Fiona Apple maintains a fairly infrequent record release schedule, dropping a new LP every six or seven years, and giving interviews with equal rarity. So when the singer-songwriter randomly reaches out for a chat and talks about a forthcoming album, it’s something of an occasion.
Vulture lucked into the story after Apple hit up writer Rachel Handler on Twitter. Handler had pointed out a strange incident where a Variety video interview with Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria had been re-dubbed (via a “glitch” if you believe Variety). The clip made it seem like Apple was donating her royalties from “Criminal”, which was used in the film, back to the movie instead of to a refugee aid organization. Apple apparently appreciated the journalistic watchdogging, and sent Handler an email “from a nondescript Hotmail address” asking if she wanted to talk.
Most interesting of all the topics they covered was Apple’s follow-up effort to 2012’s phenomenal The Idler Wheel…. She noted she was supposed to be done “a million years ago,” but hopes to have a new record ready for early 2020 — though she cautiously added, “I think.” She also said the project is “just me and the band,” adding, “The more control you have over something, the more it’s your baby, the more you care about it, the more it feels like an accomplishment. The last record and this record feel more like mine than the other records.”
Part of the delay is due to her tendency to “go off and I take too long making stuff,” which then forces her band to go find other work in the downtime. “When it’s just me recording myself, it’s different, but with the band stuff, you have to wait for everybody to be in town and be able to do it,” she explained. “So that slows things down a bit. And I tend to forget about working after a while. And then be like, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Let’s play, let’s play.'”
Apple also expressed trepidation about leaving her reclusive lifestyle for the media world once the new album is released. She joked that the music industry is no longer just the “bullshit” she talked about in her infamous VMAs acceptance speech, but it’s “the bull who ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and now it’s that bullshit.” She continued,
“I worry a lot about what it’s gonna be like when I actually have to put out an album and go out there. I think I’m getting close to finishing. While I’m doing it, I have to put the rest of it out of my mind. It’s just fun. It’s just me making stuff, on my own time, and then not making stuff for years, and then starting to make stuff. It’s just around this time when things are starting to shape up with the album and everything is getting toward the finish line — that’s when I start to get a little concerned for myself. I’ll be okay, I just know that it’s not going to be all enjoyable. Every time I go out on a photo shoot, I think, ‘This is different from seven years ago. I don’t feel like this anymore.'”
Of course, they also touched on Hustlers and the use of “Criminal” in a Jennifer Lopez pole dancing scene. As for why Variety might have “glitched” that interview, Apple posited, “I can only guess they don’t want to alienate any viewers, any ticket buyers, who may be more on the other side of things [politically]. The only reason I can think of is money.”
She went on to say she hasn’t actually seen the movie yet (“If I were a person who actually left my house, I’d go”), and in fact had forgotten she’d okayed the use of her song. “Basically, every single time any college dancer or So You Think You Can Dance [contestant] asks, I’ll give them the rights,” Apple said. “‘Criminal’ has always been what people ask for the most, so it’s always been my little help-out-people song.”
Elsewhere, she touched upon denying Panic! At the Disco rights to sample one of her songs, and revealed what happened to her missing Grammy Award. Apparently, the statue bounced around a few places before ending up at an unidentified school. Apple explained,
“For the longest time it was at somebody’s house and they wouldn’t give it back to me, and I said I was going to give it to my grandmother, but I was really going to donate it to a school so they could auction it off. But it turns out you can’t auction it off. So now it’s in this office in this school, and I haven’t gotten around to writing them to get it back.”
There are plenty of other interesting tidbits, including Apple’s thoughts on Neil Portnow stepping down as president of the Recording Academy, her status as “godmother of 2019,” and her relationship with her fans. Read the full thing at Vulture.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard from Apple this year. Back in January, she performed at the Chris Cornell tribute concert in Los Angeles. On the new music front, she teamed with King Princess for a new take on “I Know”, covered Beach Boys’ “In My Room” for the Echo in the Canyon soundtrack, and will appear on Jeff Goldblum’s new jazz album.