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    Sprk en het Tori Amos interview


      18:52:04, by S p r k .   , 4744 words  
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    Sprk en het Tori Amos interview

    I've finally transcribed the whole thing. So here it is. My Tori Amos interview. Edited versions will appear in Gay&Night Magazine and on GAY.NL. Feel free to link to this URL if you want to link to the interview. Do not copy the text onto other sites etc. Thanks and enjoy.

    M: I'm a little nervous, 'cause I'm a really big fan.

    T: It's all going to be fine.

    M: Yeah. I was watching your MSN interview...

    T: Oh!

    M: And you seemed very relaxed and very nice and nothing to be nervous about.

    T: Oh, good... That makes me feel good.

    M: Let's start with a question about your new album, American Doll Posse. Usually when people want to write deeply personal things, they create fictional characters to speak through. However, you've always been very personal in your lyrics, yet this time around, you've created different characters to speak about the state of the world, politics and stuff like that. What's the idea behind that?

    T: Well, I hadn't thought of that. So... [touches head] Braaaain. As you know, the girls are tackling mostly different subjects, although some of them do cross a bit... But possibly for different reasons and from a different angle. I think that Clyde holds the space of the introspection. There are some real personal things coming from Clyde's side. However, in a way... Even though we're commenting on social issues, I think it's how I feel about them, too... And how I think some of the people around me were responding to certain events in the world. But then there are the inner worlds that each of us has. And over the years I've chosen to find ways to express that, where you might not initially recognize that it's attached to me, because... Can you imagine in your life, if any time anybody walks in a room, they think a song's gonna be about them. I mean, 'husband' doesn't wanna know who they are about that. We work together...

    M: Thoroughly...

    T: We work together thoroughly, yes. Yes. In so many ways.

    M: I won't ask you to comment on Mac Aladdin.

    T: Thank you. That's very good, isn't it? Very good guitar work.

    M: Yes, yes, it is.

    T: Ummm, and so... We'll leave it there. And I think it's for the best to keep it there, for all kinds of reasons. But! Ummm... You know, personal feelings are gonna come through on songs. And I do like it when, though people are applying it to their life, because that's what I think being a composer, what you want more than anything. When people listen to something like Roosterspur Bridge, or Digital Ghost, or Girl Disappearing, or Father's Son or Dragon, they're seeing their own events and their own people. I really think I will have failed as a composer if I'm creating it so that I'm making sure you see the people that they're about. That's not what I want. There is a certain pivotal time, when I try to protect the people - anybody that comes across me; I need them to feel protected. Because you're probably going to end up in the song, but if you don't know it, I think I've done a good job.

    M: How do you feel about people recording and freely distributing your live shows in quite a large a non-profit community?

    T: Well, you know, look... I mean... There is a side to you that... If you're talking to the producer side of me, then of course you like things to be perceived in a certain way. And now you know that our rigs are capturing it. We have a ProTools rig out, so everything is being recorded. It has the potential to represent, hopefully, more what it was trying to be, depending on where you?re sitting, where you are near the speakers and what is happening... But sometimes the producer side of me can miss the point about why it's happening. That side of me is looking at it very much as... Is the work what we want the work to be? And as you and I both know, there are two issues here. There is another one, which is people wanting to share the experience, and aren't that concerned about...

    M: Quality.

    T: 'Well listen to the EQ, and listen to what that's doing, and did you hear how the reflection of the back wall is?' I mean, you know, that's all really ant-fuckerish, and I know that. But I am that way, kind of. So there are two sides that happen. There's a side that's really realistic and understands why it's happening... And to just smile and appreciate that people are enjoying that. And then, those that really want to hear it, if we happen to put out an official boot that has done it correctly, then there's that on record, too.

    M: The bootleg box that you released for your last tour sold really well, to my knowledge.

    T: Yeah! It did really well.

    M: Has that influenced your opinion and strategy of releasing live recordings? I don't expect you to ever to the Pearl Jam thing, where they have every show up for paid download within hours of it ending, because you like to mix everything...

    T: I know... But 'husband' is trying to figure it out. He's really trying to figure it out.

