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A lot of my writing is not terribly civilized. Sometimes I listen to songs by very smart writers who assume that the world is a civil place with certain formalities that people follow, but I don’t see things that way. My own experience tells me that life is not like that. That’s why I write the way I do.

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"On Script" is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I’d just been jamming on it one day, and again I was struggling with lyrics. I’m still figuring out what it’s about. I’ve seen a couple of reviews that are like, "It’s about the monotony of playing the same songs every night," because I say, "On script every night/Like a well-rehearsed stage show." It’s not about that at all, but I find that funny, how people project what they think about me, or songwriters in general.

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I try to write a lot and my process is kind of back and forth. I procrastinate a lot so when I do sit down to write, I’m pretty lazy at it. And it’s such a frustrating thing sometimes – writing – when you don’t do it all the time, you get that thing in your head that you have nothing to talk about and you can’t write songs.

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The first song I wrote was called "You" and it was a love song about somebody who didn’t even exist. I remember them all because I used to always write terrible poetry. I keep all my notebooks.

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When you’re in a daze – whether it’s from running or a hangover or whatever else – I think that ideas from your subconscious can slip through more easily. The way that I write songs, for what its worth, when I’m playing music, if it’s good music it will bring images forward into my mind and then I’ll write down what the images are and that becomes the lyrics. I think that process is just easier if the superego has just gone away in disgust for the day.

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Cornelius Cardew very famous in Britain, because he was the darling of the avant-garde, and he played in a band called AMM, which was an improvising band in the ’60s. Paul McCartney used to come watch them. Later on in life, he became disenchanted with avant-garde music, because he felt it couldn’t reach the public. It didn’t have a wide enough appeal. So he’d take these tunes of old English folk songs and write Stalinist lyrics over the top of them. I do think that when he changed to folk songs, he actually lost the tiny audience he already had, which is quite interesting.

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Cornelius Cardew’s folk songs were very, very literal, and they were just about workers smashing their chains. It was like reading Das Kapital over a folk-song melody, and it’s a spectacular failure, in my opinion.

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I think that’s one of the problems with downloading mps these days. You never really get a chance to attune to a different logic, a different musical logic. If you hear a song and don’t like it, you’ll just delete it off your hard drive.

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I don’t want to do children’s music. I write kids songs, but the kids songs I write are for my kids – like when I’m putting them to bed. We sing some song that we made up but I don’t want to make a record like that.

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There was a f**king review in f**king Melody Maker [of the first BOSSANOVA single, ‘Velouria’] – ‘Sounds like someone’s been taking singing lessons’. Like, motherf**king A! I am the singer. Who do sing SONGS. It’s like I never sang before; like I was – I don’t know – reading PROSE on my previous records and now I sing. EXCUUUUUUSE me for singing

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I sing, not to hear the echo repeat, a shade fainter, my song! I think of light and not of glory! Singing is my fashion of waging war and bearing witness. And if my song is the proudest of songs, it is that I sing clearly to make the day rise clear!

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If you don’t get a laugh I immediately think it’s somebody else’s fault. You can always blame the material. But when it’s just yourself and songs that you’ve picked up because you love them and stories that you’ve written yourself and patter you think is really funny if that tanks, there’s no one to blame it on. God knows, I try!