home / interviews


Yahoo (US, www)
live online chat
April 13, 1998

Yahoo Chat with Tori Amos

Tori: Hi. This is Tori.

Tori: You know it's me, because someone's cooking in the kitchen and it smells wonderful.

Q: Are you nervous at how some of your fans may react to the new album?

Tori: Nervous is a feeling that I usually have before I play live...When you finish the work on record, I've always made peace with it before I let it go or I don't let it go. They're always things that when I look back I would change about everything I've ever done... However, at a certain point, you have to send the girls off down the lane with their lunch boxes...some put mild in their lunch boxes...and some have a bottle of Krug in their lunchboxes...and wave them goodbye and they're not yours anymore.

Q: Tori-what was your fav. album to make?

Tori: Each album has turmoil, and magical moments... Each record is a friend... some friends rather go on holiday, some friends you... you'd rather be with when you're going through a bad time... and the records are so different, that it's like you're asking me to choose between friends.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the song Hey Jupiter?

Tori: I was going through something in my life, and I felt the presence at the end of my bed of a ghost of someone I recognized. I was in a hotel room in Arizona during the UtP tour. I followed this ghost into the bathroom. I turned on all the water...the shower...I let the room steam up...the water became part of the sound, almost like an orchestra...and this ghost drew a picture for me in the mirror in the steam. The way I interpreted the picture was that earth and jupiter were in love billions of years ago, then they were separated, and now they are billions of miles apart, and this is earth's love song to jupiter.

Q: Why did you choose England as the site for choirgirl?

Tori: The engineers, Mark and Marcel, they work as a team, wanted me to have more of a controlled environment so that they could achieve what I was demanding of them. I was asking them to take the next step into exploring the sonic frontier, and we needed to be in rooms geometrically designed for acoustics.

Q: How old were you when you moved away from Classical Piano, and do you think it was an instinctual or conscious decision?

Tori: Classical Piano is the language that runs through my blood as a concept. I think I was a T-boy to some of the great composers. So therefore, the language is something I see in geometrical shapes. And I hear it. It always underlies what I do on some level, but I'm not trying to repeat anything the Masters have done. They did it in a way that 1) can't be repeated and that music was a reflection of that time. That music is not a reflection of this time; it was written before airplanes were invented, it was written before women could be pregnant, single and run their own business. Therefore, I know I had to compose music that is a reflection of this time.

Q: How is this release different from your previous work?

Tori: Hopefully all of them are different from each other. This album has more rhythm integrated more into its song structure. I recorded live with the drummer Matt Chamberlain, except the song Jackie's Strength which was built around my piano vocal. The sound effects became very much a part of the arrangements.

Q: Do you read? If so, what are your favorite books?

Tori: I'll take you over to my little library...we'll pull some out. I've just purchased some to read on tour-The Paperboy by Pete Dexter, An Underachievers Diary by Benjamin Anastis, History of the World by JM Roberts, An Egyptian Hyroglyphic Dictionary by Wallis Budge, The Code Of Kings, The Language of Seven May Temples and Tombs by Linda Schele and Peter Matthews, In the Land of Winter by Richard Grant, The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich, and we've picked two talked about books, Quarantine by Jim Earce and An Ocean in Iowa by Hedges. These are the things we'll read on the road this week. And of course Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Copeland and The Spiritual Tourist. What we do, see is we get a lot and then if anyone wants to pick a book up... It's not like GET YOUR HANDS OFF!!! It's for everybody. These are the books for the next 3 weeks...and when we go to Europe, we'll pick up another batch.

Q: Tori, if you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you?

Tori: My lipgloss. My husband. A picnic basket with olive oil.

Q: Do you find some of your fans scary with their devotion?

Tori: I really don't think it's any of my business what the people who like the music are up to. I trust they will use their balanced judgment and we will respect each other's rights. As I wouldn't intrude on your home, I wouldn't appreciate someone intruding in mine.

Q: I notice you use your left foot on the petal. Are you Left Handed?

Tori: No, I'm not left-handed, but my left hand as a player is stronger than my right hand. However, I use my left foot because my right foot is supporting the alignment of my spine. Playing this way gives me three times the strength. I'm not just playing, I also have to sing, so I have to keep the diaphragm open, or I can't reach the notes. The down side of this is I'm twisted like a pretzel half the time, and now I've started taking Geritol at 34.

