“I became friends with Elliott around 1997/1998 & it was because I was so moved by his music in Good Will Hunting that I had to say hello and thank you at a small club in LA that we were both at (also I grew up in Dallas so we had that in common plus I found out later we were both children of psychiatrist fathers….). We were friends for awhile in LA, before he was on the Oscars show & after that… I was in grad school to become a psychologist so I already had my masters & was “practicing” serving people. I won’t go on and on… But I sincerely thanked Elliott for his songs & he was a genuine and dear friend of mine. He wasn’t perfect (as we know) but he knew people really cared about his music – I remember a few years ago when I could finally look up interviews with him again that I saw one where he said he was only continuing on to write music and produce it because of his fans. Continue reading →
“A year or two ago my mom unearthed a note while we were going through some of her old records. She received it at the Neurolux circa 1997. It was scratched out in barely legible handwriting, had an address in Portland, Oregon and an invitation for letters to be sent to that address. She never wrote him, to my knowledge. Later on, I learned that this is who wrote that note…”
“Amity is a really unguarded song – I made up the lyrics in a couple of minutes and didn’t change them. I like the way it feels, although it’s not an especially deep song at all. It’s, I don’t know… just a big rock song. It’s a pretty simple song. It’s not so much about the words themselves, but more about how the whole thing sounds. Some friends of mine said it sounded like I was trying to get something romantic going with someone, and that’s not what it was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be, “you’re really fun to be with and I really like you a lot because of that, but I am really, really depressed” – but I don’t know if that came across. When I said, “ready to go,” it was supposed to mean tired of living. Sorry to make the song depressing for you now. Amity is a person I know. It was very simple. I was saying, “I really like you and it’s really great to hang out with someone who is happy and easy-going, but I don’t feel like that and I can’t be with you.”
“A friend posted some Elliott Smith today on his FB page and I remembered that his song “Good To Go” is supposedly about Tammy Watson, who was our cover model for the 1994 book of the same name (long out of print!) He was touring with her band Kill Sybil and he had a crush on her.”
“Place Pigalle was both a song and an original working title of Figure 8. Hence the demos that Elliott had worked up in A+R Luke Wood’s home studio were given the name Place Pigalle. And I think the name was inspired by the girl in France he was hanging out with.”
“En avril 2000 paraissait Figure 8, le cinquième album d’Elliott Smith, le dernier publié de son vivant. Un album venimeux, exubérant, contradictoire et ambitieux, difficile d’accès selon certains, le plus accessible pour d’autres, un album dont la lumière ambiguë a pu déconcerter ceux – ils sont nombreux – qui préfèrent ne voir en Elliott que la noirceur cathartique et se sont sentis trahis par la palette de couleurs déployée ici. Album de l’ambivalence : là où certains percevaient un retrait émotionnel, quelques-uns entendaient à l’inverse une confession plus frontale encore qu’auparavant, portée au point d’incandescence, parée de cordes, ourlée de sophistication et constellée d’éclats bien moins domestiqués que dans XO. Album au bord du vide, toujours sur la corde raide, Figure 8 est un vertige, celui du funambule qui hésite entre regarder en arrière ou tomber, entre distance et défi, celui du boxeur au bord du K.O., aussi. Un vertige et un malentendu… cet album-là a été mal compris, mal aimé, c’est presque toujours celui qui sera cité en dernier, certainement le plus difficile à cerner.
Cinquante deux minutes, seize titres, et puis quelques chansons fantômes, vingt-cinq pistes ayant été enregistrées à l’origine pour figurer sur le disque.
Avant d’être publié, Figure 8 a longtemps porté un autre nom : Place Pigalle. Deux titres pour deux chansons enregistrées pour l’album, mais n’y figurant finalement ni l’une ni l’autre. Deux absences, deux négatifs pour un titre, deux énigmes et deux indices pour comprendre que ce qui se joue dans Figure 8 n’est pas étranger à ce jeu sur le visible et le caché. Continue reading →
“He didn’t like himself. He was turning into a person that he would hate (…) I think he sort of lost the ability to fight to be the individual that he wanted to be. And I think he was just like, fuck it, just take me on the bus. He let go of something (…) And so he just would be around people that would make life easier than being the person he really wanted to be.”