Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hip Hop Monday #4: Tinchy Stryder, Roots Manuva, Berk Off

It’s the hours after Monday again, which means it’s time for another Hip Hop Monday.

Tinchy Stryder – Game Over

If you told me three months ago I’d be posting Tinchy Stryder, I would have been a dickhead about it, but here I am. I was pointed to this by Rhino Magic. It’s got a Kanye-esque assemblage of UK rappers – Giggs, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah, Devlin and Example, to be specific, some of whom I was vaguely familiar with and others whose pop culture salute within the career of the salutee I was more impressed by than even bands named after Simpsons references.

Anyway, the major point with this is that, in the YouTube comments, one of the genre luddites who live under cyber-bridges on YouTube and say annoying stuff popped up to say “What happened to grime?” He got some likes, but not half as many as the responder, who said “Grime is dead. This is UK hip hop.” And it is. This is could be an American hip hop beat without shame, but it’s not, and the emcees aren’t just flexing pointlessly any more. It is UK hip hop.

Roots Manuva – Man Fi Cool

This is the only other UK rap I listen to with any regularity, obviously at the other end of the English spectrum being unashamedly Jamaican in its influence (and provenance). My favourite bit in this song is Roots trying to explain to his neighbours that they should leave him alone when he’s making music because “dis vocal is de penis, de riddim is the vaj.”

Roots Manuva – Witness (One Hope)

And this is one of the greatest songs ever written. I mean that with no exaggeration and regret the exagerration I employ on a daily basis now because of how much it devalues that statement when it’s true. Sickly cryptic spitting the code.

BERK OFF – Fell In Love With A Hustler

This isn’t British and it’s not even particularly hip hop, but it’s Irish, it’s good and it seems to be a pretty workable example of boxing the indie rock and hip hop cards without being particularly ironic about it. Which is a problem. More here.

Essentially cheating.

So the internet at home doesn’t work, so I missed Lo-Fi Friday. Sorry, the entire genre of lo-fi. Instead of that, here’s a veritable plethora of live reviews I haven’t done, in very truncated form owing to fading memory. A few sentences each. Explanation for new readers: I review everything, so I have to do this whether you want it or not.

Swans: People seem to talk about Swans in “legend” terms, but while they do make physically affecting music, they take themselves awful seriously and aren’t as ‘experimental’ as they’re often talked about as being. Gira saying “Jesus Christ” blank-faced over the same chord every song was is faintly ridiculous, and arriving in something other than a black t-shirt made me feel a little awkward. Still, worth seeing.

+

Xiu Xiu/Former Ghosts: Former Ghosts also required a suspension of disbelief, but unlike Michael Gira, it’s less difficult to feel like you’re pulling for Freddy Rupert. Highly strung, sometimes infectious, always energetic. Xiu Xiu were still as good as they were last time, and the noise-drenched Fabulous Muscles was unparallelled. The weight of sound and emotion that Jamie Stewart can get into the parts that are sound, and the desolate weight that he can get into the parts that are silence, is sheer and never not impressive, and even though they’re not a band, they’re one of the best live bands around at the moment.

++

Adebisi Shank: Only got about 80% of this due to other commitments. It’s Adebisi Shank, so you’re assuming perfect game and then taking points off for flaws. The sound in the Button Factory wasn’t great, and Europa will never be their best song no matter how many times they say that from the stage. Still great.

+

State vs. AU: Cloud Castle Lake were, as usual, hypnotic and excellent. Preferring their faster stuff, vaguely disconcerting and chaotic, to the slower stuff which is also good but closer to other stuff. Lowly Knights were a good ol’ nu-folk group of no note. Grand Pocket Orchestra I should stop talking about, but they’re on top of their game right now.

+

I have a feeling I forgot something. Regular service tomorrow.

Hip Hop Monday #3: Pitchfork, Lil B, Jay Electronica, Nicki Minaj

Kanye West feat. Pusha T – Runaway

This one pretty much has to begin with an acknowledgement that Kanye West got a 10.0 on Pitchfork today. Excluding the Robert Pollard onstage banter album that’s annoyingly scuffing up the records with its (1)0.0 dual score, the last albums to get the brave first release 10.0 were Source Tags and Codes by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead in February 2002 and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in April 2002. Both of these albums are boring, but the point is that it’s been a while, and that Kanye’s not exactly the type of music that gets a 10.0 on Pitchfork first time around. So Pitchfork is Saying Something. Decide for yourself what they’re saying, and don’t doubt for a minute that there was a board meeting and teleconference about that score.