Q: Is the band going to be a permanent change?

Tori: Nothing is ever a permanent change, not even your hair color! The work has to keep growing and changing constantly. The band is very much about this record and this tour, and I haven't even thought of what comes next. I've tried to start living very much in the present, not diffuse my energies into projects that haven't even been birthed yet. This new baby, love, feeding, attention, so it's taking up all my time.

Q: Will your duet with Michael Stipe ever see the light of day?

Tori: That's a very interesting question, I don't really know the answer to that. I can't say yes.

Q: What is the significance of the title of the new album?

Tori: I wanted a space for these girls, metaphorically, to be in. There will be a map, as part of the artwork. It gets you a taste of the world they were taking me into when they came to visit me. These songs seemed much more independent than others on the other records. Not that being dependent is a negative thing for a song. It just means when the songs are dependant, you have to be careful how you order the work. This work I saw much more as girls that hang out together, kinda like they are in a singing group, but they have their own solar systems that revolve around them, uniquely. So I put them in their own hotel and they let me visit them sometimes. But they're extremely independent, even of me.

Q: Are you surprised by the fame you've received?

Tori: Yeah.

Q: Tori, is there any chance you'll play the guitar again?

Tori: I've never played the guitar, except throwing it against the wall cause it was pissed off I couldn't play it.

Q: Tori, what is happening with your record label, Igloo Records?

Tori: Arthur and I are taking it step by step. We're keeping it at a grass roots level at this point in time. Hopefully you'll see some new music out of there soon. Because of my commitments to this new music, I've had to turn over responsibility to Arthur completely at this time.

Q: What do you want to be remembered for?

Tori: Being a good friend is really important to me at this point in my life. Obviously, you can't be a good friend to everyone, friendship takes time. You can be respectful to strangers, but the friends that call me a friend, I would like to think that we don't make each other feel bad or guilty, or that we're not enough for each other. Real friends have to be understanding of each other, and their faults. Forgiveness is the most important thing about friendship.

Q: I heard a rumor that you might record a song with Van Morrison. Is it true?

Tori: That's definitely a rumor. Van is very good at what he does, but we've never had a margarita together, and you can't record a song if you haven't had a margarita together.

Q: Why such a small, short club tour this year?

Tori: The club tour is only a sneak preview. We'll be back for a proper tour. The shows I want to put on are not really geared for clubs. But I put that aside in order to have the intimacy. Comfortable on our feet as players.

Q: Are you going to participate in Lilith Fair this year?

Tori: I don't see that happening. Our tour is already being booked for the summer.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?

Tori: That's a hard one. Ummm... I love All About Eve, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and I hate when people give old movies, it's such a cop out. I did love Fargo.

Q: How did you come about with the concept of the photography on your new album?

Tori: I saw both of the photographers books, Katerina Jebb and she did the cover and some of the inner photos. The cover is me being on a photocopier and how you accomplish this is by snogging a machine, you have to spend it in mid air because it's not as big as your body, and for 7 minutes it's photocopying your thoughts. The strange thing is, there are only 2 of these machines in Europe and they are in actual photocopy shops; so I'm on this machine while Tom and Peter are on their computers, and I'm suctioned to it in a corner as they continue doing their thing. It's all a bit strange. The other photographer, Martina Hoogland-Ivanov, her work really touched me in a deep way.

Q: How did you come up with your name for fans: Ears with Feet?

Tori: I don't remember. It was just a reaction to the word fan. I appreciate it and understand it, but I really didn't see some of the people as fans, but they were there for the music. I wanted to make a distinction between that and the over used word Fan.

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to girls growing up today, what would it be?

Tori: For girls and boys, study your mythology. In that are ancient secrets, rites and mysteries that you probably aren't taught by your teachers and parents. In the different mythologies of cultures you begin to see mirrors, and possibilities of what might be lurking in your soul. Some mythologies won't resonate with you, so you observe them, respect them and move on. Once you begin to resonate, it's probably telling you something. A clue to that vastness that is your soul. When people talk about girl-power, I think a parallel thought to go with that is Women's Wisdom. That is not something you can buy at the store. That is by learning from your experiences and being awake enough to not pretend they never happened. All these little experiences are your diamonds. Which becomes your wisdom, if you choose.

Q: Tori, if you weren't a musical artist, what do you think you'd be?

