Interview with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds: One Word At A Time

—by , October 1, 2008

Let’s talk about the narrative on ‘Today’s Lesson.’

‘Today’s Lesson,’ I think, was one of the first songs that I wrote. I mean what normally happens, and this took a longer time than usual, is that I have to write myself from the last record I made. So I sit down and I start working on a new record and it takes maybe a month to stop writing songs that sound like the last record. Or that come from previous records. This record took a long time to do that, to get away from what sounded to me like Nick Cave lyrics. And I think ‘Today’s Lesson’ was one of the first songs that I found kind of wrenched itself away from that kind of writing. It was something different. ‘Today’s Lesson,’ to me, is much more abstract. There’s a kind of humor to it, but it’s an extremely sinister, violently sexual song.

I guess what happened was that I found a different way to be narrative. Songs that I’d written before that had always been largely narrative songs. That’s just the way that I write. I find it difficult to write any other way. But there’s a different narrative style going on in these songs, which is much more confused and much more about digression and things like that. With that particular song I wrote it and it really creeped me out lyrically. I found it a very disturbing song. It related strongly to certain things that I was thinking about at the time. And that I’d heard about at the time. But it wasn’t a straight narrative. And that really pleased me.

What’s going on in Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!?

Well, you know that song came out of unfinished business. I’d spent many hours as a child at Bible studies, hearing the stories of the Bible. And that particular story always disturbed me. That Christ had brought this guy back after being dead. After being dead for three days as an example of his miraculous powers? And you never found out what happened to Lazarus. And we don’t ask him. That always disturbed me, so I thought that I would finish the tale.

Let’s discuss one more.

Well ‘Moonland’ was kind of a long song with much more of a narrative story within those words. I just kept chopping down and chopping down and I got rid of the event that the story is around and just talked about the peripheral activities going on around the song. That ended up being beautifully mysterious to me.

I’ve been playing Grinderman concerts for a while.  It’s quite nice to do this interview because you keep reminding me of particular songs and I keep thinking, ‘Fuck that’s right. We do that song.’ And that song live is wonderful. It’s become something else.

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