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I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.
– Elvis Costello
And over the last ten years, after my work with the Brodsky Quartet, I had the opportunity to write arrangements for chamber group, chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra, symphony orchestra even.
Very similar experience happened last year when we released this album, North. It was on Deutsche Grammophon, it was very, very honest. It was the most honest record I’ve ever written.
Sometimes I write notes that I have difficulty singing.
Well, I’ve had a lot of different experiences in music over the years. And not everything you do can satisfy everybody’s idealised version of you.
I found with this record I had to really be strong-willed, because in the past I’ve tended to tinker and add a thing or take a thing away, and nearly always been wrong.
Really the only thing holding a lot of records together is the personality of the singer, and the will to write all of these different things.
Obviously the people that I admired, like the Beatles, were really into rock’n’roll, but it was already a little past rock’n’roll when I started listening and making my own choices about music.
There are many critics who have an idealised version of where my strengths lie.
But there are things in Il Sogno that the methods of The Delivery Man could never achieve.
Maybe I just never learned my harmony part, because what everybody says sounds odd to them sounds perfectly natural to me.
I’d been to Memphis before, but we stayed out of Memphis early on in the late 70s for obvious reasons. People were very sensitive about Elvis Presley, and my stage name obviously would be provocative to some people in that area at that time.
I’ve been lucky to listen to lots of different types of music.
And obviously, when I started out, I had a little bit more curiosity than some, and went seeking out the original artists, or in some cases searching up country music.
Women hear rhythm differently than men.
These are the sort of things that push you on in music – the curiosity, a passion for new ideas.
‘Content’ is a word that has never sat well with me. Like ‘maturity’. They are two words I’ve never liked. I think they imply some sort of decay. A settling.
My ultimate vocation in life is to be an irritant.
There’s no such thing as an original sin.
Life for me is about movement.
There was not a lot of rock n’ roll in the house. Our parents didn’t think it was very groovy, and I tend to agree with them. If you grew up with Charlie Parker, Bill Haley wasn’t very hip.
I find humming is very useful.
Obviously I got known for some other songs early on, and some of those were rock’n’roll songs. Some of them were melodic pop songs. And I’ve done lots of different things, as you know, but every so often I get drawn back.
Mention Hubert Sumlin, as well, because Hubert’s a great man, and again, you know, I don’t play the guitar very good, but when I’m playing this kind of music, I always have him in my mind. I wish I could play like Hubert.
And I don’t feel any form of music is beyond me in the sense of that I don’t understand it or I don’t have some love for some part of it.
I know that when I make a record like The Delivery Man as a contrast to even Il Sogno, this is going to reach a wider audience, because it communicates in that very direct way.