Interview: Nick Cave

Nick Cave recently released his umpteenth album "No More Shall We Part" on Mute Records. The man himself was happy to answer a few questions. Sit back and share with us the words of the dark one.

AD: The Bad Seeds live all around the world. How do the band work out the parts before going into the studio to record?

We don't. We just do it all in the studio. I'll have a song; I'll play it on the piano. They're very good musicians. They sit around, they listen to it and particularly in the way that this record was done, I'd sit at the piano, sing and everyone would just join in and work the stuff out as it went along. We deliberately recorded the songs very quickly before people really knew them that well, so that they had a kind of fragile sense of unknowing about them, rather than the laboured feel that some songs can get when you've practised them too much.

AD: "As I Sat Sadly By Her Side" is the first single taken from "No More Shall We Part". Can you tell us about the song and why it was chosen as the first release from the album?

Well, I just really like that song. It's got a bit of pace to it. Quite a few of the other songs were quite slow and we didn't want to do that again, really. So it does have a bit of pace to it. The song itself is a philosophic kind of discussion between two people, which happens to be myself and my wife looking out through a window at the nature of the world and of our internal worlds. She's seeing everything as wonderful and beautiful and I retort with the other side of the story about humanity and (in) the third verse she admonishes me for being such a miserable old bastard and that's pretty much what that song's all about.

AD: There are references to London on the new album. How has living in London influenced your work?

Well, I think it's had an enormous impact, really. One thing about London I find is that I don't really like it very much. I don't really like living here very much. I don't find it a very easy place to live. Having said that, it's really good for me to work here. I find that there's really nothing else to do, but than to come into the office and work. So, for that reason, I get a real lot done in London. It's just a difficult

city to front up to and I find a tendency to kind of hide away in here and work, so I really like that about London. Whereas Australia, for example, where I was just at Christmas, it's kind of the opposite. Melbourne is a very beautiful place: very open, very spacious, very easy. Everything's very easy to do and consequently I don't have a very creative idea going through my head at all when I'm there. I just sort of enjoy being alive.

AD: Tell us about "God Is In The House"? Did you have a real town in mind when writing the song?

Well, kind of, yeah. I didn't have a particular town, but I think that song came from travelling around the States in Arizona and Colorado, me and Susie driving around in a car, going through these beautiful and strange little towns. But there was a kind of spiritual smugness about them: "We're alright Jack and everything's all right here," and I found that a little bit sort of disturbing, so I guess that song comes from there.

AD: What other music are you listening to at the moment?

I'm listening to Beethoven, which you should check out. He's quite fantastic. The late quartets are especially brilliant. Yeah, lots of Beethoven.

AD: What is your most treasured possession?

That piano. That was given to me as a wedding present from Susie's parents, which they've had in their family for many, many years. It's a Steinway and it's a hundred years old this year and it's fantastic.

AD: What's a typical Nick Cave day?

Well, I come in here on the weekdays and I come in here and I work really. I wake up, I harass, torment Susie for an hour or two, then I leave the house and I come in here and I work away till 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock and I try and do my best to sort of leave this behind. That's it, I've done that and go back home and torment my wife a bit more and then go to bed.

Introduction and transcript by Tone E.

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