Here is a Gchat I had with Seán Mc Tiernan. Shout out to No Chorus. Fuck Nah Right and 2dopeboyz.

Sean: still
it remains irritating to read all this bullshit by people like that
who are like
patting rap music on the head
because of kanye’s album
like i don’t treat any genre of music like that
17:12 i can’t imagine why someone would
aside from making themself feel smart
me: You Did It, Rap Music
Proud of u

I’m reviewing it for Totally Dublin, so I won’t do it here. Maybe I’ll post it next week.

Lil B – Exhibit Based

Last week I posted Bitch Im Bill Clinton off Lil B’s Red Flame mixtape, which was stupid. Lil B does that sort of thing quite a lot, but it clouds the fact that he’s actually a great rapper. It turns him into a cartoon, and that’s not cool. The track above is what happened when he jumped on Just Blaze’s beat Jay Electronica’s Exhibit C. Just Blaze is one of my favourite producers, as an unashamed Jay-Z fan (1996-2004 + Empire State Of Mind), and this could be his best beat. It’s linear and there’s no hook. Jay Electronica murders it, but so does Lil B.

Split a nigga wig make him think that he James Bond
If I ain’t James Bond, bet I got the same gun
Plus I got money in the bank for the bail-bond
Pay him 80 Gs if he thinkin he can tell on
No witness make him run like Rev Run
No blood in his genes like a stepson
Yeah I got 45s I’m travelin to India
I’m finna have 10 kids, it’s my millennium


Jay Electronica – Exhibit C

Fuck it, while we’re here, here’s the Jay Electronica track.

“They call me Jay Electronica. Fuck that.
Call me Jay ElecHannukah
Jay ElecYarmulke
Jay ElectRamadaan Muhammad Asalaamica Rasoul Allah Supana Watallah through your monitor.”

This was last year, and he only eventually signed to Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s odious capitalist enterprise, about ten days ago. A back story about being homeless, not selling crack, if you’re worried about that. This is Mainstream Hip Hop. Revise your opinion on it.

Nicki Minaj feat. Eminem – Roman’s Revenge

Also, Pink Friday leaked, hyped endlessly by Nicki Minaj’s torching of Jay-Z on Kanye’s Monster (which you might have noticed last week if you haven’t got Presumably What Pitchfork Consider The Best Hip Hop Album Ever yourself yet).

She’s a chameleon. Listen, and hear the rappers she likes. Lil Wayne on Did It On Em, a little ODB shudder occasionally, the Drake punchlines (or “hashtag rap“) thrown in throughout, notably “I’m a bad bitch, I’m a cunt/And I kick that ho – punt” on this before Eminem rolls in to remind the public that he’s still in a rage. Probably more I don’t recognise.

Then there’s the give ’em enough rope, I’m-cute-OH-WAIT-I’M-ANGRY stuff. And that weird English accent that narrates MBDTF. “Two shows tonight, that’s Brooklyn and Dallas, then the private party at the Buckingham palace” she says on I’m The Best, and that’s kind of a good metaphor for it. Never a dull moment, even if coming out the same week as Kanye seems like a bit of an oversight.

Finally, Jay-Z’s got a book, and he considers rap lyrics poetry. It’s not. Neither’s Bob Dylan though. And TV’s not film, and blogs aren’t magazines.

Lo-Fi Friday #1: Porn On Vinyl

This is the first post in a new series, imaginatively titled Lo-Fi Friday. It has a companion series, Hip Hop Monday. This is for the most part original thought, reflecting the way my mind organises the music I listen to, rather than a claim to empirical truth (which doesn’t exist, yo). Watch it get unwieldy immediately.

Porn On Vinyl – The Bonfire And Her Husband

At the centre of the spiralling outwards, at some sort of core, what lo-fi is to me is diary music. Not in the sense of painfully earnest lyrics, though they can feature. In the sense that, by the very virtue of the fact that technology leaves no resistance whatsoever between the songwriter, the recording apparatus and the distribution, what you get from a ‘bedroom’ album is as close to a screenprint of someone’s brain as you can get, as they try to express something specific but maybe not entirely verbal. Daniel Johnston was the archetype, or maybe Emily Dickinson or a caveman wall painter who was sadly estranged from his clan, if you want to be anal. What makes it so endearing and intriguing is the fact that, as far as we can make this judgment without getting into all manner of traffic with ‘artistic intentions’ and ‘sincerity’ (both of which I may can back to at some point), one of these albums is the personal rendered public. It’s just the sound, it’s hard to explain.

