On the 24th of October I was lucky to attend the premiere of Shell Shock at La Monnaie in Brussels. Shell Shock is an opera composed by Nicholas Lens, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the libretto was written by no other than Nick Cave. It is basically organized in 12 poems or canto each of them telling the story / point of view of one war participant. A soldier, a mother, a child, a deserter, etc
Here is an example with the Canto of the Survivor.
It is truly a beautiful tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of World War 1 and honor all the men and women who have lost their life.
Pictures taken by Rick Vink. Please do not repost these pictures elsewhere. Thank you for your comprehension. Click them to see a larger version.
Since I think it’s very difficult to describe such an amazing piece of work, I will leave you with a few links and you can see some extracts of the opera on Brussels Nieuws. Also mark your calendar because starting November 14th, the opera will be streaming on La Monnaie for three weeks! Don’t hesitate to explore the site as they have a few interview with Nick Cave and Nicholas Lens.
Some links from the press conference that took place earlier last month:
Nick Cave verovert de Munt (Dutch)
Ik ben voorbestemd voor het donkere en sombere” (Dutch)
The Birthday Party was ook al een soort van opera (short video extract of the conference in English)
Un Requiem pour la Premiere Guerre (French)
Les tristes (mais bonne paroles) de Nick Cave (French)
here is my translation of an interview with Nick released in the german magazine “Kölnische Rundschau” on October 20th. I did it spontaneously because I liked the interview (and suffer from insomnia). I read a lot of interviews and often they have not much that is new. This one has a few things inbetween that I never heard him say before. So here it is for every non-german-speaking who is interested and does not want to contact Kölnische Runschau and beg for the original English version.
Interview with Nick Cave: I had a wild childhood
Sturm: Mr.Cave, reportedly you did not want a documentary about yourself. Why did you change your opinion?
Nick Cave: Usually documentaries like that are just very bad, but I knew the directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard well and worked with them on some projects already. For example I let them come to the studio to film the recording of my latest album. The material was incredible and I did not want to use that up for press stuff. Then Iain and Jane came up with a visual concept for a documentary that convinced me in the end.
Sturm: What exactly convinced you?
Nick Cave: That it’s about a deeper examination of the concept of fame and creative work, though there were moments during the shooting when I was thinking „This is fucked up“.
Sturm: When for example?
Nick Cave: When I lie in bed with my wife or stand in front of the mirror. I thought „No way that I will allow this material to be used in the movie“. But then I did anyway because it works within the context of the film. I had no interest in those standard documentary scenes when you look at people doing the dishes though.
Sturm: Your music often is about philosophic topics, let it be god or love. Does everyday life bore you with its questions like „Who will take out the trash?“
Nick Cave: To be honest I’m really more interested in banal things than the high-flying ideals of love. Maybe that was different in the past but today for me it’s about assimilating everyday life into my imagination. I want to create something great, monumental and remarkable out of the mundane. When you get older, your world shrinks: You have less friends, less relationships, routine sets in. And that’s why your imagination has to work even harder.
Sturm: Does the fact that, like you say, your life shrinks scare you?
Nick Cave: Well, let me say it like this: I hope that nobody I love will die before me. That would be an experience that would deeply shock me. But I myself still feel very alive – at least when I am working and creating things. Then I feel superhuman or, if it does not work, like the opposite.
Sturm: Do you worry about your health?
Nick Cave: Yeah, about being tired too early. Anyway I don’t worry about that very often. When we are on tour maybe, because that’s exhausting of course. But when we are on stage we reach a state that goes way beyond exhaustion, a kind of hysteria that pushes us forward. The only problem are the days off inbetween.
Sturm: Did you ever ask yourself what happens after our physical existence?
Nick Cave: I strongly believe that we should be able to believe. That means we need the right to believe. I believe in the idea of god, not really in god as a creature. To me it’s a lovely trait of humanity to be capable of that imagination, that it’s not just all about fucking and guzzling.
Sturm: In the film you speak about wanting to reach deeper truths through your work. Do you search for god as well then?
Nick Cave: I would put the word „god“ aside. That just causes confusion, it’s the same with the word „truth“. I want to reach new, unknown places and that makes me feel anxious and excited at the same time. I’m not sure if there is a word for that. I just move forward and while I do that, I feel a huge knot in my stomach.
Sturm: Did you find the answer to the question why we are here during that expedition?
Nick Cave: I don’t know why you are here. I know that I have to move forward constantly. If I don’t do that its getting very dark around me. Thats the necessity of my existance. That’s why I write new songs and go on tour. In the meantime I never know it that really pays off. Thats where the anxiety comes from.
Sturm: And what makes you feel excited?
