home / interviews
Acoustic Café (US, radio)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
September 27, 1996
Tori Amos interview and live performance
Host: As soon as we confirmed this interview, I was walking through a record store and these two women were having a conversation about you. And they were referring to you as if you were their best friend.
Tori: Um, there has to be a large amount of trust, from my end because um, I reveal a lot more in my songs than I do anywhere else in my life. I've always been that way. I've been most honest in my music. If I feel threatened, I sing very differently. We can go anywhere when I feel safe. When I don't feel safe, then I'm just trying to show you that I used to be seven-foot/three in another life and I'm really five/two now. And so it becomes more about armor instead of really transcending everything and being able to be free. That's why over the years I get to know the people I'm singing to because I sing very differently when I feel safe. They're really amazing. I call them "Ears with Feet" now. And um, when Ears with Feet come, we all know that we can take a journey together. It's really fascinating to me what energy combined can do together. And you can't have disrespect on either side and travel well.
[Tori plays an unreleased song, Oom La Boomleigh]
Host: That's a new song she calls Oom La Boomleigh, from out in-studio guest Tori Amos. This is exciting, this is new material that you've performed here today.
Tori: Well, some days are better than others. I mean, I made friends with this piano, and I don't always make friends with the instruments. Some are more alive than others. And sometimes I'm more alive than at other times. And when they happen to just kind of run into each other on a good day, then it's more interesting for me just to kind of see what's flying through the airwaves instead of doing old material.
Host: Because it is so reliant on forming that partnership...
Tori: Yeah, relationship.
Host: ...between artist and instrument. It would seem that you would have to do your writing, do your composing, in a set place with instruments that you are familiar with, that you have formed that relationship with.
Tori: And usually the red light's always running, so a lot of things just get created and I never can do it like that again. Like, I'll never know what it is until -- I'll have to learn what I played.
[Tori improvises a bit, then plays This Old Man]
Host: I went on the internet -- web sites honoring you, interpreting your lyrics, as it applies to their life. I wonder if a certain responsibility also comes with that. I think that gets to what you were saying with respect, that sort of responsibility.
Tori: Well, the one thing that gives me a lot of courage is that I know now that they want me to challenge them. And that if I don't do that, that's when they just can't hang. They can hang if I stay true. They're counting on me staying true. That's one reason we get along so well. Because a lot of the people that come to the shows and listen to the music are working very much on individuating themselves and finding their uniqueness. And we both kinda know that I know that they know. I have no complaints, but people have a hard time playing my music outside the underground. The underground, though, thank god, has a lot of people that visit it.
Host: It's a very big underground.
Tori: It's a very big underground. But um, I know that if I stay true to myself, then they'll be there. Even if I always stay on the underground.
[Tori plays another unreleased song, Abbey Road]
[transcribed by jason/yessaid]
t o r i p h o r i a
the World of Tori Amos