This song is Porn On Vinyl. Aidan Wall, who does it, does Hipster Youth too. I like Hipster Youth, but I’ve always preferred Porn On Vinyl, maybe because I’m prejudiced towards the sound of a guitar, even an old nylon-string one, in my introspective-sounding music. It’s got complexity and elegance to counter any of the inevitable ‘just lazy’ accusations, but it still sounds like it was recorded inside a box. Maybe that’s a symbolic way of expressing shyness, or maybe (probably) it’s aesthetic. It wouldn’t have half as much personality if it was done with, say, the mics and engineers that did Joanna Newsom’s last album, even though Porn On Vinyl has the intricacy and the vocal ability to survive that where other bedroom songwriters wouldn’t (not that that detracts from what they do now).

The song’s a story, about going to a bonfire at a crazy old man’s house. It’s a childhood recollection – “Everyone knew the house was haunted, but everyone wanted to see the bonfire” – and it follows the sweet-stuffed Halloween “we” as the man’s house burns down. He’s cavalier and philosophical at first (“he said all things must die and all fires burn out”) but then seems to panic and runs in to the house to rescue portraits. He cries “these are my family, these are my friends.” And then everyone passes out and he’s gone.

It’s a simple story on the surface, but questions pop up. The portraits are of “the women and children, who didn’t relate” – does the man know them? Are they estranged family, or just strangers in pictures? Even arriving at the old man’s house, it’s noted that “his bonfire has long burned out but our bonfire hasn’t even started yet.” Did he just give up on the world, his passion for life ending before the kids are even old enough to be aware of theirs? Or, less likely, did the kids set fire to the house? It’s intricate enough to bear that kind of analysis, and definitely obscure enough, especially if you didn’t have the lyrics handy.

Aidan says:

The song is based off a really vague memory I have of going to a bonfire as a child, in the back garden of this now deceased [?] eccentric old man. I asked my sister and parents about it and they have no recollection of it, but it’s probably my most vivid memory of halloween. The man died I think, and they knocked down his beautiful house and replaced it with an awful quasi-modern house. Though the song is basically about my grandmother.

Porn On Vinyl’s second album Old Folks Home is on Bandcamp and will come out on physical format soon on Long Lost Records. Here is an interview from last summer.

Oh man, do I really have to go to that place again?: Kevin Barnes interview pt. 4

Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3

Okay, in a non-religion-related question, I wanted to bring up a comparison between what you’re doing with Jon Brion and the Talking Heads-Eno thing, where it started out as just a four-piece and eventually they got into a more studio-oriented David Byrne and Brian Eno thing. Do you think that has any parallels to the way you’re working now?

I don’t think so. I don’t think he’ll work with me again.

He won’t?!

I don’t think so. (laughs)

No?

Not because he didn’t have a good time or whatever, but we were supposed to just be together for a month, and it turned out to be like a three month process. It was always fun for me, and maybe it was fun for him too, but just from a budgetary standpoint, we went so far over-budget, and he invested so much of his own money just to make it happen. I mean, everything’s so different nowadays. In the 80s, labels had so much money that they wouldn’t really sweat it. People could spend six months in the studio or whatever. But I’ve never spent more than $200,000 to make a record, and this record surpassed that by so much more.

Cos I always record at home. It just makes sense. It’s the most economical way to do it, plus I feel really secure. I feel in a good place creatively. So I can just work without feeling, oh man, there’s deadlines and budgets and things like that that would be distracting. So going out to LA and working like that was my foray into that conventional record-making process. It was good, because I got to see how other people work. And I got to work with this amazing person. Jon Brion, I wouldn’t say he necessarily produced the record, because I’d basically written and recorded 85% of it before I went out there. And then when I went out there, it was mainly just replacing things. Like, I’d have this bassline and he’d say, “well, why don’t you re-record it through this bass amp through this vintage mic, using this other bass”. So then we thought, oh, let’s do that for every song. So I’d go through every single song and re-learn the bass part, and record it. And then we were like, “oh, we’ve got all these programmed drums, all these drum loops, let’s get a real drummer in and have him just play on top of it.” So we did that for every single song. And then we thought, “let’s add some low synthesisers, and some really high synthesiser stuff.” So we did that for a couple of weeks.

