home / interviews


Oor (the Netherlands)
January 29, 1994





partial translation from Dutch

Tori Amos

by Bert van de Kamp
photography by Hester Doove

Enlightenment doesn't mean the denial of demons in yourself, but the confrontation of them.

[ . . . ]

"Around Christmas 1992 my tour ended and I went to New Mexico to rest. We were there in a 150 year old hacienda, a sacred place for the pueblo, and that had its effect on all of us. 'Silent All These Years' took possession of me. Literally. All my songs are existing creatures. Her energy took possession and my reaction to that was: No way! 'Silent' is the gatekeeper, the Styx, the twilight zone. She told me of the babies that wanted to cross. She said: 'It's gonna be a painful labour, or I'll help you so that it'll be easy.' She LIED! It didn't run smoothly at all. It came in waves, one song after another, like a religious experience. I was at a feast of American Indians [Tori has some Cherokee blood in herself], on which they were pounding drums continually. That touched me in quite a primitive way, right in the kundalini [Tori grips herself in the crotch], but I also felt personally frustrated, like I had to deal with the feelings with regard to the patriarchate, for one last time. 'God' came very fast, but I had to be cautious, because you can easily make a mistake."

[ . . . ]

"This album is a self-healing experience to me. I have met a lot of people who were working on themselves, as it's called. You have two types of people. The first walks into the room and radiates like an angel, she's so loving and unselfish, that you would want to be her. Wow! Then you make friends with that person and find out she's got a second face and that is: locking herself in her room and crying all day long. She doesn't want anyone to see her differently than as an angel, but with that she's too strict for herself, and destroys herself that way. Enlightenment doesn't mean the denial of demons in yourself, but the confrontation of them: Okay who's in there today? It's not about people saying 'Oh, Tori is a nice girl.' I want to be someone with responsibility, someone who's conscious of what she does. If I hurt you, I get vulnerable myself. That's the way it works. The second type I mean, has learned the full works of Jung. She's very intelligent, but also the most bitter person I know. She has so much information and can talk about it so brilliantly, that you think: what an enlightened soul. Both types have a certain intelligence and a certain gift, but they're both destructing themselves. We mustn't make too much demands of them, and stop shooting ourselves."

[ . . . ]

BELLS FOR HER

"We are no more than walking plasma, just stuff. That song Bells for Her is one of the most emotional moments on the record, because it handles the end of a friendship. You go through the life force and see how your friend walks out and you can't stop the things happening because of that, no matter what you try to do. Who tries to resist the life force gets sucked in. When you're confronted with a painful experience, a shocking deed of betrayal, you must be able to ventilate those feelings of anger and violence somewhere, but there are certain borders. You can't wound someone and just walk away."

[ . . . ]

ICICLE

"In ‘Icicle' I try to win back the innocence of my childhood. That girl that masturbates to survive, the vulnerable, innocent flower, has always done good things for us. She's had to fence off certain parts of herself to get ahead. Now it's time to light the candle and melt those parts. Who dares to open him- or herself can also forgive themselves for not having stood up for themselves enough."

[ . . . ]

SPACE DOG

"Yes, that song (Space Dog) is dedicated to Patti Smith and when I sing ‘Where's Neil when you need him' I'm talking about Neil Gaiman, the author of The Sandman strip, one of our greatest writers. I also talked about him on Little Earthquakes. Of Patti Smith I especially admired her energy, her life-power. Jimmy Page helped me through my time at the conservatory by showing me there was also something else."

[ . . . ]

[scans by Sakre Heinze]


t o r i p h o r i a
the World of Tori Amos
www.yessaid.com