Eels' Mark Oliver Everett: It's important to have impending disaster be a possibility

Categories: Interview, Q&A

You're now ten studio albums deep into your Eels career. Did you ever think you'd still be making records 20 years later?

It's all so amazing to me. I'm just so fortunate. When I was a kid, I didn't think I was going to live past 18 for some reason. I didn't have any plans for the future, I didn't have any hopes. And the only thing I had any interest in was making music, but I never thought I realistically would be able to do it as my life. That I got to do it [make a record] once was a miracle, and the fact that I've been doing it for this long now is constantly amazing to me.

Do you allow yourself the luxury of looking back on your work, or are your sights always set on the future -- on what you're doing next?

I'm always aware of the past, and the arc that I'm trying to build from year to year and album to album. But I'm always very deep into the future and you don't get a lot of time to go into the past. The only time I dip into the past is if I need to learn how to play an old song that I want to play in concert. And even then, I try and treat the song as if I just wrote it today, and I'm going to play it in the style that I want to play it in today as opposed to years ago.

There are some ambitious arrangements on the new album. How have they been transferring live on tour--are you happy with the results so far?

I couldn't be more happy with the results. I mean, we've only done four or five shows so far, but they've all been fantastic experiences. It seems hard to think that we could end up having more fun than we had on our last tour, but that appears to be the case.

Awesome. I can't wait to witness that on Friday night at First Avenue. I'm really looking forward to that show.

We always look forward to playing at First Avenue. In fact, we have a new live double-CD that is only available at our shows, and both discs on it were recorded at our last two stops at First Avenue. It's called Tremendous Dynamite 2010-2011.

How therapeutic was it for you to write your book and get involved in the documentary about your father? Was that a way for your to clear your creative cobwebs a little bit?

Yeah, totally. It was extremely beneficial for me, personally. I recommend it for everyone.

How different was the creative process for you going into each of those projects?

Writing a book was probably the hardest project that I've ever worked on. That was really difficult, but that was really rewarding once it was over. And doing the documentary, really it was the BBC that made it originally -- it was their doing and they just called me up and asked me to be part of it, so it wasn't as hard for me. But I was a little bit worried about going on this trip across America and meeting people who know my father, who was pretty much a mystery to me. I just had to be brave enough to go for it, and it turned out to be a really great experience.

Did pouring yourself into those projects free you up creatively when you eventually returned to writing songs?

Yeah, anytime I take a break from music I come crawling back with my tail between my legs begging music to take me back.

Is there anything about the new record that I didn't touch on that you want to be sure to mention?

Just that it's an album for the whole family, and everybody should have their own personal copy so that no one is fighting over it.

Safe travels from Seattle, E. We're all looking forward to seeing you Friday night at First Avenue.

Thanks. I can't wait to get there.

Eels perform tonight at First Avenue with Nicole Atkins. 18+, 8 p.m. Click here.


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