home / interviews
Indiana Daily Student (US)
November 14, 1996
Songwriter and her manager form their own label
by Alisa Blackwood
Tori Amos has set aside her performance career for the time being to delve into a new project: developing her own record label.
As the story goes, Amos and her long-time manager Arthur Spivak, claim they were married 10,000 years ago in a previous life, spending their years together living in an igloo. When the two friends and business partners decided, lifetimes later, to combine their talents and form a custom label within the Atlantic Group, Igloo Records was born.
"Igloo came about when Arthur played me a band called Pet, and I started hearing the comments labels were making," Amos said during a phone interview last week. "I thought it would be really sad if some schmoozy producer came in and tried to make them into what their concept of Pet was."
So Amos and Spivak developed their plan for Igloo Records and snatched Pet up themselves. Igloo released Pet's self-titled debut in September with Amos as executive producer. Amos now plays a large role in generating publicity for both Igloo and Pet, but she said she hopes the label will one day take on a life of its own.
"I'd like to think at a certain point Igloo will develop," Amos said. "But right now Igloo is still nursing from my left breast."
For those expecting Pet to be a Tori Amos sound-alike, think again.
"My shows are about people being seated. Pet is very much about a mosh pit," Amos said. "Even though I'm open to kids running up to the stage and hanging out, it is very much a different energy. I want to be taking a journey with you. I see Pet opening for Tool. But if someone starts screaming in the middle of one of my songs, I'll have them by their balls."
Amos said she does not expect everyone to like the choices she makes concerning Igloo, but people should respect them.
"I don't have a mass consciousness ear. Sometimes the things I respond to are a little more underground and it takes a little more wine to get into," Amos said. "And I like wine, so that's great."
Amos has released three hit solo albums on the Atlantic label: Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink and Boys For Pele. The red-headed piano diva has built her fan base sky high, but now she says she is ready for a change, despite the new and sometimes frustrating challenges with which it presents her.
"I've done the girl and the piano thing. I've exhausted it," Amos said. "Sometimes when artists think a certain take is so much better, I just have to back off. They know what they want from their music. But the question is, can you be objective enough to know when you've 'got it?'
"A lot of times artists are looking for different things," she added. "You don't fuck to a metronome, and I'm not looking for the neat, clean picture here. In the end, I always respect the band, and you've got to figure you will not always agree with everyone all the time."
Not only does Amos want to produce for Igloo, she also said she wants to make sure artists signed to their label receive the respect she didn't get early in her own career.
"Atlantic and I signed a contract where they practically owned me for 20 years, but now I renegotiate every time I make a record," Amos said. "It's hard to think that when you're in a democracy that someone could own you for 20 years, but I signed it. I try to teach young artists how to protect themselves. It's so frustrating sometimes. I just want to say, 'Put your weed and your skateboard down for five minutes and read [contracts]!'"
Aside from learning the ropes of the "other side" in working for Igloo, Amos also continues to learn about herself.
"I'm striving for a balance for re-seeing everything that I've kind of judged my whole life on," Amos said. "You're always trying to reprogram. I think we were all pretty much told what to think, not how to think. You're usually working through many layers of 'what do I really think,' not, 'what have I been told to think?' Sometimes we just suck it all up. It may be politically incorrect, but it just pisses me off! If you can be that honest with yourself, then you're growing. This doesn't stop even when you're 90. I'm learning every day."
t o r i p h o r i a
the World of Tori Amos