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April 12, 2000
Launch exclusive interview
by Stephen Peters
How do you follow up the release of an ambitious, double-disc homage meant to honor the goddess of love herself?
Well, if you're Tori Amos -- whose 1999 live/ studio hybrid To Venus and Back combined highlights from her tour behind 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel with a collection of new material, aiming for nothing less than manifesting from thin air the very essence of Venus -- you take a breather.
That's not to say that Amos is spending all of her millennial downtime in silent repose. When LAUNCH recently chatted with the singer, she was in the recording studio again, though she made it clear that working on another full-length record is the farthest thing from her mind right now. Instead, Amos has been spending time toying with ideas that may or may not eventually be used as part of a film project.
"I've finished albums for awhile," she says. "I'm looking at visuals right now, doing music for visuals... I got a call from somebody I really like on the visual side and they said, 'Hey, will you give it a go?' I said, 'Absolutely.' And we'll see what happens. We had a laugh, and we'll see. But no rush."
While understandably tight-lipped about the new endeavor, she does acknowledge that writing to a pre-existing story presents a unique set of challenges. "Your brief is very specific, and you're composing music for a plot that already exists," she says, "whereas while you're composing for your own work, you're developing a plot and a character. When you're putting music to film, you're trying to give the character subtext, but they already exist."
Of course, one could argue that Venus also exists, having already played a central role in works by everyone from Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli to Frankie Avalon and the Shocking Blue. Yet those familiar with her work know that if any artist was meant to capture the true substance of Rome's most famous she-deity on record, it's Amos.
"Venus is very much about sound effects," she says. "She's of the ether, so sonically and lyrically, the sound of her is very -- it's the extreme from the live record. The live record has no overdubs to it... the guys tarted her up a lot, but it's about having been there, and the principles are different at work for a live record that is of the third dimension than a work that's coming from Venus, which is really from the ether trying to materialize here on Earth in this space.
"The new material is really about the ether," she continues. "The extreme of Little Earthquakes [her 1991 solo debut release] is Venus, because she's trying to become matter as opposed to just an idea, a spirit. You know, the little whispers that happen in your mind, they're trying to take form, ideas taking form. It's a whole 'nother thing, and it's very difficult to achieve that, I think, if you're ether trying to become matter."
Or a person trying to understand the concept of ether trying to become matter. But just when you think you might require the services of an Akashic record-keeper to fully comprehend some of Amos's less tangible observations, she shares a plan for the year 2000 that, relatively speaking, is a bit more grounded:
"I'm getting a new boat," she says. "I like being close to the water. It's a real thing, a real passion for me. I'm a fire sign, so I think I crave water."
So what are we talking about here? A billowy sailboat carried along by gentle spirit winds, an extravagant, Thurston Howell-worthy yacht, or...
"That's way too big for me," she says. "Just small little speedboats. Go out for a few hours at a time and picnic and, you know, welcome the moon as it comes in."
To Luna and Back, anyone?
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