing other artists. I work on my own shit and mind my own business.

7. What's your take on lo-fi sound as an aesthetic?

a It has great enunciative powers.
b If the label would hand me more money I'd definitely leave home budget recording behind and go highest-fi.
c Other, namely: I think it'll be a gradual upgrade as in that each record improves fidelity-wise with the improved budget.

8. What's the best about being nostalgic?

a Not thinking about the future.
b It ain't what it used to be.
c Other, namely: I don't know. I hear people use to drill holes in peoples skulls in Europe when they have nostalgia, 'cuz they didn't know how to treat it. It was in between clinical depression and other mental illnesses that occurred at the time.

9. You've lived in various cities. If you were to move again what's the one thing you would not leave behind?

a My comb.
b Box full of VHS tapes I stole as a videostore employee.
c Other, namely: I leave behind almost everything.

10. I read you were offended once by a journalist who was rude with you. Are you offended by this questionaire?

a Yes, it makes me feel like being in high school again.
b No, I'd rather answer these questions than spending quality time playing beach volleyball with my friends.
c Other, namely: I'd rather be spending quality time playing beach volleyball with handsome black men.

By Brenda Bosma