Tori Amos In Conversation: Interview CD

Updated November 28, 1997

There is a new Interview CD currently for sale called Tori Amos In Conversation. The CD was released in August 1997 from BAKTABAK (CBAK4108) records in England. CDNOW has it, as does Music Boulevard, and others places that sell music. I have several comments on this CD sent to me by various Ears With Feet, as well as a partial transcript. I am not sure how recent the interview is yet. I have 2 reports below that says it seems to be from the Little Earthquakes or pre-Under The Pink time-period, but I also have 2 other people who have written and seem to feel that it is a very recent, post-Boys For Pele interview.

Toriphile Ekkehard Morgenstern from Germany has sent me a partial transcript and some commentary on this CD:

1. This is my commentary:

"She's got a lot of insight into our world, and, being an artist, she is also a speaker. Read what she has to say about the unconscious, and the inner self, and the responsibility of her speaker role. The insight that she gives is not related to one philosophy, it's universal. There's a truth out there that people can see when they focus on it. The change we need is to break up the static structures of the past.

Things in square brackets are supplied by me, and the ellipsis "(...)" keeps the parts together that relate to the topic. I underlined and punctuated the words as I thought was appropriate. I hope I didn't put something out of context or altered its meaning."

2. The transcript

[unconscious conversation with the audience] (...)
just because they're not "talking" it's not a one-sided conversation, (...) they're mirrors, we're both side for each other, (...) each night the songs have a different slant of them because of what's going on in that room, so if you don't like it that night -- part of it, because you're part of it! (...)

[unconscious activity]
(...) we're not encouraged to really look at what we're feeling. when we're violent, when we're feeling like cowards, when we're feeling really hurt, when we're feeling good, and yet everybody wants us to doubt that (...) you gotta wonder when things are going good how come you get all this negativity thrown in? you _have_ to question that, this is not an accident. yet those people around you that are giving the negativity, they're not _conscious_ about it -- that is what I'm trying to say, what I'm learning now and I believe with every cell, most behaviour is not conscious. (...)

[the world inside]
we have to keep moving, there are new situations that come up all the time, just to think that we've mastered it all, because we've looked at ourselves for two years, whoever you are, just that whole concept of "I got all the answers now" (...) -- boy, we've only touched the tip of the iceberg here, there is a vast world _inside_, not outside, (...) but there's the inner world which is a reflection of the outer world, and when you think of all the _billions_ of worlds that are going on out there -- we are _connected_ with that, we're not encouraged to think of our connection why we are on this planet. is our life just functional, is that all that is? getting up, going to work, having kids, to just populate the planet? I mean there have to be _reasons_ we do things, (...) that is only one part, the [inner] child, but it is something that must be dealt with. that's conscious thinking! you also have to deal with the comedian, you also have to deal with the mother within, the father within, the one that feels that I have to be the provider, the one that feels that I fail, the one that feels (...) all these things that I've taken on, the violent one, the coward, the lusting one that is in rebellion to the sexually repressed one, (...) you see we are not taught to be _whole_, because why, I tell you why, we would be _powerful_, and they can't have us being powerful, you see I'm not defining 'they', it's not important who 'they' is, they're nameless and they're faceless, but it's a force, it's an energy force (...)

[speakers and truth]
I'm one of many voices (...) they feel they're speaking the truth, as I feel I'm speaking the truth, it's the truth as I know it, and they're speaking the truth as they know it, there isn't conflict in truth, it's _just_ truth. (...) truth is a very funny thing, because if you're lying to yourself but you're not willing to admit it, well, that's your truth in that moment, although it's distorted. because there _is_ divine truth, there is a place that you get to yourself where the masks can be taken off, but I can justify anything I want if I want to, can I? when (...) gonna get to the point where I don't need to justify, when I can say "this is how I feel", no excuses, no defenses, I don't care if _you_ don't agree with me, (...) you can not put your faith in the outside (...)

[inside and outside]
you can not just rely on the outside (...) you just can not _rely_ on the outside, what I do rely on is the nature forces, I rely on energy, when we talk about the outside, things that don't need anything from you, maybe that's my (...) mother's father, he was native American from the Cherokee nation, and he taught me about going within, and he taught me about "you talk to a tree, and you never get wrong advice" (...) I've talked to many a tree, that given me more wisdom than a human being. but see, we're not taught this. I think it's the biggest manipulation that we have been _cut_ _off_ from these sources, because we find them ridiculous. what an _incredible_ mind control. you _must_ give credit to this kind of thought. you see, we stop ourselves because we find something ridiculous, nobody stopping us, you see. that's what's so perfect, we're doing it ourselves, but that's because we are notch, we have to shake ourselves out of our own slumber, nobody's gonna shake us -- you know you have your writers, and you have your poets, and you have your scientists and you have people that try and shake you, but only I can shake me and only you can shake you, you have to go "what is my world about?" I don't care where you live, there is an inner world (...)

questions are fantastic, you should never have one or two influences, keep your mind open, keep it _diverse_ (...)

