BY Matthew Breen
November 10 2009 5:30 PM ET
During her summer tour for her last album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, firebrand musician Tori Amos spoke (at that time off the record) about her upcoming seasonal album, which comes out today. This is part 1 of the interview. Part 2, in which we discuss sin, touring, and gay marriage, will follow next week.
Tori Amos: Some people do not understand the idea of a double album. I’ve been making double albums for a while now because that is just the form that I’m interested in and challenged by. That’s just a structure that I enjoy and I’m impassioned by. People aren’t buying albums, never mind double albums, for the most part. However, I cannot stop creating a certain form. If you’re a novelist and you write big novels or you’re a visual artist and you do big installations, then to start just giving out the postcard of the picture and if it’s not what you do, then that’s not going to give you your orgasm. You need to come in, take the sonic mescaline, as I call it. It will take you almost anywhere. It will take you almost two hours; but hopefully, you will run the emotional gamut, hopefully have a little good feeling, a little shimmer, a little cry, a little oomph, gets the mojo in your body going, feel some strength, feel some humility -- all of those things. That’s what happens to me when I go to a good art installation, yet I know a lot of people in the industry aren’t encouraging that because people want to buy a tune. But I can’t change my art form.
Somebody’s got to make double albums. I know journalists would rather I don’t because some of them are so lazy that it takes them more time to listen, and that’s just the truth. So they need to do some blow, shut up, and encourage people to make sonic novels.
Much has been made about your living in England -- or do you?
We have a mechanizing company. They run all aspects of the Tori World. I record in England. That’s the only thing that happens there. The little empire is not run out of there. It’s run here in America, so I commute a lot. But I record from there because [my husband] Mark [Hawley] has been there since ’94, when we met. As I developed as a producer, Peter Gabriel said to me, “Look, you know, you have the engineers. If you’re going to be more than a singer-songwriter,” which in not so many words, he said, "if you’re going to have a 20-year career, a 30-year career, you’ve got to expand. You have engineers -- get one of them to build a recording studio." But my business life is not in Britain. It’s complicated, because Mark wanted emphatically to enroll [our daughter] Tash into a British school, against the violence and guns... So that was kind of the compromise. I think the decision is right. It’s best for her. So he built the studio; he owns it. I don’t own anything in Britain, but I record there, and I, like any other artist, book [studio time] and pay to record when I’m ready. There’s a residence in the back. You know, a gym, steam/sauna/spa. I don’t leave when I’m there. I can stay there for weeks on end and never leave. It’s a cocoon lifestyle. And it takes me a long time to record records anyway.