    M: So you're looking into releasing the whole tour?

    T: He is. I don't know if we can do it like that.

    M: Because I would buy every single show. Seriously.

    T: But would you need it to be done within hours of that night?

    M: No, not neccesarily, no. But there are so many... My favorite version of Pretty Good Year on the 2005 tour is the version you only did once, which was done on Hammond and piano. And everybody just... Is totally in love with that version. But there's only a really crappy quality version of that online.

    T: What show is that?

    M: Clearwater.

    T: Clearwater, Florida?

    M: Yeah. You only did it once on Hammond and piano, the rest of the tour is just piano. And it's beautiful. It's longer... It's amazing.

    T: Did I play Clearwater, Florida on the last tour? Do I remind you of Dory, that fish on Finding Nemo? Well, obviously, we have the ProTools file of that. So yeah, I mean, I know what you are saying. You're saying, how nice to be able to have that available. For people to pick and choose what they want.

    M: And of course it doesn't have to be within hours. Just as long as it's available. People are interested anyway, I think.

    T: Well, there are two sides to this. If what they're mixing live, in that moment, can stand up to the test, for it to be every show, every night, and available within a time-frame of our lifetime, you have to almost be doing it on-the-fly, as it's going down. If not, if you're going and mixing it, then the idea of doing 100 shows is a huge undertaking. So even though that might be, in the end, another step of quality, the one right under it, which is mixing on-the-fly is gonna be better than anybody elses recording of it. And yet, it's the only way to grab every show. It's a difficult one. But I think, then maybe you choose 10 out of all of them, that you take to that other level. But the other ones might... The thing is, in the end the engineers have to be able to turn around and say 'we can do it' - it's not just me saying 'let's do this'.

    M: And do you... You've done some amazing things in the past. And everything's available, you know, the Dew Drop Inn tour, the Plugged tour, and especially the Strange Little Girls tour, you've done some amazing work. Do you think we'll ever hear... For some tours, the official recordings are pretty scarce. So do you think you'll ever go back and maybe do like a 'Dew Drop Inn Greatest Hits' double CD or release some older concerts... Bj?rk did it a couple of years ago.

    T: You know I haven't... Because I've been busy composing and creating, I haven't thought about doing it. But I've been assured that we have all the recordings. They all exist and they're all being kept in a healthy place. Meaning they're stored correctly and all that. So that's sort of what Mark does, that's in his pile of... His to-do list. So when you ask me that, I think it's a really important thing to do. But I don't know, do you do it... When do you do it?

    M: Well, I have a theory, but I don't know if that would work for you.

    T: What's your theory?

    M: There are a lot of people, who have been to a lot of shows, and there are people who have most of the fan recordings, so they know what the best version of Leather is. I mean, it's different every night. But they know where you've done a variation that you don't normally do, or... I would seriously consider hiring... Or if you would ask me I wouldn't even ask to get paid, I'd just do it... To sort of pick songs from various shows. Because I can image you can't release 300 live CD's.

    T: No, that's really hard.

    M: Yeah, but it's do-able. And it's really... I think a lot of the fans... It wouldn't neccesarily attract a whole new fanbase, but the fans would completely...

    T: Love that.

    M: Yes.

    T: Well, you'll have to remind me. When I finish this tour, you'll have to find a way, to say... You could ask people who have been to the shows and they can put in their...

    M: You could even turn it into a whole interactive thing, where people get to vote, and...

    T: Yeah, that would be good! Because I don't remember. I mean, as you know, I know this sounds really... But if you're in the present and you're composing, you have to let go of the past. You have to be focussed on the now, otherwise... That's not so good.

    M: You?ve done a lot of live covers...

    T: Yeah...

    M: But is there anyone you would like to hear do a cover of one of your own songs?

    T: I think there are a lot of artists who could do it. I mean, I haven't sat and written a list of names. But I have thought that there are so many compositions that are pretty diverse, that depending on what your musical style is, there's something there for you. And I think some of the songs are aching to be turned upside down and presented in a different way. But it?s a little tacky to sollicit. You have to let those artists discover it, and come up with it themselves.

