Interview: Melissa Auf der Maur

By JON GARELICK  |  October 14, 2010

So when I went home for Christmas at the end of my year tour of my first solo record, I had celebrated Christmas with my family in our family house on Cape Cod and they all left and I went into a three-month hibernation to begin writing my new record, which involved long nights of eat, sleep, Netflix — I had just discovered Netflix — and reading every book I never had time to read. And just all my guitars and instruments in one room. It was a beautiful three months of "okay, what is this next project?" And from the very top of that process I said, okay, I want to make an album that also has a fantasy film and a comic book and I see those three mediums or forms as very relevant. So I started to read and write and research and look, hunt for what was to become the theme of the album and the project.

Towards the end of that songwriting process is when "Out of Our Minds" the song was written. And there's definitely some songs that come easy and definitely some songs that are channeled from some clear other place. The way "Out of Our Minds" came out and once the words, the lyrics came out of my mouth, "Travel out of our minds, into our hearts standing by, our hearts have been standing by for so long," that became the central theme of an ancient topic. It's Adam and Eve, or who's going to win, the heart or the mind, or is it the physical or the spiritual — it's so old, but there's a reason why it's a universal, eternal question. And I thought, okay, well how do I, a woman who's bridged from the last millennium to this one, who is interested in visual and conceptual arts as well as music, who has experienced this and that — all the things that make me particular — how do I tackle that theme? And that's sort of how it began to unfold.

What year was that?
That was 2005. So I basically went into a three-year creative mode. The first year was making what I thought was going to be a record. I was still with Capitol Records, when I was ready to mix in 2007, we were about to enter into the mixing phase of what was the version 1 of the album everyone at Capitol was fired in one day — the A&R person, the president, everyone who was working on my record was gone. And that's when I realized, okay I'm going to take this opportunity to get out of this system, which I never particularly felt at home with anyway. I just sort of fell into it with Hole and all that. Then that turned into a year of a confusing logistical thing because I was making a record with them as a label. Lawyers had to take over, and that's when I, thank goodness, met Tony Stone, the director. I saw his film, Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America, which I think played at the Boston Film Festival when it first did the festival circuit. Magnolia picked it up eventually. It's an amazing, amazing, amazing, unique film.

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