And then the whole mixing process took over a month as well. And there were all these technical issues, because he was using ProTools and I was using Logic. There was all this crazy shit that happened that extended the process much longer than it would have done. If I had’ve just gone into the studio and started from scratch, I don’t know what we would have come up with. I’m sure it would have been interesting. I’ve never worked with someone in that way. I’ve always just worked by myself, compiling songs and eventually at some point thinking, okay, I’ve got twenty-two songs. Do I want to make it a double album or a triple album, or do I want to make a single album? What songs do I cut? Normally I would work like that. But this time, I went out to California and I had maybe 18 songs that were totally done by of Montreal standards. And he would say “that song, you should put that on the record” or, “I don’t know, maybe you shouldn’t put that one on the record.” Just talking, and having a dialogue open with the label and with Jon, and my brother or whoever.

It’s totally different. It’s not completely different from the way I’ve worked in the past, but it’s definitely another element that has never existed before. And I learned a lot from him actually, especially about mixing and arranging songs. He’s an incredible musician, and his heart’s totally in the right place as far as making music. You know what I’m saying, like the difference between people who are listening to the radio and saying ‘we need something competitive with the Black Eyed Peas’ or whatever’s hot right now, and he’s not like that. He’s not coming from that place at all. He’s more like “oh, that Stevie Wonder song is so beautiful, how do they do that? God, if I could make something that beautiful, I’d be so happy.” And that’s where I’m coming from too. Just listening to other artists and being like ‘God, that’s what I want to do, I want to do something like that, that’s so beautiful, that’s so great.’ I don’t expect the records to sell, I don’t expect the songs to get played on the radio. It’s never happened, and it probably never will happen. It’s not really a factor I think about. It’s more about just making something beautiful and important and timeless.

Are you interested in working as a producer? You wrote the song on the Janelle Monae album.

Yeah.

Are you interested in doing that with other artists?

Yeah, definitely, but it would have to be a situation where I loved them, I thought they were fantastic human beings and amazing artists and it was just a privilege to be working with them. I don’t think I could do it with someone who just happened to be successful and had a lot of money, where they were like “some of my people said that you were pretty good, so let’s get together”.

What about being one of the people on an album with an elder statesman who does an album with younger people to freshen it up? If Stevie Wonder called, would you do a Stevie Wonder track?

Oh, if I were with Stevie? Yeah, in a second. But the thing is, I dunno… I wonder about this myself. Like, why do I love Stevie Wonder’s records from the Seventies so much more than his records from the present day? There’s so many artists like that. Like, I love her early or mid work, but the stuff they’re doing right now, I can’t really identify with. So I wouldn’t necessarily be working with Talking Book Stevie Wonder, I’d be working with whatever is his latest release. A lot of those artists, too, the stuff that they were making in the Seventies, and in the Sixties, it was a part of that time period. And because that time period doesn’t exist now, it’s like a dinosaur, it’s like a relic of some other time, it’s so much easier to romanticise it and think about it in this poetic way. Because it has nothing to do with your present day reality, it’s like a view into this past reality. And it’s easy to think about that time period as being more magical. Because our present time period, unless you’re just extremely optimistic, it can’t really compete.

Yeah.

It’s like, you’re thinking ‘oh, right now it’s just so mundane to be in this room’, but twenty-five years from now, if someone’s listening to this interview, they’ll be like, ‘oh my god, that’s his voice.’ You know what I mean? Or your kid hears this in twenty-five years and thinks ‘that’s my dad’s voice as a young man, it’s so magical’.

Yeah, like the period itself as well as the music just takes on its own magic.

Mmhmm.

I’ve got one or two more. Sorry to keep you here so long. Are you playing The Past Is A Grotesque Animal? And if you are, that song specifically is… on Drowned in Sound a couple of weeks ago you called it “a ten minute journey into hell”?

Yeah. (laughs)

And it still sounds that intense on the record as well, and I’m wondering, when you play it, is it like a performance or do you still…

Yeah it’s hard for me. I mean, definitely that was the lowest point for me in my life. So it’s hard to revisit it over and over and over again. It’s just like anything, the more you do it, the less powerful it can become. It’s not really like, I wanna just cut myself with broken bottles afterwards, you know? But it is… it’s kind of like ‘oh man, do I really have to go to that place again?’ Like, I’ll do it just because I have a lot of respect for the song, and I feel very privileged to have a song that people feel connect with and that people like. I’ve written so many other songs that people don’t have that connection with, so of course I’ll be like ‘oh great, this is one people like, they want to hear it, okay, cool. I gotta go there, I gotta put myself out.’ I think it’s great when artists go there, when artists put themselves out, make themselves a little vulnerable, that’s better than always having this front where you can’t penetrate their true selves. You should be more transparent in a way, like, what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling. I like people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Yeah. Do you know Xiu Xiu?

