Jarboe is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist who came to prominence as a member of the New York-based band Swans in 1985. Her music has led to select comparisons to other female musicians in the otherwise male-dominated rock subculture. Her work in and beyond the iconic Swans has received international critical attention, with an eclectic list of collaborators such as Chris Connelly, Attila Csihar, and Neurosis.


1: Nothing is here to stay.

2: Pain is not punishment.

3: Pleasure is not reward.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

2. How and when did you get into making music?
As a child singing with my father.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Arvo Pärt – Tabula Rasa (all recordings versions)
Popol Vuh – Nosferatu
Popol Vuh – Tantric Songs
Popol Vuh – Hosianna Mantra
Lama Tashi – Tibetan Master Chants

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
1984: Swans at The Loft with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Meeting Einsterzende Neubauten.
Staying at Blixa Bargeld’s apartment with Michael.
Admiring Blixa’s unique custom leather clothing hanging in the apartment hallway…
And Michael giving me a red rose and he and I spontaneously running inside a random building.
Late at night during a walk through the city where we kissed under the staircase in the foyer…

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The hiking trails by the Chattahoochee River.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Continue to do paintings and write and then help create music for the world.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
‘Death Stranding’ ( Original Score ) by Ludvig Forssell.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
2.5 GHz 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, 4.4GHz Turbo Boost Mac Pro.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I experience something of benefit in every performance whether as performer or spectator.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is the means with which to dialogue and explore creativity.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
One of my brothers was a free spirit. He was a microbiologist and also a world class mountain climber and cave explorer. He died in a climbing accident. My other brother has had difficulty accepting my work due to his conservative religious beliefs.

Jarboe was scheduled to perform at the Kiezsalon on Wednesday, 29th April 2020 along award-winning Kazakh/British violinist Galya Bisengalieva and Norwegian-Mexican ambient composer Carmen Villain. We hope to reschedule later in the year. Visit kiezsalon.de for the latest news.

Photo © Jarboe