Susanne Oberbeck, the frontwoman of post-No-Wave techno band No Bra, usually performs topless. "People think that I'm making some kind feminist statement," says Oberbeck. "But I'm not." No Bra, which Oberbeck started in 2003, first came to prominence after the single "Munchausen" became a sleeper hit on the underground electro music scene. A German transplant living in London at the time, Oberbeck would don a fake moustache and deliver songs in a deadpan spoken-word style -- which featured random conversation snippets set against a sinister and drone-y synthesizer drumbeat. The icing on the cake? She'd be clad only in skin-tight fake leather shorts, with her pelvic-length red hair covering one of her boobs. It was a sight to behold and a sound not easily forgotten.
Being non-conformist comes second nature
to Oberbeck, who speaks softly about growing
up in rural Germany and being mistaken for a
boy until she was well into her teens. Having fantasized
about British culture all her young adult
life (she was a self-described "mod"), Oberbeck
moved to London in her early 20s to study art
at Camberwell College of Arts and then to
New York to study film at Columbia where she
made a short called Ice People, starring Katherine
Moennig of The L Word and model Nina Brosh.
But disenchanted with the process of moviemaking,
Oberbeck shifted her focus to music and
touring. Now living in New York full-time, she
performs solo as well as with members of TV
Baby and A.R.E. Weapons (and, don't worry,
still sans shirt). "I'm more attracted to the energy
of New York than London right now," says
Oberbeck. "It's more raw and intense, but it's
not easy by any means -- and I like that."
Susanne wears a dress by H&M. Her right arm bracelet is by Aldo and she is wearing her own shoes and socks.