home / interviews


KGSR Music Lounge (US, radio)
KGSR, Austin, Texas (93.3 FM)
March 20, 2009

Tori Amos interview and live performance
at the SXSW Festival

hosted by Jody Denberg

Jody: We're so honored to have our next guest. She has her, I think it's her 10th studio album coming out May 19th, and it's called Abnormally Addicted to Sin.

Tori: Attracted.

Jody: Attracted. See, I think I was projecting there, but don't tell anyone.

Tori: Oh, I wouldn't be an addict.

Jody: No.

Tori: No. Just attracted.

Jody: Just attracted. Abnormally Attracted to Sin.

Tori: And to wine.

Jody: And very attractive today, as well. And played last night at La Zona Rosa. Please welcome Tori Amos.

Tori plays "Cloud on My Tongue" and "Crucify"

Jody: Tori Amos, live on KGSR. Thank you, Tori. "Crucify" and "Cloud on My Tongue."

Tori: Yes, "Cloud on My Tongue" from Under the Pink.

Jody: Very, very nice. It sounds like "Crucify" has grown over the years. It has evolved from when we first heard it on Little Earthquakes?

Tori: I guess so. It's something that, the songs, all of them keep changing for me because they come back in my life at different times. And because of the situations that are going on in my life, I have different pictures in my head when I sing them than I did in '91 or '95 or 2003. But, yeah.

Jody: There's a whole series of live bootlegs that you have, you know, quote-unquote 'bootlegs, about 27 of them or so. I'd imagine there's different songs throughout those shows, but also the songs themselves probably change from bootleg to bootleg.

Tori: And sometimes girls in better form on different nights, you see, so that's a big change.

Jody: The album before the new one was American Doll Posse, a studio album And you played various characters on that record and sang through various characters, or that's how I perceived it. We haven't heard Abnormally Attracted to Sin yet. Is it a similar situation, where you're singing through characters?

Tori: No, I think those women have become me now. Those women were archetypes, so if you look at it in that way, they were just different parts of the female character. A lot of women, you make a choice in your life, and you might not explore different sides to yourself because of family, friends, your job, you can't necessarily walk in with rubber tights everywhere. Jody, I know YOU would be fine with that, but not everybody would be fine with that. So yes, I allowed myself to explore the Athena in me, the Aphrodite, the Artemis, and Persephone. And I found these different pieces of the feminine that weren't just kind of the stereotypical definition of, "Are you an A-type personality?"

Jody: When the new album comes out, there's gonna be editions of it that have an accompanying DVD. I read about it, anyway, that the DVD has videos that correspond to the songs, is that correct?

Tori: Yeah, each song - except "Mary Jane" - so there are 16 visualettes. They're little movies that were made. They're not lip-synching, so they're not really videos. I worked with a filmmaker, Christian Lamb, and he was filming the live show in San Francisco, and he jumped on the bus to just get montage stuff for the live concert footage, and he would show me every day what he was filming, of the crew and the earth and of course I was there too, sometimes. And I would look at these stories he was putting together, and I would say, "Christian, shut the music off," and it would be the music from the live shows. I said, "Stop, turn it off, and let's just watch it." And new music, there was a different story to be told. So I started writing furiously to some of the things that I was seeing, our real lives that were happening and all the things everybody experienced as we travelled the world, and the world was changing so quickly, and is changing so quickly. And then I started writing a lot this summer, and then we filmed again, after the songs were created.

Jody: You mentioned playing live. You played live last night at La Zona Rosa. Did you have your band with you?

Tori: I played alone. But I will have Matt and Jon with me on tour. They'll come out, and we haven't done a trio in a couple tours, and I really love playing with them. I've enjoyed it. We do different configurations, I always try to change it up a little each tour, so then we have different arrangements, and we'll rearrange things for a trio this time instead of just solo or with a full band.

Jody: Talking about different arrangements, there's a box set that came out, I think it was a couple of years ago, called A Piano: The Collection, and a lot of the versions of your songs on that box were a little bit different - remixed and then there was a collection of b-sides and such. You were very hands-on with that, there were notes, very extensive notes for the songs. Did you see that box set as sort of the end of a chapter in a way, or not really?

Tori: Well, I think you have to culminate your work. I'm really inspired by the visual artists of the late-19th century and early-20th century and how, you know, Monet would paint variations of haystacks and that kind of thing. And so I like, I don't know, expanding the work. I see things as a sonic installation, and so sometimes you need to corral them like wild Mustangs and say, "Okay, girls, let's get you all here," and they all have to work together. You can't look at a song, it has to hold up individually and that mix and everything else, but then if it's in the context of many many many many others, then you have to see how that's going to work within that installation. And so it depends where I'm fitting the songs.

Jody: It's context.

Tori: Always.

Jody: It's a beautiful collection, by the way, A Piano. And May 19th is the release for Abnormally Attracted to Sin. You have a youngster at home, right?

Tori: She's eight.

Jody: She's eight. So how does that affect you when you have a new album coming out and you want to play it for everybody, or does it? In terms of logistics and things.

Tori: Well, she's coming on the road. This will be her fifth world tour. Yes. She's very excited, because she wants to go to Russia and it looks like, hopefully, we'll be going to Russia at some point, because I've never played there before. But that doesn't mean we're not as excited to play Seattle or Austin as we are St. Petersburg, it's just she looks forward to things she's never experienced before, as well.

Jody: I've experienced the fact that you have fans all over the world, because I played a song or two from the new album and was flooded with emails from Belgium and Italy and England and it was a little overwhelming. Those people are very anxious to hear this new record.

Tori: I'm very fortunate to have people that are willing to listen to new music, and I think the deal is if we, as musicians, are growing and not repeating ourselves and "chasing it," as they say, but trying to really push it out there and take the next step, then they wanna see where that boat is going to be sailing.

Jody: Oh, I should show you my email in-box - you'll see how anxious they are. But we're very fortunate to have you here today, and thank you for making time for us, Tori, and we could do another couple songs.

Tori: Okay.

Jody: Tori Amos on KGSR.

Tori plays "Jackie's Strength" and "1000 Oceans"

Jody: You're listening to Tori Amos live on KGSR, "Jackie's Strength" and "1000 Oceans." The last time you visited us, it was a day or two after Katrina, and we sat down and you were gonna play a certain song, and then you thought of "1000 Oceans" and played that in relation to Katrina, so I always remember that, when you play that song. I wish you safe travels when the record comes out, going all over the world, and I appreciate you being here today, and I know everyone else does for sure. And maybe we could send everyone on their way with one more song from Tori Amos.

Tori: Yes, sing 'em away? Hope to see you all out there sometime. We're out for a while, so we couldn't stay away. And Tash wants to get out of school, so...

Tori plays "Silent All These Years"


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