Friday, June 27, 2008

from interviews with my friend the rock star (I)

My music, well, it’s not anything I think about, you know, after it’s done. It’s a gut thing. You know. It’s just something I do. It’s this expression of myself that I don’t want to, well, like come up with any equations to explain it, to give this kind of chart, this way of being scientific about creativity, of cataloging things, being all cerebral about it. Not that there’s not a place for that kind of thing, and not that I myself don’t enjoy doing those kinds of things too sometimes. It’s just that when it comes down to it, that kind of stuff, well, it shouldn’t be the point. You should be trying to express whatever it is inside of you, and if you can do that, as honestly as possible, then you’ve succeeded. That should be the whole point of doing these things. Anyone can sit down and…well, I mean a computer can be programmed to write hit songs, to follow a certain formula, to create certain diversions and modulations of sounds and to make hooks and catchy rhythms and put words to it and to play any instrument absolutely like technically perfectly and it all sounds great, really, but there’s always going to be something missing, um…that human element, that irreplaceable emotional quality, that ineffable momentum of the spirit that just flows and goes and knows not whither nor why it goes, um, but, well it just fucking goest, doesn’t it? You have to be free, to be totally unattached and uninhibited, wild and uncontrollable, reckless, and just throw all your luck at the wind and go, "Fuck it, this is it, this is inside of me and it must have out, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell the world thinks." And you can always go back and try to make it sound perfect and give it a way of feeling that you might think you might have wanted it to have when you first made the thing come to life…but the song, the life, the way, it’s all one thing and it’s all the same and it’ll never be as good as it could have been. You can talk about atonal mood swings and submediant switches from major and minor chord progressions and swinging major tonic sevenths and ninths and octave ascents and Aeolian cadences until you’re blue in the face and you still won’t understand any of it. That’s why we make music, to explain things we can’t explain in any ordinary sort of way, to create a state of mind that is unreachable by any other means, to move worlds and make galaxies collide, to breathe. If you can write this song and play it well and sing it so other people enjoy it, well, that’s great. I’m not saying that’s not a good thing. But there’s always got to be something more to it, something that you can only judge at that gut level, you know, that thing that stirs your dreams and shakes your soul and keeps you awake staring at walls at 4 a.m. until it just bursts out and leaves you oddly sapped yet also fulfilled, with this near-death kind of unthinking logic all over it, like you’re some Lazarus come back from the dead to explain things, but only you’ve got nothing to say, just this dizzy tinkling of sounds and a melody that goes round and round in your head and won’t leave on its own. Observing time as it flies by. When it stops so do I. It’s hard to talk about these kinds of things. That’s why we write songs instead. Does that answer your question?