Shocker a born villain
Marilyn Manson is still pushing the boundaries with his new album Born Villain. Picture: Supplied.

At 43, shock rocker Marilyn Manson doesn't see any reason to change. The Los Angeles-based musician is still about pushing boundaries, blurring lines for art's sake and infiltrating his music with sardonic arrogance. His eighth studio album Born Villain is all about taking it that bit further.

Speaking from his LA home, Manson is chattier than one might expect - he clocked seven minutes answering a single question. He is a man possessed by the persona he has created and the music he makes. What's more, Born Villain is probably one of his most hyped albums and it hasn't even been released yet.

It's Manson's first album through Cooking Vinyl after severing ties with Interscope, the major label that released his 1994 debut Portrait of An American Family and Antichrist Superstar in 1996, among other albums.

"The new record put simply has the ambition and determination of how I started making music in the first place," Manson says.

"It sounds like the first record in that it's not afraid to do anything. I had to remove myself from my lifestyle and start fresh. I moved into a dance studio with only black and white paint and I started painting and making music.

"I left my belongings in storage and got on with the task. For me, disconnecting from my life to focus on this album allowed me to be more creative and ambitious. I wanted little distraction. It makes the challenge more exciting.

"This album is full of my personality, it's sardonic, arrogant and dirty and based around my two favourite authors - Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil and Shakespeare's Macbeth. They really resonate with me."

Manson teamed with actor Shia LaBeouf to make a promotional trailer for the album. The result is dark, intense and cringe-worthy with imagery sourced from Alejandro Jodorowsky's 70s flick The Holy Mountain and Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali's 1929 short film Un Chien Andalou. It's as graphic as you'd expect from Manson; think nails driving under skin filmed up close and you get the squirm factor he's after.

"I don't think it's shocking, it's art, it's a form of expression," Manson says. "Working with Shia was awesome. We connected and he totally gets where I am coming from."

Manson grew up in Ohio as an only child, embarking on a career in music journalism before focusing on his band full-time.

While on assignment to interview the Nine Inch Nails in the early 90s, Manson bonded with frontman Trent Reznor. Manson's eponymous band subsequently toured with NIN and Reznor ended up producing three Marilyn Manson albums.

Touring with one of industrial music's pioneers was the perfect collaboration and one that helped kick-start his career.

Manson has sustained a life in the spotlight. His band has sold in excess of 50 million albums worldwide and experienced a Christian-led backlash. He has been labelled a Satanist - not that such claims worry him any more.

He prefers cold dark rooms and sleeps during the day, only emerging at night. "It's a life I have been accustomed to, it's just my way of being," Manson says.

Is he the same man he was back in his 20s and 30s? Does Marilyn Manson ever grow tired of living up to his theatrics? "It's not that I am suicidal or nihilistic but a lot of effort goes into living and being who I am," Manson says.

"But I can't imagine my life without all that I have created. It's a Catch-22 situation." <div class="endnote">

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The West Australian

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