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Veronica (the Netherlands)
Dutch TV magazine
September 5, 2009
[translated from Dutch]
Tori Amos (46) performs twice next week in the Netherlands. We talked to the queen of the piano and fairytale-like lyrics.
Beautiful red isn't ugly. That credo is definitely true for Tori Amos. The big 50 looms at the horizon, but now that we are almost sitting in her lap, it doesn't show on her face. We don't deny the suggestion of botox, but it can turn out very well. What immediately strikes us is how friendly she is. She could very well have been a sour feminist with those often vitriolic lyrics. No, Tori Amos takes her time for each answer and does so with sentences which wouldn't look out of place on a new album. A dream conversation with a strong woman.
"As you travel across the world and get to Amsterdam, only then do you appreciate how unique that city is. My friends Viktor & Rolf live here as well. The sent this to my house in Cornwall recently (holds up a white lacquer bag which is probably one of a kind). Don't you think it's wonderful?"
Very pretty. You played a large part in their show four years ago. For whom was it a greater honour?
Oh the pleasure was mutual. The concept behind their imaginative shows and designs is very fascinating for me.
The passionate piano playing from the early days is long past you. Do we offend you if your last album reminds us of Madonna?
That depends on which era of Madonna you're referring to. The album has so many influences. Lots of energy was put in the arrangements. I felt more like a composer than a pianist or singer-songwriter while making Abnormally Attracted to Sin. All numbers are distinct but at the same time they are connected. They are tiny planets in the same solar system. I insisted on incorporating different musical styles in the album. That Guy has an orchestral feel from the late sixties. Maybe California is the traditional Tori piano sound and Ophelia could've been written by a younger version of me.
The title is Abnormally Attracted to Sin. What is the biggest sin?
Intolerance! Judging and influencing choices made by other people. Those religious zealots who decide what others should do in their private lives. Strong Black Vine is about those extremists in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Their urge to conquer the world and impose their ideas on everyone.
Each time you impress with your album concepts. This time you've made visualettes for each song. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Ever since I was a kid I've been thinking in images. My songs are extremely visual for me, because that's how they come to me. I want to let the listener experience that as well. The visualettes consist of video clips we recorded during the previous tour. I see them as tiny space ships that take you to other dimensions.
Is there money for making such time-consuming extras?
The packaging for Abnormally Attracted to Sin is probably the most exclusive being released this year at Universal. There are plenty people who can appreciate having nice artwork for an album. I lose money on the special editions so the buyer feels special. With the crisis wolf at the door I want to be Tori Amos, the sweet she-wolf. 'Feel free to pour some wine, I won't eat Little Red Riding Hood. I've got a basket filled with delicacies'.
Your albums cannot be understood in one listen anyway. Very special, but how do you pull that off?
There are many layers in my music, so you have to factor in an incubation period. I don't care about organic sketches; I love to create a three dimensional project. This is my tenth album and I forced myself to put in all my sound architectural knowledge. It's an anniversary with all that I've learned on my travels across the world.
You're in the business now for almost twenty years. How do you think it is that you're still relevant?
My own heroes were visually strong as well. And even while they were at an older age, they managed to keep reinventing themselves and shake things up. It's a pity that Vincent van Gogh died so young. I sometimes fantasise about what we might have seen had he lived longer. Or Paul Gauguin. I didn't understand his paintings until I was in Bora Bora myself. I was there with my daughter Tash and saw what he had seen. Although less so because 150 years have passed. Gauguin had had it with Christian society where everything revolved around man. Which is why he traveled to a place where women were in charge. I also write my lyrics while traveling. From my estate in Cornwall they'd only be about tractors and farmers.
On you previous album you called yourself a MILF (mother I'd like to fuck). That's not up to you?
Well, would you 'do' me?
Um, we still have four minutes. . .
By the time you no longer think I'm a MILF, I want to be buried.
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