I always like to ask artists how creativity comes about for them since the process is different for everyone and happens pretty much organically. So, for you specifically, how do you turn inspiration around to create a new lyric or melody?
I think creativity is just your mind putting together weird connections. I mean, you’re surrounded by all of this stimulation and your mind, when you’re not paying attention to it, makes these connections of things that exist that you get from somewhere else and it puts them together in weird ways. And all of a sudden you wake up and you’re singing some melody and [you think], ‘Whoa. That isn’t a song. What song is that?’ and it’s yours. But your brain has combined 10 different melodies that it’s heard. And if you think hard enough you can kind of figure out where you got all of the different melodies.
It’s kind of best to not think about it ‘cause then you start to second-guess yourself and you’re like, ‘Ah, fuck, I can’t believe I ripped The Monkees or whatever. It’s just some totally random thing. You never know what your brain is going to do when you’re not paying attention to it. I think the best thing you can do is just be open-minded, just let yourself be aware of everything that’s going on around you and not shut yourself off from things. Not say, ‘Well, I don’t want to do this because that band’s doing it’ or ‘I don’t want to do this because no one’s doing it’ and ‘I don’t want to do a song like this because of blah or this because of blah…’ I think you just have to let whatever’s in there kind of come out and if you do it enough then, over time, you’ll have some things that are pretty good.
You know, a lot of what comes out is going to suck (laughs) so you can just throw that away, no one ever has to hear that. After a while you’ll get some good stuff in there. That’s my take on it and maybe that’s too mathematical of a take on it, but that’s how I think about creativity. I mean, who can say for sure? There’s definitely a sense that, like, a hand came out of the sky and touched you out of nowhere. You feel like that sometimes. But, if you really were to sit down and think about it and take some time, I think it works the way I said.
I know you directed the video for ‘Believe.’ What made you decide to toss your hat into that area?
Um, I hate making music videos. It’s the least, least fun thing in the world, such a pain in the ass. You’re really, like, giving it over to someone else and hoping they do a good job and if they don’t you’re just fucked. There’s nothing you can do about it. You feel helpless and frustrated a lot of the time. I mean, we’ve made some videos that I like a lot, but then we’ve had really bad experiences too. I was like ‘Fuck it. I’m just going to do one myself and if I’m pissed off about it in the end at least I’m pissed off at myself.’ (Laughs) So I worked with an animation team and they directed the animation aspect of it. I was really happy with how it came out in the end, yeah.