1/10/2000 Folha de Sao Paulo Newspaper
Blood flower opens up The Cure´s wounds In an interview, the singer Robert Smith talks about his 40´s, “Bloodflowers” and Edvard Munch
Robert Smith - singer, songwriter and lyricist of The Cure - is a part of a 80´s icons group that, together with Madonna and Boy George managed to survive the 90´s not only by the power of his songs, but by the impact of his outfit.
With the hair carefully shevelled as always and the indefectible red lipstick at hand, Smith still rejects the goth and dark labels.
“Bloodflowers”, the new album of the band, with nine tracks, will be in stores at the end of february. Right after that the band goes on tour that maybe will bring them for the third time to Brazil, until august this year.
Smith - now a respectful 40 year old man that likes opera and likes to watch the stars thru a telescope in his garden - prepares a solo project, involving music and movies, that will be released via Internet in the near future.
In a good mood and charismatic, the singer welcomed the Folha to an interview of over an hour, in a hotel near London.
FOLHA - During the “Bloodflowers” sessions, you said that this would be the last The Cure album. Is it true?
RS - While we were recording we had this feeling. Historically, The Cure has never planned more than 2 albums at once. I would like very much to record another album, but i promised myself that when i was 40, in the year 2000, i would do something different. A work that wasn't The Cure After this year´s tour, that should end in July or August, i´ll release a solo work. But this doesnt mean that The Cure will end. I want to use the Internet as an independent artist. There´s also the fact that i hate being treated as a child by the big music companies.
FOLHA - The impression one gets when listening to “Bloodflowers” is that the band is sounding again like on its best moments (albums like “Pornography” and “Desintegration”). That was on purpose?
RS - I agree that BF is a typical Cure album. I´m thinking about how to move this “live” to the stage and i cant wait this time to be on tour.
FOLHA - What have you been listening to lately?
RS - Mogwai. It wasnt the main inspiration, but in a certain way Mogwai stimulated me to make BF. I liked Gomez’s first record, but the second one wasnt that good. I´m curious to listen to the new records of Smashing Pumpkins and Placebo. The most amazing thing is that i´ve been listening a lot of classical music, mostly opera, which is a sure sign that i´m getting old (laughs). My father liked to listen to opera and i thought it was boring. Now it´s my turn...
FOLHA - How is your composing process?
RS - It´s not only a mental process, it just happens. But to write the lyrics requires another kind of effort. It´s much more of a brain process. That´s why the melody always comes first and later i try to structure what that sound makes me feel and i try to translate it to the lyrics.
FOLHA - Where did the album´s title come from?
RS - I read a book of letters of the painter Edvard Munch. He said that he was sure that he had done a good artwork when he felt that a blood flower popped out from his heart. I thought this image was very romantic. As a coincidence, about the same time, i was reading a poetry book about World War I, and one of the poems described how a wound in one of the soldiers, hit by a bullet, opened a blood flower in his body. I liked this analogy, between pain and art - these two images.
FOLHA - How important is the band visualy? Does it bother you to be classified as “dark” and “goth”?
RS - I keep my hair big because of my wife´s requests - she likes it this way - , and i wear black because i dont feel comfortable with other colours. The Cure isnt goth or dark. The goths themselves never accepted The Cure as a part of their activity. I suppose i can say i've played in a goth band (he is referring to Siouxsie and the Banshees), but it wasnt The Cure.
FOLHA - What do you think about having influenced Neil Gaiman in the creation of the comics character Sandman?
RS - I was very proud to know that he was inspired by me. In Japan there is a comics strip where i am one of the characters and i always appear with a drink in one hand and a bottle of milk in the other. This because, during these days i used to drink very much, i used to compensate the alcohol comsumption with milk, to avoid getting dehidrated. The comic strip remains for 15 years. A lot of japanese think that i have a farm with cows and sometimes they ask me how are my cows going (laughs). I´m like this and i insist on going against fashion. I hate this brands cult. I hate fashion. As a personal rule, i buy all my clothes in supermarkets or in catalogues.
FOLHA - How was it to work for the soundtrack of X-Files?
RS - I always was a great fan of the tv series. It was a good idea, because they tried to get musicians that were also fans. The final result wasnt as good as i was expecting.
FOLHA - Do you plan to work more with movies from now on?
RS - I was invited to make the soundtrack for the new Tim Burton movie (“Sleepy Hollow”), but they were postponing it so much that i got involved with BF and let it aside. Lately i´ve been working on my own movie. I dunno if i´ll be able to do it. An alternative would be to release a CD with a booklet with the story of the movie. The sound will be very different from my work with The Cure.
FOLHA - Talk a bit about your radio, CureFM.
RS - At Cure FM, each member of the band had an hour to play whatever he wanted and to talk anything that came to mind. It was an excuse to gather everybody and get drunk... we made about five broadcasts. It´s funny, although i´m afraid of not being a good DJ, because when i listen to music i like to drink and it doesnt help much in the mixings.
FOLHA - You´re always a target for rumours and speculations by the english press. They´ve already forgot you?
RS - I´m not being a target as before, but there are still some rumours around about me. The most popular of them is that i´m homossexual. But the worst is that i´m dead, my mother always get upset. Usually these rumours start near my birthday, and once a tabloid even said i had commited suicide on its headline.
FOLHA - How is a typical day of yours when you´re not on tour or recording?
RS - I like to read, go to the movies, walk at the beach. At night i like to spend some hours watching the stars with my telescope. I can spend hours. It makes me understand how little we are.