I've not really spent much time in proper studios. The room itself where you're recording, and how you live while you're there is what appeals to me.
Well, there's just some universal truths in a way that I've just observed to be true. You read Voltaire. You read modern literature. Anywhere you go, there's these observations about romantic love and what it does people, and these rotten feelings that rarely are people meaning to do that to each other.
If you keep bashing your head against the same wall, at some point you're going to fall over and be still for awhile.
As I get older, the present and the past shift and become the past and the future… A lot of it is a new awareness of time and life and the wheel of fortune crushing you and lifting you and crushing you and lifting you.
I made the first Feist album in '98. So at that point, it was my nickname. It was as far as with my circle of friends, and just felt more accurate than two names.
I guess I found it useful to realise that everything is true at once, you know? You can pull back and say, 'Everything will be fine,' but you can also be in a situation and say, 'Not everything is going to be fine.'
And of course, pop music is all about memorability and simplicity and positive messages and a little dash of joy.
When I wrote 'Mushaboom', I was living in the second verse, but I suddenly found myself in the first.
Music is pretty intimate stuff and I can only work with very few people: Gonzalez being one, Mocky being another and, on a completely different level, Broken Social Scene. With Broken Social Scene it's not one-on-one, it's a one-on-12. It's very healthy, very comfortable, like a big pot luck supper among old friends.
I get really scared about how the Internet is shifting and changing everyone's minds, and the way we see ourselves and interact online. Everything is so diluted now.
There's a crazy amount of goodwill, and I don't know where it came from, and I don't understand, but the more I pay attention to it, the more it's going to sting when it flips, so I think I'm almost subconsciously cultivating this naivety to it all.
I remember doing my mosaics or being in my little hiding place behind the couch snooping. I'd get bored sometimes, of course, but I think that's good for a kid, because it forces you to be creative.
On the videos for '1234' and 'My Moon My Man' I wanted to make the songs visible. And, really, what way can you make sound visible other than good old naive dancing? I was working with a choreographer, but I'm not a dancer. Any notion of elegance is impossible with me.
You never know what's going to play into what's worthy of getting encapsulated into a song.
Something that I think I figured out slowly was if you're playing a show and there's a chatter or there is, you know, a lot of noise – people talking or something – I was never the one whose instinct was to try to be louder than them.
After 'Sesame Street,' it's a hyper-familiar world to me and I have this childlike ability to ignore the fact that I'm talking to scraps of cloth. Every country I go to, I see posters promoting the film in different languages. 'Los Muppets' – I love that!
You're an enormous sponge and everything goes in there and you squeeze it out in songs, I guess. And if you're a painter, you squeeze them out on to a canvas.
There's nothing better than not knowing what's going to happen until you put the pieces together.
There's no mystery any more. So my instinct is to show very little, because there's much too much information about everyone, everywhere right now. Reality TV is an example of that.
Commercialism isn't challenging creatively; it's only challenging in a stamina way.
The idea of having one ensemble do everything is what was on 'Sea Lion' and that's what I tried to make happen for 'Metals,' which is having five people in the room and all of us contributing equally to every arrangement and every song.
When I first played '1234' it was on stage in San Francisco at some kind of, like, sticky-floored club. And it felt like a punk song. I mean it's ridiculous to say that now, but it had that kind of, like, piercing straight melody. And then this fist-pumping ending, you know that pa-dap-pada.
When I did '1,2,3,4' on 'Sesame Street' they'd rewritten the song and made it about counting. At first, I balked. I was like, 'Counting to four? That's where we're going with this?' Then they sent me appearances by other people like James Blunt doing 'You're Beautiful' as 'My Triangle.'
I was a bar-back, which is the person who cleans the bathrooms at the end of the night in the bar, and a cook. I had kind of given up. I was into backing other people up. Music was something I just did on the side and I don't think I had the energy to pimp myself out, like call people up and ask them to book me to play.
I didn't really get London until I read Dickens. Then I was charmed to death by it.
Since I was 19, I've always gone where there was a reason to be. Maybe I'll be lucky and there'll be a reason to go somewhere tropical for a while.
Any kind of anthemic song, for the most part, they're on the positive side of things. It's not hard to identify when a melody is just one degree too complicated or one degree too simple and where that line of pop memorability lies.
Musically, I didn't relate to Berlin. There seemed to be a lot of machine music made there – I don't think I saw a stringed instrument in two years.
When I was in Beck's world, I felt like the little sister. I'm in the big brother's room with all his friends. You just hang out and keep your mouth shut so they don't realize you're there and kick you out. I like being in situations where I can be an underdog, where I can be in the corner and observe and soak it in.
When you say something or sing something enough times, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's almost like casting spells. I don't mean necessarily in the flighty, 'I'm going to go buy a cloak with a hood now' way.
There's real potency in metal. Metal fans love metal as if it's a nation they would fight for. It's not diluted by pop culture.
I'm a Canadian. Outside Canada I carry the flag. Canadian nationalism isn't as insidious as American nationalism, though. It's good natured. It's all about maple syrup, not war.
The group-effort sound in recording of 'Sea Lion' is like, you really hear all the people in the room and hear them interlocking. There's a real freight-train energy of all these people at the same time playing.
'Gatekeeper' was sort of my first attempt to put a little bit of a frame and boundaries around songwriting, and try to figure out a way to approach it that had a sort of end result in mind. I haven't written many like that.
There have been times I've planted stuff in songs where four years later I'll be singing it from a subconscious, kind of chameleon little lizard mind… and at a certain moment, all of a sudden, I'll hear a line from a different vantage point and it'll change its meaning. It's something I wrote but it changed because I did.
I once looked over the shoulder of a friend on Facebook and it looked like hieroglyphs to me. There's merit online, of course, but social media gets super freaky. Imagine if three generations from now, people online have forgotten what date or day of the week it is.
I need therapy after writing. It's like leaking blood from a stone. It's brutally difficult but worth it.
Surreal can be exciting and good, and it can be like living inside an alien landscape, and it can be completely interesting, or you can be alienated from your own life – inside your own life, it doesn't feel familiar any more.
'Metals' has partly been about me regaining my self respect and I feel like I'm growing the muscles I want to grow again.
I'd been touring for so long, seven years. For a year and a half I'd just been curious about what it was like not to tour. It's like if you were to lift a 100-pound barbell with your right arm for seven years, eventually you'd get really curious about what your left arm was capable of.
So, I'm on 'Sesame Street,' walking around with all these monsters, Elmo and his buddies, a whole bunch of chickens, a whole bunch of penguins and a number four dancing about. It was just pure joy, simple, ridiculous fun, stupid joy. There's no irony. 'Sesame Street' is just a crazy great place to be.
For me, music is in the choice of what not to play as much as in what you've chosen to play.