Yeah.

I asked basically that same question to Jamie Stewart, of his songs, and he said it is digging it up, every time. He almost hates playing live. I just think that’s interesting, because other people have said, to similar things, that it’s just rote at this point.

Well, The Past is really the only song that has… well there’s a few songs I’d never play, for that reason. Like, I just don’t want to go there. Whereas The Past has more of a therapeutic quality to it, you know? Because it is so long, and it is such a journey. By the end of it, there is a great relief. It is really cathartic.

My final question was to ask what the beta fish was called.

The beta fish? That’s a good question actually. I can’t remember. I think its name was Hindlopp Stat

Himlopstadt?

H-i-n-d-l-o-p-p, one word. And then S-t-a-t.

Hip Hop Monday #2: Kanye West, Lil B.

Kanye West, Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj – Monster

So Kanye West’s album leaked.

The thing about Kanye is that he jumped the shark and stayed relevant. It’s him and Lady Gaga when it comes to present, all-consuming fame at the moment and, as luck would have it, he’s also in the habit of producing excellent music. Everything gets that bit more significant when someone has enough of a profile to be an entire side of the cultural conversation unto themselves.

So Kanye went autotune, went out with that snaky woman, interrupted Taylor Swift and started being more accessibly strange hourly on Twitter. He’s still the guy. If you’re Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj or even Jay-Z, you have a different ringtone for him and you answer with the word ‘yes’. There are a few of these posse tracks on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but none of them are as good as this or as significant as this.

Bon Iver opens proceedings, because Kanye is plugged into the lumberjackcore scene or because he heard his voice with a sampler’s ear and thought ‘with distortion that could sing a hook’. Rick Ross trundles in and calls himself a “fat motherfucker”, in keeping with the be-self-deprecating-around-Kanye trend established recently, then decides 4 bars is enough.

Kanye? He calls himself “the best living or dead hands down”. People will tend to say this from time to time, but it’s different when you’ve got this much cultural (and actual) currency. He also says “have you ever had sex with a pharoah?/I put the pussy in a sarcophagus/Now she claiming I bruised her oesophagus” which is Lil Wayne batshit at best.

Then it’s Jay-Z. There was a time when he’d call himself the best rapper alive every 8 bars or so, and as far as something like that can be true, it was true. But here, after Kanye whose vaguely lazy, self-regarding but ultimately satisfying flow is clearly a cut above, he’s shown up as old. If you’re guesting on something as high profile as this, you don’t get killed, especially if you’re still hanging on to claims of ‘best’, and he’s dead as soon as he starts.

And then Nicki Minaj shows up – 3.30 will get you some of the hook, and then her verse. She does voices, if you didn’t know. Sri Lankan, normalish/reggaeton, nice girl, reggaeton, Barbie, growl, Barbie, normalish. She’s head and shoulders above anyone else on this track, and it’s probably the best verse on the album, in my early stages of listening. Guess what’s rumoured though? She has ghostwriters. Is that just sexism because a GIRL without even an album out managed to dance all over Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rick Ross for about 80 seconds on Kanye’s own track? Put it this way, there’s no evidence either way, and Nicki herself says this:

“I write my own raps, I go in the studio by myself. There are some female rappers who can’t go in the studio unless they have a ghostwriter sitting right next to them,” says Minaj. “I’m the complete opposite—I’ll go in and ghostwrite for someone.”

So that addresses that. As for the rest of the album, it’s Kanye coming back to take possession of his evolution of boom-bap rap. It’s a nutcase at the top of his game, lyrically astute but with an odd worldview as divorced from reality as you’d expect from a guy this far away from the real world for this long. The window might not stay open long, but it’s open now and he’s doing it without breaking a sweat.

Lil B – Bitch I’m Bill Clinton

In other news, Lil B, who is definitely bad milk, put out a mixtape that he claims is the greatest mixtape of all time. He tends to claim a lot of stuff that’s not true though. For example, that he’s Bill Clinton. It’s free.

Things that were done in the name of some ancient text: Kevin Barnes interview pt. 3

Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 4

Okay, I was gonna… maybe the primary collective emotion in Ireland at the moment is Catholic guilt, based on all the stuff that’s been coming out about abuse, and I was wondering about how it effected you as a person/songwriter to have been… you were raised Catholic right?

Yeah, I was raised Catholic.

Is that present in the way you think. do you think?

