Everything We Learned From ‘The New Yorker’s Rare And Revealing Fiona Apple Interview
Apple talks about her new record, her relationships, and one hellish night at Quentin Tarantino's private cinema.
Fiona Apple knows how to give a good interview.
The acclaimed musician, best known for her song ‘Criminal’ and for her most recent album, 2012’s The Idler Wheel…, is something of a recluse these days. But when she does emerge in the press, it’s always wonderful. After all, remember when she called Lil Nas X a “cute little guy” and demanded he pay her money?
But even that media highlight pales in comparison to Apple’s latest interview, a wide-ranging chat with the New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum, that gives the lowdown on her new record. It’s called Fetch The Bolt Cutters, it consists of 13 songs, and it’s set to be released… well, who knows, to be honest. Hopefully, given the state of the planet, it’s pretty soon. We need something to look forward to, after all.
The chat isn’t just concerned with Apple’s forthcoming album, mind you. The singer also discusses her relationship with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, her favourite of her own songs, and everything inbetween.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the chat.
The New Album Was Named After A Gillian Anderson TV Series
That distinctive title, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, was cribbed from the Gillian Anderson crime show The Fall. The line comes early in the show, when Anderson’s detective stumbles across a locked door in which a girl has been tortured by a sadistic killer. “Really, what it’s about is not being afraid to speak,” Apple says of the title.
Fetch The Bolt Cutters Is Highly Percussion Focused
The new record is centred around percussion of all sorts, including banging seed pods that Apple baked in her own oven, and the tapping of a box containing her dog’s bones. “It felt more like a sculpture being built than an album being made,” one of Apple’s bandmates says in the profile.
fiona apple was self-isolating before it was even a glimmer in your eye pic.twitter.com/1kPDWUFBa7
— rachel syme (@rachsyme) March 16, 2020
Another musician who worked on the record notes that the songs sound like ‘Hot Knife’, the single that lies in wait at the end of The Idler Wheel and is based almost entirely around Apple’s voice and the banging of a drum.
A Night With Quentin Tarantino Helped Apple Quit Coke
Apple talks about her relationship with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, he of There Will Be Blood and Magnolia fame, throughout the article. The picture of their time together is not very positive — she says that he would often shout at her, and that he once threw a chair across a room. She also notes that an evening spent in the company of Anderson and his friend, the director Quentin Tarantino, got her off coke for good.
“Every addict should just get locked in a private movie theatre with Q.T. and P.T.A. on coke, and they’ll never want to do it again,” Apple says.
Fiona Apple Likes Talking To Journalists
Despite the fact that the press mistreated her in her early years — a regretful trend that the profile itself acknowledges — Apple appears to genuinely enjoy talking to journalists. After she and Nussbaum hung out in person, the singer would continually text the writer, even sending her a series of ‘free-association’ videos of herself talking.
This Fiona Apple profile by Emily Nussbaum is a great gift today or any day, but especially today:https://t.co/nCeR339dP2
— Megan Abbott (@meganeabbott) March 16, 2020
“Near the end of the video, she wondered why she was rambling,” Nussbaum writes. “Then [she] added, ‘Oh—I also ate some pot. I forgot about that. Well, knowing me, I’ll probably send this to you!'”
Everybody Who’s Heard The New Record, Loves It
Nussbaum’s piece is open about the ups and downs of making the record, and there were days during recording and mastering where Apple was frozen by anxiety over how things might turn out.
But the piece ends on an optimistic note, with everyone who has heard the record sharing their ecstatic first thoughts. “Dare I say it was magical?!”, said one of the musicians on the record after first hearing it back.
Oh, and how does Fiona Apple feel about it? So pleased that she got a new tattoo — a pair of bolt cutters, running up her right arm.
Photo Credit: Susie Martinez/Flickr