Pitchfork-bashing is a popular sport – but so long as they publish pieces like this wonderful interview by Amanda Petrusich with P.J. Harvey, I will consider it a valuable resource. In some ways the most important point Harvey makes is the idea that artists need to work through valleys in order to reach their peaks: I think of very major, long-term artists, and sure enough there are more than a few low points in their careers (hello, Bob and Neil…). But those low points were probably necessary to enable the high points. And as much as I tend to be critical of the role major labels play in music, Harvey is correct in being grateful to Island (sort of a boutique label swallowed by a major) in allowing her to do things her own way. Furthermore: for an artist, this is the best kind of interview – since it very much makes me want to hear Harvey’s new CD. (Thanks to Matthew at Fluxblog for making me aware of this – and he’s absolutely correct that Petrusich’s investment in her questions makes this interview far superior to your run-of-the-mill so-what’s-your-new-album-and-where-are-you-playing one-sheet-spewing hackery.)

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  1. Paula

    But those low points were probably necessary to enable the high points.

    Not sure I follow ya. How do the valleys “enable” the peaks, as distinct from just being part of the process as a whole?

  2. 2fs

    Exactly in the way you say: since they’re part of the process, if they weren’t there, the process would be different. That is, I think it’s necessary sometimes for a musician to work through what in retrospect might seem like bad ideas in order to get to good ones. Working through them – by, say, putting out an hour of ear-shredding layered guitar feedback – has to happen before the musician can go on to do something else.

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