Interview: Beck explains 'Colors' release, and expansive touring plans


Beck performs at the Palace Theatre.
Beck performs at the Palace Theatre. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
Beck speaks with Brian Oake
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Before opening the U2 Joshua Tree concert, Beck and Brian Oake talked about how Beck approaches opening for an act instead of headlining, what he likes in a music video, and why he delayed the release of Colors.

Interview Highlights

On opening for U2:

"It's interesting, on this tour, I was wondering [how it would go] myself. We've just been doing our normal show, and the audience has been so kind and effusive. It seems like anything goes, really. I have opened for people before where the fans didn't know who I was … so I've been in that position, and that's part of the deal, but that hasn't been the case on this tour."

On the deferred release of the album, Colors:

"It was supposed to come out a year after Morning Phase. And then the Morning Phase record, it just kept growing and more people were finding it. So we just kept putting the record off. After a while, we just started to listen to it and live with it and start to change things and try to deepen the record a little bit."

On the making of the video for the new single, "Up All Night":

"We reach out to people and see who's available. CANADA [a collective of film directors based in Barcelona], who directed the video, were at the top of our list. Anybody who likes the videos of say, Spike Jonez and Michel Gondry and that whole kind of approach to video, very creative, striking, cinematic. CANADA are carrying that on, and they don't do that many videos, so I felt lucky to get them to work on the song."

On how Beck is able to do what he likes as an artist:

"I've been very lucky. People have indulged me. There is a little bit of danger in trying things; you might fall on your face or something might not quite come together. I'm a believer in that it's part of a process, and if I can help it, I try to weed out as many of those failed experiments before I make anybody hear it. That's part of why this album took so long, was [I was] just trying to get all my bad lyrics and melodies that didn't work out of the way and try to get to the heart of the matter."

On what U2 mean to him as a fan and a musician:

"I grew up with U2. And I remember hearing stories about their shows — I must have been young, I must have been 11 years old or something, when they were playing small, local clubs. There was a story of a legendary show they did at the Hollywood Palladium. It's funny, before I heard their music, I'd heard that they were an incredible live band. That was sort of the word among kids.

"I just watched them grow into the band they've become. They're just one of those bands we all grew up with, and there's so many great songs they've done. It's humbling to stand in the audience and share the stage with them to sort of see how far you can take this idea of music."


Beck - official website

CANADA film production (in Spanish)

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    Brian Oake and Beck (Anna Reed | MPR)

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