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    My Patrick Wolf interview

    21-04-07

      15:43:01, by S p r k .   , 1561 words  
    Categories: Categorie-loos

    My Patrick Wolf interview

    This was done just hours after I interviewed Tori Amos, in April 2007.


    Photo by Gered Mankowitz

    We speak with singer/songwriter Patrick Wolf (23) right before his performance at the Rotterdam festival for the arts, Motel Mozaïque. Earlier that day he cancelled a radio concert because the piano they set up for him wasn?t up to his standards. ,,I?ve been making music for too long to still be playing on a horrible synthesizer.? When he enters he looks defeated, as if he?s not able to deal with it all. We will soon find out this isn?t someone who lives for the audience and applause, but who would much rather lock himself up and just make music. We talk to him about his plans to stop performing live, how he used to get bullied and about his new album.

    Are you conscious of the fact that there are some young guys looking up to you, because of the way you dress and the way you act?

    I?m not sure, to tell the truth. I guess the way I look is just a by-product of? It?s just so natural to me. I?ve been dressing this way for a long time. I?ve always been tall, and have always been making my own clothes, had my own style. If that inspires other people to be proud of their own individuality and complexity, and the way that they want to look or sound in life, then that?s a great thing. But at the end of the day, I?m a musician and the artwork and videos are just a second and tertiary way of communication.

    You don?t come across as someone with a fabricated his image.
    No, it?s not fabricated at all, that?s the thing. It?s the opposite of fabrication. I don?t try to present myself in a way that is compromising or will get me a wide audience or get me respect from different kinds of people. I?m just basically laying myself bare. And whether it creates an applause or disgust is not my problem. That?s really beyond me.


    Photo by Gered Mankowitz

    You said you were bullied a lot in school. Have any of the people you went to school with apologized for what they did?
    I left school when I was fifteen and I?ve been around the world many times. I?ve not been anywhere near that part of my life for a long time. I don?t know anybody from those years at all. When I was sixteen I immediately got over that whole period. I wrote a few songs that helped me get over it, I met some people that made me feel like I was human again, that I was worth something. I certainly didn?t need to be suffering anymore. I do sometimes talk about it in order to maybe help other people. I remember when I was going through certain things, it was always nice to know that other people had been there and overcome it, and gone on to be a confident and beautiful person again. The thing that I promote is to just immediately get over that whole period. Don?t let anybody win. Just live your life full of positive things. I tend not to really speak about it anymore in interviews because I was over that whole situation seven or eight years ago.

    And the people who did it probably don?t even realize the damage they may have done.
    I think I realized very early on that I?m never gonna live my life in reaction to any negative things that happen to me. I don?t believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If somebody hits you, you smile and walk on and you enjoy the rest of your life. Don?t suffer too much. So I think a lot of my work is quite celebratory.

    Your new album does sound happier than your previous work. Your first album Lycanthropy is really sort of schizophrenic, I guess, and your second album Wind in The Wires is more classical and sophisticated. How would you describe The Magic Position?
    It?s my idea of pop music. Pop music has a universal theme, usually based on love. And the production of pop is normally very luxurious and sonically very crisp and bright. I decided I wanted to produce a record where there was no dirtiness, just very pure frequencies. Where all the harmonies were extremely luxurious and uncorrupted.

    This is the first album you?ve done for a major record label. Did that take away any of your artistic freedom?
    Not really, no. I guess most of the energy was spent making sure that nothing was taken away. It?s the same as the other two, in terms of my creative process, being extremely solitary and away from too many opinions.


    Photo by Gered Mankowitz

    You?ve been remixing for Annie, Björk and Mika. How did that came about?
    I don?t know. I?m doing Amy Winehouse and Siobhán Donaghy at the moment. The people that approach me tend to be solo artists that want a make-over. It?s exciting and I enjoy doing remixes. It?s kind of an extremely fun side-project that you get paid for. It?s not something I?ve persued, but people just come up to me and they give me a song. And I just go off and do it at midnight, in bed, with a laptop, you know. It?s not like a career choice. Just a bit of fun.

    Is there anyone you?d like to work with?
    There are some people like Joni Mitchell, Björk and Kate Bush, and they?re a kind of untouchable kind of art. I feel like it would be a very odd thing to even think about working with them. It felt very human and very natural though, to work with Marianne Faithful on the song Magpie this album. It was a strange process. I guess things are meant to happen for a reason, and you don?t think twice, you just let them happen.

    What is your opinion on downloading music?
    You know? Nobody makes money from their records. I don?t know any successful, famous musicians that actually make a penny from their recordings. It just means that artists have to end up doing things like putting their songs on adverts and stuff, for cars and things that they don?t really want to end up doing. Just so they can pay for their next album.

    Do you prefer creating music in the studio or do you prefer performing live?
    Definitely studio work. Going into a studio with a piano and disconnecting and turning my phone off for two days and just writing. For me, that?s a very supernatural and magical process and it has nothing to do with my social life or my love life or anything.


    Photo by Gered Mankowitz

    You?ve once said you disliked performing live because it was hard to bring up the same emotion as when you were creating the songs.
    Is that still an obstacle for you?

    Not so much anymore. I guess now it?s a very automatic, almost auto-pilot kind of thing. I normally save all my energy for a half an hour before a show, then go on and do the music, get posessed and then an hour later, leave the stage and go to bed. And then wake up the next day and do another show. That?s the way I can cope with it.

    Cope with it? Shouldn?t you enjoy it?
    Enjoyment is such a complicated issue? I don?t know how much I enjoy it and how much I have to do it as an artist; how much is duty and how much is vocation.

    You do realize that?s pretty unique. Most artists are completely obsessed with performing live, they really live for the audience?
    I don?t know? My vocation is to be a composer. I feel like I?ve had my share of being famous or a public person, especially in England. And I?m going to be selling off my publishing [the right to receiving royalty payments on material you?ve created ? ed.] very soon and buying a house by the sea.

    You?re going to sell your publishing?
    Yeah, and take my piano down there, that I bought last year, and just write for a long long time. And maybe give up the road for a long time. I?m 23 and I?ve been performing for ten or eleven years now. I?ve done three albums that I?m very proud of, and I?ve got many more to come. I just need time to disconnect again and go back? This winter I?ll do my last show for a long time. It?s a very healthy decision, I think. I?m looking forward to it. I haven?t taken a holiday since my first EP, which was when I was seventeen. I haven?t taken a week off, ever. When you live like that, you can either turn into Mariah Carey, or you go back to your roots.


    Photo by Gered Mankowitz

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