Artist: Tori Amos
Album: Ocean to ocean
Number of tracks: 10
Labels: Decca Records
Release date: October 29, 2021
“You have to write yourself out of this personal little hell“Tori Amos told me about her frustration during the third UK coveted lockdown, and the message she got led to her new album. Ocean to ocean. “I think I threw my hand in the air and said, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s where the songs start to meet me, where they say, ‘Come on you’re feeling frustrated and you feel like you’re in your own little little hell because you’re doing it. You have to write from that place. ‘
As if by magic, Tori consistently turns a spun yarn into something artistic and subtle. From her signature reddish lock to the star sign, she’s not just a woman who just walked through the fire, she’s made of it. From song to song you can feel that fire Ocean to ocean.
In one of our strongest conversations at this time in 2020, Tory was still in the process of losing his mother, the year before, in anticipation of the presidential election and optimism for the post-epidemic world. He tells me that “there was plenty of time for reflection – almost too much self-reflection,” and he captures all those deep and sometimes dark feelings throughout the new song from his sixteenth studio album. From grief and loss to kinship and love, Tory invites us into this deep personal journey. Yet, in a career spanning nearly three decades, at every stage with a lot of self, Ocean to ocean Something new seems to be stylistically – big, shaky, mythical – with him agreeing A little earthquake-For work.
I spoke to Tori on an exile in London (“I’m busy now …”), where the promotion of the new album took her away from her home in Cornwall for the first time in over a year.
Spin: What was the inspiration for your album?
Tori Amos:I think here is the third lockdown. I don’t know if the Americans really understood how serious it was here, but it happened after Christmas. This happened in early January. For London, it happened before Christmas, but when we were in Cornwall they started locking the country by different counties, but then everyone was thrown into this dire situation. Put your hands in my heart, to try to be fair about this, I think my husband and I did a pretty good job at first with Tash and her boyfriend Oliver, who thought she was coming for two weeks and five months.
Which song came first?
I think “Metal Water Wood” came first, and it acknowledges where I was with fire and being useless as an animal of fire. It just wasn’t working for me. The message of the message was: Be like Bruce Lee, be like the water. Then you don’t have to do things like you’ve always done them, it might work for you what you thought it would, what power you thought would bring you to a different frequency space. I didn’t like where my strength was. I was “I don’t want to be in a place of negativity and anger and destructiveness or being a victim.”
That was the beginning, and nature called me out. Although it was cold and chilly, but once I got there and started to see how just nature is, I don’t know, going through its cycle and paying attention and listening, I started to feel different things, and it started. To transfer my energy. The song begins to say, “You have a choice, T. What energy do you want to be in? You have to make it golden and step on it, and we’ll help you do it, but you have to make that choice.
Is it a difficult process to go through?
I want [my daughter] Tash was on the call. [laughs] He will tell you that there was a moment when he thought, “I have to get my mother back. What do we have to do to do that?” He said, “Look, I’ve got you as my audience, so you’re going to watch my favorite documentary.” What was hard was getting out of that chair. I think I came to the place of emotional paralysis because, again, we were marketing the book.Resistance, Published in 2020), we did a Christmas EP through the first lockdown and we did a virtual book tour from that studio the way we were working, not playing live. We were doing all this.
The messy part, that’s always the hard bit, and it’s not too flashy or kind, when it’s the messy bit. I think before beauty, anyway, the mess comes to me because you have to sit in depression, grief, grief, loss – if you talk, and I’m sure you’re alive musicians who couldn’t go out and play and whose lives are in the theater. Was on stage, for them it was a different reality for us.
I tried to embarrass myself from it. That didn’t work. That’s why the music said, “You have to write. Start from your knees. Write about it. “By writing about it, it will change and then you have to write about something else and another song will come and hold your hand. It was very humble because the Cornish coast, yes, it is beautiful, but it is fierce, ancient and strong, as if it were a creature.
You use the word ancient, and I think there’s a lot in the music here. Has an innate history. Do you agree
I hope so because I have begun to revisit Cornish mythology, not just Cornish, but the whole area. I think it had a big impact because it was the longest that I hadn’t been to the United States in my entire life. It is the longest lasting place in my life.
Once I looked at my navel, I removed my head and realized, “Okay, what’s around you?” A collection of letters has been sent to me through someone who came to the show after hearing other people’s stories. I have received letters from all over the world about what people are going through. They just felt like maybe I should share it. Usually, when I am on tour, people bring me their letters and they share their experiences with me. That’s how music became collaborators and shows became collaborators.