[the artist's responsibility]
I'm excited about the possibilities, I'm excited that there's a lot to explore out there, it's jumping from new cliffs all the time and to think that there isn't a lot to explore out there, that's propaganda to keep us confined, I think we as the musicians, the painters, the writers, (...) we're the voices, we're the underneath, it's the searching that makes people question the functional side of their life, do you know how hard it is for musicians (...), do you know how hard it is for painters, it's much easier for anybody else, but for the artists, it's very hard for us, so why do you think, there's a reason for this, there's a reason for everything. there always is, everything can be somehow explained, I believe that if the artists are separated from each other, if we can't give inspiration to each other, then we just keep chasing our tails. we have a responsibility that we've forgotten, you see? we're supposed to be the mirrors of what's going around us, it's not just our little life, it's all that's happening around, we're just like pitchers where the water comes in and out, and this is our role, it's no better than the person that's got a different job, it's just a different _job_, but we're supposed to be the voice of the conscience, and we have forgotten to listen to our own conscience, because we don't trust it. we've been, as the artists in the commercialized world, whether it's the screen writers for the movies, whether it's the musicians, whether it's the painters, whatever it is, that if it's not sellable, it's not happening. isn't this funny, who decides if it's sellable? most people aren't even exposed to most music, you guys don't even know what's out there, it's not even showed, you can't even find it, it doesn't get played! you're just not exposed to it, if they don't want it to be. and it's a bit more involved than I'm describing, it is involved, because there's so many layers to it, it's like an onion (...) once you start peeling away all these excuses we've made on why we can't write what we wanna write, then maybe we can really be taking our responsibility seriously, because I feel we have a responsibility, I feel everyone does, they're different, but I just wanna concentrate on what's the musicians responsibility, because I believe we have one. and when I say that we're being separated, it's harder than it's ever been for us to go across borders, you know this keeps us from sharing thought with each other, from inspiring each other, because we could be a formidable force, an exciting force, which is to encourage everyone to look at themselves, it's not to encourage you to think like me, I don't want you to think like me, I want you to think like you, and that will inspire me! it's reziprocal -- no gurus. no. this is not what this is about. this is it's time for everybody to claim their own (...) inheritance. inheritance of soul, inheritance of "we all have something that is unique".

Toriphile Dusty Bottoms kindly sent me this description of the interview CD. Dusty is available at and/or

The name of the CD is "Tori Amos: In Conversation" TRT - 32 min

At first she is questioned about ever being lonely as a solo artist, and she starts talking about her personalities and how she and the audience share an intimacy. She is then asked if she is ever emotionally exhausted or exhilirated. She responds again about the crowd, the conversations and mirrors of the performance. She then goes into how people handle their feelings. The interviewer asks her about her impression of commercial success. Tori responds and gives insight about what other people think about her progress. (Personal interpretation - she takes this in view of adding chapters to her musical life). She tangents into the meaning of life and the purpose of humanity, then into the complex nature of the human personality.

Interviewer asks if Tori thinks if she's a voice for the people. She responds accordingly and then speaks about truth and it's meaning. She talks about the press and being truthful. (Personal note - She gives a lot of great advice in this part!). She then starts talking about her grandfather from the Cherokee nation and some of his influences on her growing up.

Interviewer asks about her musical influences and she gives all of her musical (both instrumental and lyrical) influences as well as poetical influences.

Interviewer asks about the writing process, she answers with some of the different ways that it happens. She later discusses the interaction between all artists and artists' purpose / roles / responsibilities.

Talks a little bit about what she might do with the next record, she wanted to experiment with the piano.

Closes talking about Physics....

Grade: B+

Notes: There are background noises, such as other people, police sirens, phones, cars, and the microphone giving backgroud noise by rubbing up against Tori's shirt.

Notes II: Seems that she is shifting into a dialect of some sort (English perhaps) every now and then. Anyone else notice this?

More commentary from Kelly Stitzel:

I was reading about the In Conversation cd and I just wanted to add a couple of things. Number one, I purchased my cd at Borders Books and Music, just to let people know another place they can find it. Number two, I liked the cd. It was most likely an interview done very early after Little Earthquakes and it is the most info about her life I've heard in one interview, which makes me believe that this could have been one of her first interviews. The picture on the cd is very cool.

More thoughts from Beth Winegarner:

I was just reading your tidbit about this CD and I'd have to say it's most definitely pre-Pink. Not only does she say at one point about how "this record" was first successful in England (and that was most true of Earthquakes, as we all know -- Atlantic sent her there to see how the Brits would react), but she also talks about how the next record is "obviously going to be based around the piano," which she would not have said post-Pele. In all recent interviews she's talked about getting away from the piano as the focus. The suggestion that she was going to experiment a bit with the piano sounds fits right in with what happened on Pink.

So, yea, it's an educated guess, but that's where I'd place it. Post-LE, but before she started really writing the music for Pink.

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