    M: Ok... Ummm... I'm personally really fascinated by the Y Kant Tori Read album. Sorry.

    T: [laughs] Are you?

    M: Actually, Etienne is one of my favorite songs by you. And I can imagine it totally not being a good experience for you at the time, especially seeing the way you work now... But there are some really beautiful compositions... My phone is vibrating, which is fucked up.

    T: [laughs loudly]

    M: There is some really good material on there. So looking back on it now, have you come to terms with it? I mean, you were in a certain place; you were desperate to get your music out... You've been playing Etienne more, and Cool On Your Island on practically every show...

    T: Yeah! There are some songs that I do have a really good relationship with, and... I am able to separate some of the events of the time from the music. And I also know if it hadn't been met with such rejection, then I probably wouldn't have... Well, I have no idea what would have happened, but I don't think Little Earthquakes and then everything that has followed would have been what it was. Also... Ummm... By having that experience at the time, maybe you learn a lesson, in a harsh manner, but has this ever happened to you, where you've learned something and it just tasted so bad, but you've NEVER made that mistake again?

    M: Yes, of course. That's part of life, I guess. Learning how not to do things.

    T: That's right. But some people didn't have that experience, on their first record, that it was... Ummm... It was so reviled, and part of it was the image. That ummm... I never got seduced to listen to their image ideas ever again. Where some of my contemporaries, or even a few that were a little younger, did listen. And it really had a devastating effect on some of them, because they thought they could do no wrong, and they took on board what the suits were saying. And the one thing I learned is how not to do that. Even if they?re convinced of it, you have to look with a really clear vision and think ?they have no idea what they?re talking about?. So in that way I?m able to see the time as a really important time, and a good time. And I can separate the songs. So yeah, I mean, I don?t have a harsh feeling about it now.

    M: You sound-checked Fire On The Side for the last tour.

    T: Oh did I?

    M: Yes. And you?ve played Cool On Your Island and Etienne ? which I think is really underplayed.

    T: Yeah, underplayed?

    M: Yes, it?s so beautiful. Can you ever imagine doing a proper Fire On The Side, or Floating City, or?

    T: I do like Floating City. I need to think about that. I think Matt and Jon would do a really good job with it.

    M: They could do the backing vocals.

    T: [laughs] That is really hard, to do all that. But yeah, maybe do a little background vocal; make an extra version, do the background vocal part. Yeah, I think Floating City could stand. And I know Fire On The Side could maybe get a read. But I have to work that through. I have to really convince Matty to play Fire On The Side, because it?s a rock ballad. But maybe he?ll be my friend and do it.

    M: How do you plan on solving the guitar issue? Since there?s guitar on practically every song on the new album.

    T: We?re working through it, and I can?t answer that right now. I can?t, because I don?t know the answer. I mean, you know? It?s just one of those things where we?re all addressing it. And I guess we?ll see how it goes. I think live is never about duplicating the albums exactly anyway. Anybody that comes to the show knows that. So I think you?re gonna get a lot more keyboard, bass and drums. But there?ll probably be representations of guitar hook lines as we can do it as part of our sampled world. You know, keyboards can do amazing things. It?s got all kinds of knobs and all kinds of?

    M: Do you know what kind of keyboards you?re bringing?

    T: All kinds of things. They will be able to do what we need them to do. But it will be different; it won?t just be the record.

    M: There?s a string quartet on the record as well, you?ve done a lot of string stuff on your previous work as well. It it one of your ambitions to do a proper orchestra show?

    T: It is! Yeah, believe me, I?ve thought about it. We?ve talked about it with Claude, who runs the Montreux Jazz Festival. It won?t happen this time, but we talked about doing it and learning it with an orchestra. He has suggested the Prague Symphony orchestra, but it was for a Montreux presentation and there would have been a Montreux recording. And Claude is Warner Brothers and I?m contracted to Sony, so all of that became a little bit of a headache. So then you have to come up with another way, if it?s gonna be a one-off, you almost have to make it for something, an event. Because you have to have a rehearsal, whether it?s a live recording? I?m not sure what to do with it.

