Where did you get the name Lady GaGa from?
"It comes from the Queen song 'Radio Ga Ga'. I did a lot of very theatrical performance arty shows on the Lower East Side in New York and my producer kept saying to me, 'You're so GaGa'. I was like, 'You mean like Freddie Mercury?' and decided to keep it as my name."
Does everyone call you Lady GaGa now?
"Yeah, everybody calls me GaGa. Even my own mum calls me GaGa sometimes. I didn't sit down with my record label and say, 'I don't like my name, let's change it'. GaGa is who I've been for five years now. I say to people, 'If I'm not GaGa, I really don't know who the f**k I am'."
How would you describe the GaGa sound?
"It's pop, it's electronic, it's futuristic, it's fashion, it's New York, it's GaGa. I really want to make this my life and I want my work to express who I am. I want to express myself through as many mediums as possible and I want to become a master of as many artistic orifices as I can."
What's the story behind 'Just Dance', your debut single?
"The whole song's about being totally wasted at a party. It's about all the things that happen when you're out and you totally lose your head. In that situation we never really want to stop the party so we just dance through it. You're thinking, 'Oh f**k I wanna go home!' but your friends are like, 'Don't go home you loser, have another beer', so you do, you dance and then you're fine."
Do you go out clubbing a lot?
"Not any more because I don't have time to. I'm playing a show or two a night at the moment so I need to be on top of my game. Don't get me wrong, I'm having a glass of wine now, but I can't go out and get plastered and start screaming and fainting on the floor the way I used to. I have to be more of a lady now! I've probably only had four crazy nights in the last eight months, but that's fine by me. I had enough crazy nights to last a lifetime between the ages of 18 and 21."
How important is your image to what you do?
"It's incredibly important - you'd choke my entire vision if you took it from me. I design my clothes, I design my shows and I put it all together - it's a complete vision. I'm not interested in being thrown onstage in an outfit someone's picked out for me and just singing a song. I want to do something that people honestly remember. I want to walk onstage and have people say, 'I don't know what the f**k I just saw but I liked it'."
Christina Aguilera was accused of stealing your look recently. How do you feel about that?
"Well, it was very flattering when it happened. She's such a huge star and if anything I should send her flowers, because a lot of people in America didn't know who I was until that whole thing happened. It really put me on the map in a way, though of course I don't just want to be remembered for the Christina Aguilera scandal."
So there are no hard feelings?
"There are no hard feelings with Christina at all. What it showed me was, even though I've only been on the commercial market for seven or eight months, I've really burned graphic images of my visuals onto the irises of my fans. They saw a huge, Grammy-winning star who's been around for years and they recognised Lady GaGa. That to me is quite an accomplishment."
You've written songs for Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls. Are you writing for anyone else at the moment?
"I write all the time for other people but I don't like to say who I'm writing for. I just don't like to use other people to make me look cool. You know, I'm not a selfish artist and I love to create. I'd love to direct a music video for a big popstar. Maybe I could do one for Grace Jones and one for the Jonas Brothers?"
Lady GaGa and the Jonas Brothers doesn't seem like the most obvious pairing.
"Well, it depends how you look at it really. I mean, I think it would be such an accomplishment to direct a video for the biggest heartthrobs on the planet right now. I know I'm slightly pretentious in the way I talk about my own work, but I'm not really pretentious when it comes to other people's music. I'm only a snob when it comes to my own stuff!"
Lady GaGa releases 'Just Dance' on January 5. Her album, The Fame, follows on January 12.