Interview: Damien Rice

Damien Rice
Damien Rice (Lilja Birgisdottir)
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Damien Rice's third full-length album My Favourite Faded Fantasy released yesterday in the states. The Irish singer-songwriter recently chatted with host Barb Abney about the new record and his life leading up to the release.

Listen to Barb's interview with Damien and read the highlights below, then enter The Current's Damien Rice My Favourite Faded Fantasy giveaway for a chance to win a CD copy, a limited edition lithograph of the album art, a pair of JBL Synchros E40BT headphones and a Damien Rice tote bag.

On his eight year recording hiatus: "Everything that was going on in my life sort of deconstructed, or crumbled to pieces. It was kind of the clean up after the party. Everybody leaves and then you wake up in the morning and you walk down and see broken bottles or whatever the mess is. Dirty dishes. It was a big party and I had a lot of stuff to clean up. I realized as well I kind of needed to do a lot of the cleanup myself."

"When I was younger I always had these things to aim for. Whether it was looking ahead into the future and thinking, 'Oh, ya know, when I get to make a record in a studio then I'll be happy.' But then I got to make a record in a studio and I said, 'Oh yeah but when I get to release a record and people come to the concerts then I'll be happy.' And then it was like, 'No, no. When people come to the concerts and are singing along with the songs then I'll be happy.' Or, 'When I meet somebody and fall in love, then I'll be happy.' Or, 'When I make some money and can buy my own house, then I'll be happy.' Whatever it was, there was always a new target. A new thing to aim for. If there was ever a moment in my life where I wasn't quite ecstatic, then I could always sort of blame it on the fact that, 'Oh, I hadn't quite reached my goal yet, so when I get there, I'll be happy.'"

On how he overcame his fears: "Whatever the problems were, whatever the things were that I was afraid of in my life, I just went deeper and deeper into them. The deeper I went in, the scarier it got in some ways but then if I went just another couple of steps, it would just pop an disappear. The issue, the problem. Whatever the fear was."

On how he got back into writing music for My Favourite Faded Fantasy: "I looked at my guitar in a very different way to how I looked at it before. It kind of brought me back to where I was when I was 13. The innocence started to pop back. I wasn't looking to music to give me anything. I wasn't looking to people to give me anything. I wasn't looking to the world to give me anything. I didn't have a sense of entitlement at all. Then I just started seeing things in a way that I had never before and from that place then, lyrics started popping where before I would have been searching for lyrics, or I might have been trying to write a song. Once I stopped that and dove into these mental issues and started exploring the brain, I started uncovering all these layers of lies and fears. Words started popping. Layers starting popping. Everything started flowing from that space."

On working with producer Rick Rubin for My Favourite Faded Fantasy: "The process was simple but tough in that it was a bit like boot camp. I had a bunch of songs that were finished but not completely finished. I wasn't completely satisfied with them. I sent Rick a bunch of demos, maybe 30 or 40 songs or something. Of that collection of songs we reduced it down to 15 or 20 and worked on those and reduced that down to 12 or 14 that we recorded, then we picked eight for the record. When I started recording with Rick, I had this tendency of just wanting to do what I had been doing for the previous years which was once I'd get to a place of recording a song that I didn't like, I'd just kind of get frustrated with myself and say, 'Oh, it's just not good enough,' and then I'd walk away. Anytime I'd go to do that with Rick, he'd just sit me down just get me to focus on that one little part that I wasn't happy with and just get me to show up for it even though I didn't want to. That was the biggest thing I learned."

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