Britta Meyer, Sharon Adler
Original source of the interview: aviva-berlin.de
She plays the piano like an earthquake, sings about the antichrist in her kitchen and writes the most cryptically poetic lyrics: Singer/Songwriter Tori Amos met with AVIVA during her short visit to Berlin, where she performed at the Tempodrom and talked about her Irish origins, the triple goddess, shapeshifters, a woman`s journey to self reflection and office bullying in the 21st century.
AVIVA-Berlin: In your new album "Night of Hunters", you explore the myths of ancient Ireland. You used Celtic choirs in your former album, "The Beekeeper". What are your connections to Celtic mythology?
Tori Amos: I started reading about it when I was twelve years old. I was drawn to it without explanation. Maybe it was to escape. I was in a religious household, and there were so many biblical stories that we talked about and you did not really have a choice. It`s not like you were tied up and beaten, but you could not escape christianity or even the Old Testament stories. So that`s what I was surrounded by. Mythology was something that would be allowed in the house, because it was educational. Libriaries, they would have a section in mythology and I would be able to check out books and so I had books all the time. I was obsessed with them. Until this day I have a really good library in Florida. So, that was the beginning, and when I grew and traveled, I would be exposed to more books. Once, when I was in my early twenties, I went to Los Angeles, there were books I had never even be exposed to. I began buying and collecting them, everything about mythology, anything I could get my hands on, even archaelogical texts about things they were discovering about the culture.
Then my mother had been doing work on the family tree because she knew of her Native American heritage, she had tracked down our Eastern Cherokee Nation heritage. My sister went to medical school on a scholarship because of her Native American heritage. My mother then decided to check out my father`s tree and met somebody at a family gathering who had done the whole line on my father`s side. She then realised that there was an Irishman called John Craig, who had left Ireland around 1730. He came to America and he fought in the revolutionary war. He had been in County Cork. The house that the story of my new album takes place in, and which I bought in 1995 is from 1735. I always had a connection with this Irish ancestor which had left County Cork around the time when the house was built and in my mind I felt like I was drawn to go back there and I did.
AVIVA-Berlin: You produced "Night of Hunters" with a new label and with a complete new set of musicians. What made you change your former combination of co-musicians?
Tori Amos: When the musicologist Dr. Alexander Buhr approached me, it`s such a different project than anything I have ever done, you really had to think about it, with the engeneering team, with my husband Mark Hawley. Mark and I sat down with Alex and talked about it from the theoretical point of view, how it would work. When you pursue a project, if you think about it in your mind, it`s a clean slate, everything is open to you, but then you`ll have to start making really rational decisions that make sense creatively. Mark really insisted that it had to be an accoustic record. We did not want a rock record, progressive, classical/rock fusion. Deutsche Grammophon did not want that either, so we were on the same page about what it could not be. Then we started focusing, because there were ideas, put up by a think tank, that we could do some really strange effects and this kind of thing and Mark was vehemently against that, he said: "It would be much more modern, if we don`t bring any electronic instruments into this." We were bringing an amazing gear and it was recorded with the most modern equipment that we have, we had access to great technology, but we were not going to use any digital gags.