Nick Cave doesn’t do interviews, generally, so it was funny to watch him sigh, eye-roll and eat a croissant during a “live video press conference” with members of the alt-weekly community last week. Basically, certain newspapers were partnered up and granted access to web-based Q and A session timed with the announcement for Cave’s summer tour.
On keeping songs in the setlist
There are some songs that just seem to be infinitely playable. They always kind of reveal something new. And some songs, just don’t have that capacity. They sound fine on record and you take them out, you play them live, you feel them die after a few plays.
On the purpose of songs
Songs to me are kind of memory machines, and the purpose of them on some level is to aid my memory. And they are very effective way of being thrown back to earlier times.
On interpreting his lyrics
The meaning of the songs is not so important to me. It’s more where the songs actually take me. … I can kind of reconvene with the ghosts my past in some kind of way. That can be quite a beautiful thing.
On how his voice has changed
It’s changed a lot. It’s deeper. It’s more versatile. My intonation, my famously individualistic intonation, is better. You know, sometimes I actually hear myself on stage and it sounds almost enjoyable to listen to, rather than filling me with absolute horror as it has for most of my career.
On his new record, Live From KCRW
We didn’t intend to make a live record. We didn’t go into the KCRW session intending to do anything with that whatsoever — in fact it was kind of stuck in at the end of a long, grueling American tour and it was the last thing in the world that we wanted to do was to go into a radio station and play some songs on our day off. The nice thing about that was it was pared down and we could sit down and play these songs, and it wasn’t the full line-up of the Bad Seeds. But it wasn’t a performance as such, I mean there was a live audience there, but it felt very much, with the band, like we could lose ourselves in the songs. What came out of it was something really beautiful. And it was just a really special time.
On live records
I don’t really like a lot of live records. A lot of live records are boring. Because you’re not really experiencing what you do when you go and see a live thing, which is to feel the power and the energy and see what’s going on, and that sort of stuff. But this particular record really captured the quiet energy of this performance. To me it was so beautiful really that we felt that we should put it out.
On working in multiple mediums — music, writing, screenwriting
I’m not so sure inspiration has much to do with the process at all. I tend to kind of rush headlong from one thing into another. I don’t allow myself enough time to become afraid of the project or to start worrying about whether the project will be successful or not. I tend to just leap into things and hope for the best and I work. I work pretty hard.
On the songwriting process
They never pour out of me. Each song is a difficult and painful birthing experience. Not that I really know what the birthing experience is like. But I assume it’s painful. I hear there are these people that are just “given” songs, but I’m not so sure that’s true. I think most songs that are worthwhile there’s a lot of work behind those songs.
On the passing of Lou Reed
One of the very foundation stones that’s held up what we believe in, or what my generation believes in, has been taken away. The thing about Lou, for me, was that it isn’t something where I look back at the older records and think ‘What an amazing body of work.’ It was about Lou’s life lived and how extraordinary that was. How challenging that was to people. How polarizing it was, and how exciting it was. It’s a huge loss.
Click here for two free Nick Cave songs and a ticket pre-sale offer for when he plays The Mann July 25, 2014.
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