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NPR World Cafe: Noel Gallagher Interview about Fame, Lyrics, and Kanye West




Talia Schlanger of NPR World Cafe interviewed Noel Gallagher about his new album, "Who Built The Moon?" He also performed. See some highlights I pulled below (TW for mentions of physical abuse under the cut):

- (2:14) Talks about his scissor player, Charlotte, who left her scissors in the wrong flight case and had to borrow some NPR office scissors but was upset because they don't make the right kind of sound. Plays "It's a Beautiful World". (You can hear the scissors come in at 5:10 if you're interested).

- (15:10) Talks about the musical inspirations for his new album, including Blondie (which inspired "She Taught Me How to Fly") and Kanye West (which inspired Fort Knox).


On Kanye West
- (23:33) About Kanye West: "He had a run of singles which blew me away, 'Black Skinhead', 'Fade', 'Power'. He's pretty far out, he doesn't mind speaking his mind, he's pretty funny (not sure whether he's intentionally trying to be funny), but he's a free spirit, man."

"When 'Black Skinhead' was out, I happened to be at a party and Rick Rubin was there, and he produced that album, 'Yeezus'. And I said to him, 'How much of that is him, and how much of that is you?' that track, particularly, because it sounds like nothing else he's ever done. And he said, 'Oh, it's all him'."

-He then follows that up by talking about how a good producer (like Rick Rubin and David Holmes) should really only be helping you find something within you and helping you bring that out.

- (27:20) Plays "Holy Mountain" live.

- (31:42) Talking about modern UK rock music, "I mean guitar music in general is pretty dire at the moment. It's not really got a presence."

- (33:44) Jokingly suggests that the rise of the coffee shop is responsible for killing rock music and pop culture, "Have you ever noticed that since the arise of the coffee shop, culture has disappeared, don't you think? People are horrified that they have to pay for music. Music! 'What? I'm not paying for that!' But what, twenty dollars for two coffees? 'Oh, absolutely!' I haven't got the brain capacity to process that information". Then goes on to say, "I blame Friends".

- (36:38) Talks about the emotional significance that "Don't Look Back in Anger" has gained after the Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande concert. The interviewer plays a news clip of a crowd singing the song and Noel responds, "I was watching it live on the news. At the time I don't think I had a single thought in my head, I was gobsmacked, you know. It was only way after the fact that it proved to me, not that I needed any proof, how important music is, or a song to people. That in that moment of awfulness, and all the words that had been said by religious and political leaders leading up to that memorial day, things you hear all the time, one girl decided to break the silence with a song; it brought everyone together. Whether my song or not is irrelevant. If it had been a song by someone else, I'd have still been blown away by the fact that music is what brought all those people, shared this experience, and it was being filmed and the world shared it as well. It was a stunning moment."

- (41:30) Talks about how second guessing yourself hinders creativity. He says he hates the "Be Here Now" album because he "wilted under the pressure" of being a successful songwriter. Everyone liked it, it was critically acclaimed, but it became very apparent on tour that the songs didn't hold a candle to his previous two albums. "I hate it!"

On Fame:
- (44:20) Talks about "Be Careful What You Wish For". Before playing the song (at 50:20), the interviewer said some of the lyrics of this song broke her heart. Noel responds, "The first two verses started out as a message to my children about fame, money, and drugs and all that, you know, just be careful what you wish for. The following three verses are about, I sound pretentious here, it's a cautionary tale to other people's kids." He continues, "Fame is fickle, it's not real. Emotions are real".

On His Lyrics:
- (46:27) "If I'm doing my job correctly, my songs should say more to you about you then you about me. If I'm writing, and I'll read a line back and it's too personal, I'll just take it out immediately".

The interviewer asks where those lines go and he says, "In the bin. Because I don't like listening to personal songs by other people because then it doesn't mean anything to me. So your mom died, mine didn't. So what are we listening to here? My songs tend to deal with the universal truths of life. We all love and hate and lose and we all win sometimes. Within the universal truths of life lie magic. If you're being very matter of fact, 'this is a song about how my dad abused me when I was a child' I'm like really? It better be a good song because it doesn't sound like it's going to be a happy five minutes, you know what I mean? When I'm listening to John Lennon's solo stuff and he's going on about his mother, I'm not interested".

The interviewer points out how that was an interesting example to choose since Noel himself was physically abused by his father. He replies by saying that he's never written any songs about it, "Times were hard, the physical abuse...a lot of my other friends had the same, their dads were the same. It was the late seventies, early eighties, brutal times in the northwest. I never wanted to write about it, ever, ever. There's too much glory in the world to write about pain. Some people are good at writing about pain and the same as some people are good about writing the news. That's not what I do. I'm not saying that Elliot Smith discussing his past, or his present, or his mental health issues is any less valid than me writing about the glory of women. I'm just saying, that's not what I do. I couldn't do that".

On Parenthood:
(55:40) Talks about raising his kids. The interviewer asks how his notoriously strained relationship with Liam affects how he raises his sons to ensure they have the kind of brotherhood that he wants them to have, "Raising kids it's, honestly, the fundamentals are easy. If your house is full of love and respect, that's it. If you love your children and you love your wife, that is it. That is it! My kids are the happiest two lads...don't get me wrong, they will demolish everything that I hold true in my life if they get their hands on it... I'll say, 'Where's the thing?', 'Oh, I flushed it down the toilet', 'What? What've you done that for?' 'Because it was funny'. Fuckin' hell. And they fight like two cats and dogs. But they're brilliant lads; engaging, funny. It's because their environment is full of love and respect. And if you come from a home that's not like that, you end up passing that on to your kids, but someone has to break the chain somewhere down the line. So my family upbringing was in parts, it was, there was violence, there was real bad times, but the key to it all is your wife. If you respect your wife, the game's easy for your kids because there's nothing else. There's nothing else they need to learn".

(1:01:40) Performs "The Right Stuff"



Source:NPR World Cafe Twitter
Tags: british celebrities, interview, kanye west, music / musician
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