    M: When I started working for this magazine it was in June and they said ?which artist should we do a horoscope in the August issue for?? and of course I suggested doing you. So would you like to hear it?

    T: Yeah! Please!

    M: Not surprisingly this glamorous performer was born with Venus, the planet of talent & beauty, together with the Sun in Leo, the sign of creativity. Musical talent, and personal charisma clearly assisted her to launch a successful career in the music industry. Uranus, the planet of invention, combined also with Pluto to give Tori originality in self-expression. Neptune, the mystery planet, was in Scorpio these years explaining her sexual allure. From late November (2006), Jupiter, the planet of opportunity, moves in harmony with the sign of Leo, suggesting many artistic opportunities will be handed to her.

    T: Huh! I would love to keep that, I really would! So do you do charts?

    M: No. My mother used to do the tarot cards.

    T: Really? Does she still do them?

    M: No, she passed away three years ago.

    T: Oh? You must miss her.

    M: Yeah. Yeah?

    T: Sorry.

    M: No, it?s ok. Your song 1,000 Oceans was a song I played a lot during that time.

    T: Oh yeah. It?s ok.

    M: Sorry. I hardly ever get emotional when I talk about my mother anymore, but?

    T: It?s ok. I was singing Toast the other day. It was Easter and? I was remembering Michael. And it?s funny ? I kept playing it. Normally I?d play the new record to work out to, to get ready for the show. Because you know, I?m getting older, so to get this body into shape, I have to work it. So I was working out in the steam room, this room we have at Martian. And normally I have a certain regime. But all of a sudden I looked at all the recordings and I just pulled out The Beekeeper and for some reason I put on Toast. And it was Easter Sunday. And I just played it over and over and over. And it was one of those moments where I couldn?t stop playing it until I had come to terms. I think it took me an hour, you know, over and over and over, until I could finally acknowledge that he had come to visit me and let him go. But I do feel his presence quite a bit. Sometimes I?ll just look around and there he is. And I just know that he?s there. I don?t know if you feel that way sometimes with your mom, but it?s funny how songs can take you to that place.

    M: Well, when someone dies, for a lot of people it?s very black and white. You think that a person is gone, isn?t going to be in my life anymore and there?s this sense of loss. And then after a while you realize that even though you can?t physically talk to that person anymore, you have so many memories, you know that there?s a resemblance, and there are certain things that you might do or think that are based on what she might have done. If I would have been able to tell her that I was interviewing you, she would be really proud and happy for me. Even though someone isn?t physically there anymore, you know that they are still an integral part of you. And I think that?s important to realize.

    T: Yeah. And do you think that there is still a relationship with them? It?s not as we?re talking, it?s not that concretized, but I feel with certain people in my life that have moved on to the other side, Michael and Kevyn being two obvious ones, that they?re very present, in a way. I still have a relationship with them. And I don?t mean I have a relationship with just our memories. There can be situations that come up, and I start talking to them [laughs] and I do feel as if I get some kind of response from them. And it?s not hearing voices, it?s more of a? Different language, trying to listen in a different way.

    M: And knowing what their opinion on certain things would be.

    T: Yeah. As if the veils aren?t so thick. There are times when I don?t feel any sort of message from the other side. But then there are times where the veils are thin. There?s a song on this record called Secret Spell. And it was just a topsy-turvy time and I remember going to the gym and I started to walk on the walking machine. And all of a sudden I just felt Michael and Kevyn?s presence in that moment. And within 15 minutes I ran to the piano and the beginning of Secret Spell started. And I do think in a way, they sort of brought it with them.

    M: I saw an interview with your mother on the Welcome To Sunny Florida DVD, and it?s uncanny how she not only looks like you, but also? I hope this doesn?t come across as weird, but whenever you have the idea that you?re saying something exciting, your eyes get really big for a second.

    T: Yes!

    M: She has the exact same thing.

    T: Does she?

    M: It?s uncanny. Of course, she?s your mother, it?s logical. But you don?t always see such an exact replica. And I was wondering if you recognize a lot of yourself in Tash.