As I immersed myself in the wrath of the land with Cornwall and Cornish mythology, and realizing its power and essence, humbled by it again, “Okay, how can I get to it? I really have to ask the land’s permission to show its privacy. “I got stories from people all over the world, and these stories, Liza, what’s important, for the most part, people had to deal with something. Each of the 100 characters, I don’t know, was challenged. Maybe two were going,” “I’m going to win. Can it last forever?”
Most of them were … someone worked in the front row, now trying to cope with exams, and trying to help people and on their daily basis in their hazmat suits got miserable, got cursed. It was just facing people on board.
It was such a transformative time for you.
That’s right. It was, “Well, if you want to change your life, just change it, you have to start from the inside.” It’s very clich, I know, and we know.
You talk about nature and the power of nature and immerse yourself in nature. I think what you are talking about is the healing power of nature, but also the healing power of connection. I’m curious about the title of the album Ocean to oceanYou mean
That we all face some serious challenges. Yes, the epidemic and what it did, some people would tell me their marriage broke up, or their partnership broke up because the pressure cooker was too high. These were the terms some people used. So that there might be love, but they just realized that the thing that held them together, that string of the instrument was broken. In some cases, it was simply irreplaceable. Whatever people have done, I think, in some ways, it was quite traumatic and we’re still processing it because we couldn’t process it. Usually, when you go on it with someone or you disagree, I just want to go to the states on a plane.
Or people would just jump in their cars and leave. You couldn’t do that here. If you understand, Scotland will not let you. Police were preventing people from entering Cornwall [laughs] At a certain time. If you understand, they needed them to deal with the health crisis and the exploding variant. When you talk about connectivity, yes, I think people understood that we are all experiencing this thing in different ways. The challenge for each person, I think, was unique.
That was interesting to me. With Ocean to oceanOf course, here are two things. Like I said, I had the cards … no Trapped, But he would rub his hands together and say, “You see it today.” He would bring me documentaries, things that I didn’t understand happening, I didn’t understand what was happening at sea level. It is [Seaspiracy] My eyes opened in such a way that — I must say — it forced me to flee to the piano and start writing “from sea to ocean.”,The song itself
You talked about nature, andPower, most people think about what you think YouAs the power of nature?
I tap into it … and I hope I tap on it when I play live and when I record. I have to give that back. As a wife, mother, friend, you are a friend, as a human woman, I have to give it back once I have worked with it. I gave it back and thanked them because there is no confusion, I am not doing it on my own. I do not. I’m co-creating with them and I’m very happy that they will be present, but they took a long time to show up this time. [Laughs] I think they wanted me to sit down with the tragedy that was happening, they wanted me to feel it, they wanted me to empathize with different people’s situations and stories.
At this point, Oliver was listening to songs I had never heard before. He is studying jazz at Guildhall in London. He was playing songs every night that I had never heard before. Do I think it has helped to impress me? Absolutely.
It was really great, and I didn’t have it. Usually, when someone comes down for a couple of weeks, there’s no time to spend the night around your table, eating dinner, that’s Oliver’s tracks we told them. He plays them and it opens me up. When you talk about balls, they are all kinds of energy around us, and each carries their own creative energy. I was really able to learn from the documentary from Tash and from Oliver’s track. They were 20 and 21 at the time.
Which is your favorite song on the album?
Oh, it’s really hard because they get angry at me when I choose. They are listening. I would say my niece was also a big inspiration because she was in New York. Hearing what he was going through and I couldn’t really get to him, Cornwall jumped on a plane before he was still in lockdown, he came to the window first and then was able to get back to New York near Christmas time
I was very inspired by her story and what she was working on in the late 20’s when you were supposed to be in that place in your life when all possibilities would be open for you. I understood her grief and she inspired “Additions of Light Divided” and “Birthday Baby”.
What inspired “talking to the tree”?
My mother, really, I hid her ashes in a treehouse in Florida.
It’s “talking to the tree”. Being able to come out and talk to the trees of Cornwall thinking that they are the network, the global web that lives under the trees. A Canadian, brilliant woman has a book about it researching how trees interact with each other [Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forestby Suzanne Simard].
For From ocean to ocean,The music will leave Cornwall to go to Matt Chamberlain in LA and then return from it. He’s eight hours behind, of course, on time, and then we’ll get it, and then record it and send it to John Evans in Boston. He would send it back, and then we would do more. And they’ll definitely go back to the Valley of California, of course digitally, and then back to Martian Engineering, which is a studio in Cornwall, and then we’ll finish it. The tracks were going from ocean to ocean.
It was your underground network, like trees.