Modern conversation? risk it all

A row of plastic chairs.

Losing fans is the collateral damage that comes from engaging in music from an artistic perspective, rather than a commercial one. Making music specifically to please fans can be patronising and exploitative. Challenging music, by its very nature, alienates some fans whilst inspiring others, but without that dissonance, there is no conversation, there is no risk, there are no tears and there are no smiles, and nobody is moved and nobody is affected!

from “The Red Hand Files,” Issue #79, by Nick Cave (January 2020)

If you don’t know about and follow Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files, check it out. I learned about it while attending one of his extraordinary “Conversations with Nick Cave” appearances in New Westminster, BC. Nick spoke for three hours, no breaks, taking questions from the audience (mostly about grief), while playing songs at random on the piano from his vast catalog. On The Red Hand Files website you can ask Nick any question you like — he apparently reads them all, and chooses a couple each month to respond to. Frankly, it’s some of the most connected writing about music, issues, and life that I’ve ever read.

Nick Cave performing live in Spain

photo credits
(where not otherwise credited)

“Chairs” / photograph by Nas photo on Shutterstock
“Nick Cave” / photograph by Christian Bertrand on Shutterstock (editorial use only, by permission)