    T: Ummm, I don?t know. I think I?m more like my mom than Tash is like one person ? her dad or me or her cousins. I think she is this combination or a lot of people around her. And yes, there are moments when I can see?

    M: Where you recognize a little Myra Ellen?

    T: Well, Tash is beginning to write music, in her way, with her language. But it?s how the thought process comes. You know she?s hearing it from some other place, and I really understand that. She?s just feeling it, and it?s coming from some kind of muse. And so in that way I can see that she?s tapping into a similar place, that?s just genetic. But how it?s coming out? It?s funny, but her vocabulary, he musical vocabulary is very different from mine. What she thinks is a resolve, musically, and she?s only 6, but I?ll go ?wow, trippy!?. I mean, alien creature! But I?m sure she thinks that about us also. She?s really into R&B. Not when she?s composing, she?s really progressive. But when she starts to sing? She?s been watching too much Disney channel, I?m telling you. And I have to watch it. Because the music side of me? Yeah, I can appreciate it. I do. I get it, alright. However, a part of me just thinks? If you?re gonna listen to R&B, Natashya, then I just put my foot down ? here?s Aretha. Let?s listen. And ok, you like High School Musical, you like all that, but if you want R&B, then let?s listen to proper R&B. And she goes ?oookay?? And she LOVES Aretha. And she just sits there? And you?d think that Tash, who?s gonna be really tall, a giantess?. She just sits there, this white girl, with a bindi in the middle of here forehead, that she was born with ? I have a picture to show you. And she?ll just sit there and start singing ?what you want? and I think that?s so weird! And I don?t know if she?s ever gonna do anything with her music. She loves animals, and the last thing Mark and I are doing is pushing the music industry. We hope she just has music for her own soul. Because this can be such a soulless business, as you know. And it can make you hate music. Unless you protect it with your life, you have to realize, they worm themselves into the music business, but some of these people don?t even care about it. And they?re working on the accounting side of the record industry and you look at some of these people and think, would you want to expose a friend to this? Or your child? I don?t know. If you want to get more questions in, go ahead. Because she?s not in yet.

    M: Well, are things at Epic better now, than they were with Atlantic? Or have you come to find that it doesn?t really matter which label you?re on?

    T: Well, no, it does matter. It does matter who the top dudes are that you?re dealing with. Because if they don?t appreciate music, if they don?t value what an artist creates, or what music is, then? It matters. So Charlie, who is at Epic now? This is the first time I?ve worked with him? He?s a good guy. He really does, I think, I don?t know him well enough to speak that much, but I know enough how he?s responded to this record. There was a real change of people. There was somebody there during Scarlet?s Walk who was great, Polly. And that all ended, she left. And then there was no one, not really. There were money people, during my Beekeeper phase. So when you think about it all, if you put your noodle on, you can figure it out. And that all really pissed me off. When you?re turning in music from your being and your soul, and there are people there who aren?t in it because they love music, then you can react to it. And with this record I just said ?yeah right, closing rank?. I didn?t let anybody hear the record, I didn?t let anybody near the concept, I went to outside art directors, everything was out. And then Charlie flew in when it was all over and he looked at me and said ?I fucking love this?. And I said ?well that?s handy?. Because that?s good ? you need them to like it. Sometimes it?s timing; sometimes you make the right record for the wrong time. Or you make the wrong record for the wrong time. But if you make enough records, you?ll make the right record for the right time.

    M: So let me stop this interview, because I don?t want to be unprofessional and just keep going.

    T: You are professional. All day long. And you know what, I so enjoyed our interview.

    M: I enjoyed it as well?

    T: But can I explain one thing, what?s driving me mad? And maybe it?s? This is one of those things, when people aren?t responding to records? You do get some interviewers that come in and? You can turn this off for one second.

    After that, we exchanged e-mail addresses, she told me to get in touch with her people about the live recordings, she talked about how certain things she says in interviews are sometimes blown out of proportion, she signed my YKTR cd booklet and we talked about her playing The Big Picture live. But all that stuff wasn't recorded.

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