Tori: I think I would have been a sewage specialist. I'm fascinated with where all this waste on this planet is going. It's parallel to music, emotional waste. I will not talk potty talk with anyone, not even Beenie. However, on a scientific level I'm curious and concerned about what we are doing with this stuff, and I hope someone out there is concerned and doing their job. In 20 years we're going to wake up in a tidal wave of crap, it's going to hit us in our face as we eat our anti-paste, and it's not going to be attractive.

Q: What color hair color do you use now? I heard you stopped Torrid Torch?

Tori: How do you Know This?!?! Please tell me what cellulite cream I should use before I get the wrong one! My hair...Nicki Clark in London is sorting me out. It's a special brew and he'll never tell!

Q: If you were to compare yourself with an animal, what animal would you choose?

Tori: It would have to be feline -- is there such a thing as a water buffalo-cat? That means I've been eating too much. Obviously, I'm a Leo. In many Chinese beliefs, this is the year of the cat. That's funny cause I played that for Al Stewart many years ago. I'm a Leo in a cat year-Double Cat. I've always tried to be patient with dogs, but I really don't have the patience for all that licking and jumping. It doesn't come from nowhere; Double cat really defines my nature. Perhaps a cat with fins? I'm very much about living under water -- a mer-cat.

Q: Tori, do you consider yourself to be a sex symbol?

Tori: Of course not. If you're going to be a librarian, why not have a pencil skirt and high heels? You still have to know your catalogues, or you shouldn't be able to keep the job, no matter how sexy the leg is. It feels really wonderful not to have to be so hard as a woman, yet be independent and equal in a mans world, which I feel I am, as far as being a negotiator, but I don't have to cut off my femininity to do it.

Q: What do you think about your enormous presence on the internet (web pages, chat rooms, etc)?

Tori: The reason I do is because they know I don't know how to turn one of those things on! It's private, they can talk about the music with no interference from me. I respect their space. If the music helps insight people, they talk about subjects in their own way, then I feel I've done my job. I really feel the music should just be a springboard to get other peoples points of view going, and those points may become central, and to me, that is what the domino theory is about.

Q: Any plans for working with Trent Reznor in the future?

Tori: Trent and I are working on separate things, we have our own worlds. And yet, I think his world has developed in a wonderful way and I'm very proud of him.

Q: Tori, what influences do you think/hope your music has on people?

Tori: My hope is that in some small way as a writer...you set off lightbulbs for other people and their wholeness. That means their shadows, parts of themselves they amputated out of shame. This done by many many people, many claiming our wholeness is what makes a conscious planet. And to me, that's really what Utopia is, people exploring their uniqueness and having respect for each others uniqueness. Not One of us has The magic; all of us have the unique magic. If I can remind one person of this, maybe they can remind me, when I'm having a bad day, and I've forgotten my uniqueness.

Q: With such a hectic tour schedule, how do you keep your energy up and keep from burning out?

Tori: Keeping fit is a constant discipline. The Voice is a muscle and I have to take care of it...I'm really not supposed to have any dairy...You've gotta watch the red wine (dries up the vocal cords)...You gotta watch the bread, make a lot of phlegm. I had to rethink my approach, I'm working out with someone on the road. I've been bad the last 3 days. You have to get the heart rate up. To really put on a good show, it's about physical fact. I'm having to put my body into shape. There are some people on the road who are really extreme in their diet.

I can't exist without decadence; it has to be balanced with temperance. Alcohol dries the throat out, so does vinegar, even Balsamic, but you have to have a little of these things or you walk around with a frown. My secret is ginger, organic honey...olive oil, extra virgin, lubricates those cords; Protein, Major Buddy. Brown Rice? Give it to the Divas! Lubrication is the key, but works for passion, doesn't work for the throat!

Tori Final Comment: I'd like to make a request. The sneak preview shows are going to be jammed with people in a very small space. If someone is being pushed and shoved, you have to rally together so you don't get hurt. And if they are a bad apple, you need to let Joel know, there will be security everywhere. These concerts are not about violence. It is no good to say you are spiritually growing and you don't want violence, and then you start kicking to get a better seat. However, if someone kicks you, Clock 'em! No victims here, but try and support each other. If you have gotten in, that's a huge accomplishment and let's make it magical -- A Magical Seance. Not a night of brutality. I'm sending my love, and we have many months ahead of us, so if you don't make this tour, we'll be back in the summer, much improved so you won't have missed much, And that's all!


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