|Interview from Israeli Newspaper  by Ohad Pishof (Yediot Ahronot)|
|Sunday, 13 August 2006|
This is an interview with Nick from a weekend edition of an Israeli newspaper. (Yediot Ahronot, 7 Days, vol.1941 page 84. 6th of April 2001). Translated from Hebrew by Noam Yatsiv.
Written by Ohad Pishof, London
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds have released a new album. No More Shall We Part is their first album in four years, and their 11th album to date. The following interview was arranged by Mute Records, in a dark hotel room with a fireplace, in big leather sofas. He is wearing a tie. His voice isn’t as deep as on the songs, and his Australian accent is more noticeable.
He says: “So how’s Israel these days? Last time I visited I had a great time. Me and friend of mine rented a car and drove, trying not to come across people. Just for fun, we’d give hitchhikers rides, and let them listen to my previous album, which wasn’t yet released, and we’d ask for their opinion. That’s a pretty surreal situation when you come to think of it.”
The new album’s romantic-yet-threatening title invites the listener into a determined psychological reality of destinies written in the blood, and a limited right of choosing. For good or bad, in sadness and in happiness, till death do us part Nick Cave’s relationship with life, as this album tells us, has the nature of a Catholic wedding. A heavy feeling oppresses the hero to rise. Whether it’s the human suffering in “As I Sat Sadly…”, the over-righteousness of Christianity in “God Is In The House”, or the regret and yearn in “Love Letter”, something is always down.
Although Cave himself feels the opposite way: “The album is chained down to the ground and to our lives, and so it’s about the fears and small details of life. And although that, it is lifting his hands up, and reaching out to the stars and the sky. In my previous material I had a twisted passion for exploring the chaos, to dive into abyss and all that shit. I’d dive and stay down there. This sort of thing doesn’t appear in this album. We tend to go too far with chaos’ importance. I jumped in it, and it came just up to my knees.”
OP (interviewer): What appeals to you so much in a ballad, as a form of a song?
The ballad is a big element in Cave’s creative life. The office he has rented lately is another element: “I have an office. In my office I have a desk and a piano, and a bed, which I hardly use. I come into my office every single day a week at 9am and stay there until 6pm, and I do that devoutly. It is my
OP: What do you do in your office when you’re not writing?
OP: Does the fact that you employ yourself in your office make the separation between life and creation easier?
OP: Does the fact that you don’t have to choose between so many options comfort you?
OP: Do you think people become wiser past the years?
OP: What are those things that make you a better man?
OP: So is creation a compulsion?
OP: Were you always so strict?
OP: Do you think discipline is an important thing in life?
OP: As a father, do you think discipline will make your children’s lives easier?
OP: Did you separate personal songs, where you are the main character, and songs that tell a story with you in it? It seems that as the years go by that
OP: In your last few albums I find much more irony in your writing, and simpler use of language. The improvement is in the presentation. It’s like you no longer have a use in being very poetic in your writing. It seems like today you can find the right way to present any text, as simple as it can be.
OP: It’s always interesting to look at the feminine characters in your songs. A prominent character that appears twice or thrice in the new album is the nurse.
OP: In “Hallelujah” the hero doesn’t rebel against the nurse. The song ends with him giving up the adventure and coming home, to the nurse that waits for him, to the small comforts of everyday life. So, in fact nothing happens in this song after everything.
As always, in Cave’s tradition, the album’s title can be interpreted as a romantic line, or as a death threat, or as an ode after something has happened. The murder of the beloved girl is a key motive in Cave’s work. In the book ‘The Sex Revolts’, Joey Press and Simon Reynolds dedicate a whole chapter to the topic, and to the way the Cave’s work shows women: “The murder of the beloved girl in his writing becomes a way to perpetuate the symbol of the Madonna and defeating the whore (‘whore’ in any way about the woman being sexually independent, including the possibility that she’ll leave him for another man). After being murdered, the woman cannot change his fascist view of her in his mind. He controls her availability and eternality (she remains an ideal picture frozen in a ‘repertoire of symbols of the beloved one’). Finally, the murder makes the victim larger than life, heroic.”
Nick Cave model 2001 is walking through the fields of lyrical possibilities, which spreads between hot cocoa and romantic murder. His tendency to kill every woman he spends time with in his songs, bothers him: “In the new album it really just has a little hint to it. I’m not sure where it comes from. There was that song with the line about the smoking gun… I don’t know. Look, I love a good story.”
OP: Is it something that you find hard talking about?
OP: The songs on the new album are much less dramatic. Compared to previous albums, there isn’t much going on there. No story.
OP: The first track on your album is always important. It sets the tone for the whole album. ‘As I Sat Sadly…’ is sort of a first act. It’s a song of observing. The hero is just sitting and watching the world being held outside his window.
OP: Do you consider yourself a believer?
OP: In the past your albums had a historical feeling. The songs would take place in a very specific place. Now it seems like time is more blurry and there are even parts about recent things. Even present.