Nick Cave has opened up about the latest record from The Bad Seeds, noting it is far more jubilant than people assume, while calling it “haunted” at the same time.
Early last month, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released their 17th studio album, Ghosteen. A fragile record, it was composed following the passing of Cave’s teenage son Arthur, and longtime keyboardist Conway Savage, with fans speculating they influenced the record’s composition.
Despite a more subdued and emotional nature, the record has received universal acclaim, being considered not only one of the best albums of the year, but one of the best in the band’s 36-year career.
Taking to his Red Hand Files blog recently, Cave fielded the question of one fan who questioned the “sad” nature of Ghosteen, claiming it is in fact “uplifting [and] jubilant”, and asking whether or not they “misinterpreted” the record somewhat.
Claiming he was happy to hear the record described as such, Cave explained that this was “certainly the Bad Seeds’ objective when we made the record.”
“We wanted each song to feel as if it were climbing toward an exultant and euphoric state, for the record to be a vessel that transported the listener far away from the world and its troubles, and that it lived in the jubilant and hopeful beyond,” he noted.
“If there is sadness in Ghosteen, perhaps it is the recognition that we are often blind to the splendour of the world and indifferent to its attendant wonder.
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“Perhaps the sadness is the recognition that the world is indeed beautiful, that it spins within the palm of our own hands and its beauty is available to all, if only we had eyes to see.”
Check out ‘Waiting For You’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds:
As Nick Cave went on, he touched upon further questions about whether the album is “haunted”, while also address the absence of percussion throughout the record.
“Perhaps the songs became a kind of free-floating conversation with the spirit world, buoyed up by the absence of the ones we love,” Cave mused. “Perhaps the ghostly forms of the departed are all around us, magnetised toward the act of creation.
“Perhaps they see that to be alive and upon the earth, at this time and against all the odds, is the most rare and coveted of things, and to be making art such a singular and fortuitous privilege, that they just wanted to come along for the ride.”
“Thomas Wydler, our drummer, did some amazing work on this record, however, after a great deal of thought, we all felt that the drums anchored the songs to the ground and didn’t allow them to float,” Cave also added.
“The decision was not made lightly or on a whim, rather it was a tough artistic decision determined by the needs of the songs themselves.
“Although there is little drumming on the first part of Ghosteen, Tommy’s absence is courageous and monumental and gives the record its amorphous sound. He is the very best there is.”
While Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are set to kick off a European tour in the coming year, there’s no word yet as to when they’ll find themselves coming home to Australia for a run of long-overdue local dates.