Yeah, I mean, i was always very suspicious of the church growing up. I had to go every week until I was 18, like ‘as long as you live under my roof’, my parents would make me go to church every week. I just sort of figured out really, like around 10 or 11, that it’s just ridiculous. You know, the hypocrisy is terrible, and the delusion is out of control, the whole idea of a spiritual hierarchy where someone is… I believe that everyone is equal, everyone is capable of the same spiritual connection to whatever divine force. I never looked up to a priest in my life, I never thought a priest was special. If anything, I thought they were delusional. But I understand that other people have their own belief system and I’m definitely not one to dismantle that or shake things up. I’m not going to say that what I believe is what everyone should believe. When I heard about all the molestation charges, it wasn’t a surprise.

That’s what happens when people put themselves into that situation. Obviously it sucks for the kids, it sucks for the adults as well. It sucks for everybody. It’s a terrible situation. Obviously, what they need to do if they want to make things at all better is to say, okay, priests can get married. The whole sexual repression thing is really what fucks it up. Of course really terrible things happen when you repress your natural desires. If your natural desire is to molest a young boy, you’re fucked anyway. You’re in a place where you can’t realise your terrible, unfortunate desires. But I kind of feel like for the most part, a lot of the priests wouldn’t have been so deranged, sexually, if they were allowed to have just a normal, healthy sex life. It’s a by-product of that repression.

It might be reading too much into it again, but there’s an interesting kind of dualism between you being raised Catholic, and you’ve talked about that, and then the show and the songs, a really overt celebration of sexuality. Do you think there’s anything to that? Like a reaction?

Possibly. You know, there might be a little bit of punk rock rebellion in me. But I don’t think it’s coming from a rebellious place. It’s more just a celebration, like you said. If I’m doing something, I don’t really feel like it’s blasphemous or anything like that. Maybe somewhere deep within my psyche there’s some thought of like… I dunno, it’s different now because my mother, who is the one who was the most vocal about me being involved in the Church is the most supportive. There’s stuff where she looks the other way. She doesn’t really want to see me naked on stage or doing anything too outrageous. But at the same time she’s extremely supportive.

So there’s really nothing to rebel against. It’s coming from a pure place. I mean really with the band, the only agenda I have is to push freedom. I fully support, you know, gay marriage, and I fully support acceptance. I want people to be accepted. I don’t want there to be a situation where anyone is excluded. As long as it’s coming from a positive place. I wouldn’t say that Nazis should be allowed to parade through the streets. And you could say that freedom of speech is important, but on some level we need to look out for each other, and if people are preaching a message of hate, then they shouldn’t be allowed to have the pulpit.

Yeah

They should be discouraged from it, you know? Like, ‘look man, you shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate your terrible belief system, you should be educated…’ (laughs) That’s a problem, you know, people can’t see beyond themselves? Like, oh, this is what I believe. That’s what I’m saying, I don’t think everyone should believe what I believe. I don’t think I’m the only right person in the world or whatever. Everyone can have their own viewpoint. But I think it should come from a humanistic place. We should care about each other and want to help each other.

You have that verse right at the end of the album, which is pretty much directly addressing religiosity or hardline people. Is that where that comes from?

Yeah, well that’s the whole thing. A lot of people, they think about God, or they think about the afterlife, and it’s more important to them than this life. And the afterlife is something that we can’t know. And when we do know, it’s too late. So the most important thing I think is to feel like this life has value. And our relationships in this life are more important than some perceived God. Some imaginary relationship that we could have with some imaginary figure. Because it’s really just coming from imagination.

Mmhmm

A lot of people, like my mother, think that faith has nothing to do with imagination. Like, faith is just as real… Her concept of God is just as real as her concept of me. So for her, if you tried to take away her ability to express that… you know, she always says ‘I’d be lost without my faith’. And that’s probably very common. Everybody who’s connected to some sort of organised religion probably has that sense. Like, the reason they are is because it does give them something positive.

Sure.

But when that positive thing gets in the way of healthy human interaction, then there’s a problem. So that’s all I’m trying to say. We should look out for each other, basically. (laughs) We shouldn’t put our concept of what God wants us to do in front of what we should do for each other, what makes sense. It should be the natural thing that we look out for each other first, and then, sure, maybe, God exists. But you can’t really get any information from some ancient text. People think that the Bible or the Qu’ran is the word of God or whatever. It makes me kind of a bit sick to my stomach to think about all of these things that were done in the name of some ancient text.

Part 4