Nick Cave: While I’m working I have no real control over what I do. There are mysterious strands interweaving into each other, ideas if you like to say so and very, very slowly something starts to crystallize. If you can sense it you think „Ah that’s what it’s all about“. That’s combined with a feeling of euphoria, but before that point you go through hell*, because you never know if you reach that point.
Sturm: What is it like with the audience, are they supposed to feel the same like you when it comes to your music?
Nick Cave: In the past my songs have been a bit more stressful, full of conflicts and unwieldy. But I learned to include the listener a bit more. The music I do now is more mystic, less concrete and that’s why it invites the listener to jump in with his imagination.
Sturm: You did sessions with a psychotherapist for the movie…
Nick Cave: But only for the film. I never met that man before. We spoke for two days but had no contact outside of the shooting. He came on set through one door, I came through the other. But he should interview me like he would do during a therapy session. The man is a Freudian and usually does seminars like „Masturbation today“ – very funny.
Sturm: What did you learn from that?
Nick Cave: It was really fun. I got practical advices but I won’t go into detail on that now.
Sturm: Do we need art for our individual fulfilment? After all it has no direct and practical use?
Nick Cave: We could live without it maybe, but we would be much more poor. And I could not live in a world where I would not be able to interpret my experiences with my imagination. For me and my collegues, art is as natural as breathing. In a world without it I could not survive.
Sturm: You explored art through your father who introduced you into world literature. Was there ever a non-creative job you could imagine for yourself?
Nick Cave: I’d like to tell you a moment when I was thinking about an alternative occupation, but it does not exist. Since my childhood I wanted to be a painter. Then I joined a band – for the same reasons many other young people do it. But I failed at art school and so I continued with the band because I accidentally had one. Anyway there was never the idea to learn a bourgeois profession.
Sturm: Is there a part of you who would like to return to the kid’s world?
Nick Cave: Yes, but that depends on the particular world. If I could return to my childhood, then yes. I had loving parents. We lived in the country by a river, it was kind of a wild childhood because I could wander around and go to the city. A wonderful time, I’d be happy to relive that.
Sturm: Were you happier back then?
Nick Cave: I had no concept of happy or unhappy back then. Life was like it was. I was just free.
Sturm: More free than today?
Nick Cave: You can’t even compare that.
*the journalist used „howling and chattering of teeth“ for his german translation but I am not sure that phrase even exists in English like that and means the same. Its a nice one though, quite an oldschool phrase to say that you have a really fucked up time.
Original interview by Rüdiger Sturm
Translation by Anna
Nick Cave will be touring The UK and Europe this Spring. He will be joined by Warren Ellis, Barry Adamson, Thomas Wydler and Martyn Casey for more intimate concert. According to Nick Cave: “The aim is to try to create a unique show – something special and out of the ordinary.”
Here is the full list of concerts. Note that a 2nd London date has been added on May 2nd at the Apollo Hammersmith. Most cities are already sold out (thank you scalpers!). In case you weren’t lucky to grab a ticket, feel free to join the group I’ve created on Facebook which will help fans get connected to swap/sell their unwanted tickets.
Great vintage pics from The Birthday Party’s live show in Athens, 1982!!
My friends and I got very lucky and managed to buy tickets to the Gala Premiere (doesn’t that sound fancy?) of 20,000 Days on Earth at the Barbican in London. So on Wednesday evening we headed over there, very eager to finally see the movie we have had heard so much about since the Camden Koko show.
Unfortunately we missed the Red Carpet as our stomachs had to come first but thank you to Simone Van Lier for sharing a couple of her pictures. Nick Cave and his wife Susie Bick, directors Jane Pollard and Ian Forsyth were in attendance as well as Barry Adamson, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, George Vjestica and celebrities like Ray Winstone, John Hurt, etc
Read the Article by Zach Sokol
-via Marcus Andrew at The Creators Project
The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, culture and technology. Founded by a revolutionary partnership between Intel and VICE, The Creators Project celebrates visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology in innovative ways to push the boundaries of creative expression.
The winning numbers, reading from left to right, across the columns: 100 – 21 – 53.
(Number 14 was not chosen, so we picked the next two numbers in the sequence.)
Congratulations to the winners! Each of you will receive a copy of: A Little History: Photographs of Nick Cave & Cohorts 1981-2013 by Bleddyn Butcher. I will email each of the winners to confirm, and will then forward your names and mailing addresses, along with your entry forms, to Clare Drysdale at Allen & Unwin’s London office. She will organize the rest.
Thanks for participating, everyone! It was fun to host this giveaway.
Here is the random number sequence generated on Sep 3, 2014. Click for larger view.