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Veronica In Concert (the Netherlands, TV)
Dutch TV show
January 1996

Tori Amos interview

quotes from the show

"In music you learn form. They teach form in music school. I don't think of form now. I learned form in a very involved way, since I was a little girl, playing at the Conservatory. But now I have no regard for form. At this stage now, I don't follow anyone's form as a musician. I instinctively know."

"There's a lot of different form going on between Jimi Hendrix, Bartok, Fats Waller and Brahms. And the gift was, it became a place where, after you've learned how it works, you can take all the rules and throw them away and say, 'I have to make my own now.' You've learned other people's rules. It's like a map, like a map. And then you take the map away and say, 'I have to make my own path down this mountain now. I've seen how other people have navigated and now I'm gonna take my own little boat.' I think that's the whole idea of creativity. It's trusting in your own way. That's when it gets exciting, not on copying."

"I come towards [?] myself as it's happening, because it's in the acknowledgement, in the acceptance, that begins to shift things. You see, if you don't have access to your unconscious and you don't have access to the sides of yourself that you don't want to look at, I think you aren't in control and you are out of balance. It's when you're looking at them, they come into balance."

"I think music is probably the closest place to Avalon. The idea that you can go through the vale, go through the mist almost. Music has keys where it opens doors. You can almost go to other dimensions. Music leads you to memories in yourself, I truly believe that. It's like a magic carpet."

"As a player, it's about learning a language, a music language. And at a really young age, I didn't have, you know, I had multi-culture coming into my ears, so that was a real gift, and I thank my mother for that. My mother's part Cherokee, so there's a real gift in that."

"So, the musical vocabulary didn't have limitations, but everything else in my life was very strict. So, the only place for imagination and freedom was music."

You created your own, safe and secret world?

"Mhmm... Yeah."

"I was trying to find out what was my idea of a woman. What was my idea of a man. What was my idea of free. Free. . . . In all cultures on the planet, there's an inbalance of the feminine. Within men, within women. It's about honor. Honor. You see a lot of angry women, bitter women, because they haven't released their anger and then healed. It's a process, you can't skip steps on the ladder, you just can't. Why would you want to?"

What do you, PJ Harvey and Bjork have in common?

"Past and present. It's... you know, the one thing we have in common is that we're all very different. And you always come back to the thing of, 'Hey, this is what I do.' These are my experiences, growing up in North Carolina as a daughter of a minister, experienced some violent situations, finding myself again and again and again in this victim scene, thinking I'm this little martyr and it's just... KGGR [puts her finger in her mouth]. And at a certain point you go on the marshmallows tour and let's have a little roast. And that's what I know of Polly has another set of experiences as Bjork."

"Losing My Religion"

"Losing My Religion just kinda came to me. The girl who's being attacked and lets part of herself go, that's where Losing My Religion was appropriate. Michael's idea of what Losing My Religion is, is probably different than mine. I asked him to come to the studio and listen. And he came and sat there and there were tears running down of his face. And that was important to me because I needed to know that he thought that I had honored his song. I wanted him to understand. We never talked about what his version or mine meant, there were no words necessary."

"Smells Like Teen spirit"

"When I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit, it was like my blood just stood up and saluted and said, 'Something has been turned around in my way of thinking.' And the piano said, 'Take this to me.'"

"Because there's a different angle. It's like a smell. You can smell it. I said this yesterday, when I was talking to one of the other reporters, one of the Dutch guys. You see the different layers when you allow yourself to go through. You go in and you know the matrix, you see what makes up the molecule of each note when you crawl into it."

The Songs

"My songs already exist. They just visit me, and I translate them. And the way I translate them is by having an experience. The experience makes me see everything more clearly. It's funny, sometimes a song will come and I'll be developing it, and I won't understand what it is. But later I think, 'Oh, that's what that's about.' And then I start to think and start to feel it. And then the song takes on a whole other dimension."

"I wouldn't call it possession, although I do believe in possession. This is more like going into a place in myself that maybe I haven't been willing to recognize, like in the song Professional Widow, where she seduces men to their death so that she can have their power."

[quotes transcribed by Dennis Snelders]

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