Warren Ellis has said that he thought Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds‘ ‘Ghosteen’ would mark “the end” of his long-term creative partnership with Cave.
Co-produced by Cave and Ellis, the Bad Seeds’ 2019 studio effort was described by NME as “the most devastatingly accurate accounts of grief that you’ll ever listen to” in a glowing five-star review.
During a new interview with Stereogum, Ellis explained that “‘Ghosteen’ felt like such a bold exercise, this commitment to something”, adding: “I got spooked by it and I thought it was the end of our [his and Cave’s] collaboration.”
He continued: “I’d always thought in my head, ‘One day we’ll do something really great’. I can get very superstitious about stuff and I run on it. When we made that record, I just deep down thought to myself, ‘I don’t think I could ever be involved in anything this great again’.
“I always thought one day my aim is to make something great, and it felt like that happened. It was actually some relief to go in the studio and make ‘Blonde’, the soundtrack for Andrew Dominik’s film.”
Ellis went on to say that the process of making this year’s ‘Carnage’ also provided “some relief”, explaining: “I realised it is about turning up and working and seeing what happens.”
The musician and composer said he “can’t imagine making another record like ‘Ghosteen’”, adding: “It’s very easy to get nervous in the studio and you go towards the things that scare you, the things you don’t recognise. That’s one thing. But the other thing is following them through to the end and making some bold decisions.”
Ellis continued: “I like the fact that ‘Ghosteen’ totally eschewed anything people might’ve thought the band might’ve been about.”
Reflecting on the “extraordinary experience” of making the record, Ellis said: “In all honesty, I did think maybe this is the end, maybe Nick and I won’t do anything after that. We don’t just get in there. We have to feel like it’s going somewhere. I always know the day it’s not working is the day we’ll stop.”
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis embarked on a run of UK headline performances this September and October in support of ‘Carnage’, their latest collaborative album. Earlier this week, they announced their first North American tour as a duo.
In a five-star review of the pair’s concert in Croydon, NME said: “Cave and Ellis [are] in their absolute purest and classiest form; armed with just the songs, the love, and a whole lot of feeling.”
Last month Nick Cave described his recent UK tour with Warren Ellis as “pure happiness, more than I have experienced in a very long time”.