Three iconic artists spanning three generations, there are few songwriters better at their craft than Tom Waits, Beck and Kendrick Lamar. To delve into the broad-ranging concept of artistic creation, the New York Times spoke to all three in separate interviews published today that are must-read, regardless of whether you’re a fan of any of them individually.
The biggest news to take away from the interview are the small snippets of information about Kendrick’s new album, rumoured for release this year
Kendrick’s interview was conducted at the beginning of the year and takes place in a recording suite, where the writer claims he is busy working on new music as a follow-up to 2015’s transcendent To Pimp A Butterfly. In it he explains how it was a revelation to find out that the initial themes of breaking free from the Los Angeles gang culture he grew up in and was still living in writing and recording To Pimp A Butterfly, themes he didn’t think anybody outside of that area would understand, instead resonated with fans struggling to find freedom from their own demons.
Lamar goes on to say that it has been family and a desire to go back to his community and help on his mind of late and that his records often reflect his train of thought as well as the concept of God in a world where government and politics are given prevalence, which could be an interesting preview for the music he is currently working on.
He wraps up the interview by using the analogy of ones daughter growing up and learning to accept her decisions and not run away from them as “how (he) wants this album to feel”.
Waits’ interview is equally as fascinating, reflective of his musical genius. Some of the best quotes from it:
“Singing is just doing interesting things to the air. Elongating it and twisting it into shapes.”
“If you want to catch songs you have to start thinking like one… making yourself an interesting place for them to land like birds or insects.”
On Keith Richards: “Keith is like a lightning rod, he stays in divine preparation for the inevitable.”
“It didn’t escape anybody that the melody for No More Auction Block For Me wwas the same as We Shall Overcome and the same as Blowin’ In The Wind. That melody was kept alive in all three of those songs for a reason.”
The interview ends with a follow-up email from Waits, detailing his time as a fireman in his youth, where he was called out to a blaze at a chicken farm. “It was an emergency, and when dealing with emergent behaviour there is nothing to do but respond. I was in the moment, and it was not the fire that I imagined or dreamed of, it was the fire that I got.”
You can read the full interviews here.
Image: The Source