Pop music is an arena in which things are made out of folk forms, with centuries behind them. And they come into the pop arena and combine and explode with a burst of energy, but it's been a while since we've tapped into a big enough source to sustain it.
There's a book by an art theorist where he connects the golden era of modernism with the first era of fossil fuel extraction, and it came up with all these amazing things. Birth of flight, motorcars, things getting faster when there's more energy available, when these reserves are tapped. And of course the Italian futurists were really taken with all this stuff, speed and cars and airplanes. And there is definitely some kind of link there.
IN GENERAL, I FEEL LIKE OUR MODERN SOCIETY IS WAITING FOR A TECHNOLOGICAL FIX TO MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. DO YOU THINK IN MUSIC THAT CARGO CULT MENTALITY, THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL COME AND BRING SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER, IS A REAL PROBLEM?
Yeah, that's one thing that occurred to me — that could be the source of a new sound, or a new way of structuring music would be some new machine — but it's hard to imagine what it would be until it exists. I dunno, it's difficult to say. A lot of the classic era of rock has to do with people working through the possibilities of electric guitars, and the possibilities having to do with amplification. And that took a long while, there were decades worth of possibilities to explore out of guitars and guitar effects and overdubbing and multitracking and all these things. And things to do with effects of volume and massive amplification. So it's a field of possibilities and people wring out of it every possible permutation, and it feels like it's been awhile since we've had one of those — maybe sampling, I guess. It's one of those things where there's the original intended function that the manufacturer came up with, which is quite limited, and then there are the myriad unintended and unforeseen uses. I guess the last device with these kinds of possibilities is Auto-Tune. There are all sorts of wrong ways to use it, possibilities.
But yeah, there is that feeling of waiting for the next thing like that. I dunno, do you think that's a mistake, that it's misplaced?
I DON'T KNOW! HONESTLY, I THINK THAT THE MASSIVE SUCCESS OF ADELE HAS REALLY HAD ME RETHINK THINGS. IT'S REALLY MADE ME RETHINK WHAT PEOPLE WANT FROM THE FUTURE OF MUSIC, BECAUSE IF YOU TOLD ME A FEW YEARS AGO, BACK WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING WEIRDER AND MORE EXPERIMENTAL AND MORE DARING, THAT THE NEXT BIG THING WAS GOING TO BE SOMEONE SINGING REALLY TRADITIONAL SONGS IN THIS REAL '60S VEIN WITH SUPER-VINTAGE-Y SOUNDING PRODUCTION, I'D HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS NUTS. I MEAN, A MILLION PEOPLE TRIED THAT AND NO ONE CARED! BUT CLEARLY PEOPLE ARE STARVED FOR THAT, SOME PEOPLE WANT A RETREAT OF SOME KIND, AND I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S GOOD OR BAD.