December 2008/January 2009, MusicRadar (UK)
Transcribed by Slobodan MarkoviÄ‡ (pt1), Sabrina Samwald (pt2) and Iva TanackoviÄ‡ (pt3)
You can listen to all three parts of the podcast on MusicRadar.
Joe Bosso: John, how you doing?
John Frusciante: Good, how are you?
Joe Bosso: I’m very good. So, you have a new solo album coming out in January, called The Empyrean…
John Frusciante: Mm, hm.
Joe Bosso:…which is quite an experience, I’ve been listening to it all week, now The Empyrean, if I understand it right, means THE PLACE OF THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, is that correct?
John Frusciante: I understand it means THE HIGHEST POINT IN HEAVEN.
Joe Bosso: OK. Are you particularly religious, why did you come up with this term for this record?
John Frusciante: My religious point of view is something that I can’t really talk about, it goes against my belief system to publicly talk about my own spiritual beliefs. In the case of the record I think I was more using the highest point in heaven as a symbol for the things in life that we’re all reaching for and those things that are sort of out of our ???, but yet there’s some spark inside us that ??????? us to wanna reach for them and to wanna bring ourselves to greater heights, whether it’s on an instrument, whether it’s… whatever it is, as human beings we just have this need to reach and… to reach new heights and often they’re totally out of our ??? but that doesn’t make it less reasonable to reach for it, there is always a quote the writer William Burroughs used to always quote, which was that there’s… there’s no goal more worth fighting to ??? and… I’m paraphrasing, but it’s that there’s no goal more worthy of fighting to obtain immortality, you know, and… and, it’s just, well I don’t think it is good to… to always be sort of believing that the grass is greener on the other side, I… I really believe in pushing yourselves to… to reach heights that may seem far off, but… but to just push yourself to get there. And, in my case, that’s all with music, you know, it’s… it’s, umm… I just… I’ve just always tried to reach new heights and it’s also one of the things of the record that sometimes in your journey giving up, sometimes can be giving up for a period of time or can actually be a way of regenerating enough energy to keep pushing higher, you know, and musically ????????? the lyrics, theâ€¦ the music on my record repeatedly keeps sort of going from a murky kind of low to aâ€¦ to a peek, and then down form the peek and then to another low, and then keeps reaching up again and going higher and higher, and then going down again, and it’s, for me that’s like a form of breathing, you know, there’s been times in my life where I just painted and stopped even playing music, you know, and there’s been times in my life where I stopped thinking so creatively on my instrument and started thinking purely technically, and I think that all those things had a value even though it’s not something I’d wannaâ€¦ you know, they’re not things you desire to do, but I think in the process of trying to go up and up and up, I don’t think just solidly to do nothing but going up and up and constantly reaching and pushing yourself, I think eventually that produces a kind of ??? where you won’t be able to go up any higher, where you can actually in the long run gain more momentum if you listen to you clock inside and you may have to occasionally give up or, in a symbolic sense, you might have to die in order to be reborn.
Joe Bosso: What I can definitely hear on this record is you’re constantly changing your style, constantly ???, actually disregarding one style after you’ve done it both as an instrumentalist and as a vocalist. How do you go about that process?
John Frusciante: Well, I don’t think it is disregarding obviously, â€˜cause I really love the whole record from beginning to end, but itâ€¦ it’s more justâ€¦ yeah, just switching it up, and changing, and trying to approach each song differently and trying to sort ofâ€¦ like in singing, like try toâ€¦ try to sort of find a different character for each song, I think it really helped me toâ€¦ nobody was around when I recorded my vocals, so being by myself I found myself, it was much easier to sort of have fun with it and do a lot of takes until I really was having more and more fun each time as opposed to when you do it with an engineer a lot of times you can’t deal with humiliation of having to do more than a couple of takes or whatever, and it gets frustrating if you have to do any more after that, whereasâ€¦ but when you’re by yourself sometimes you do fifteen takes and the fifteenth on is like YEAH, you know, so I found myself having more and more fun with it every time that I did it, messing around more every time and stuff. As far as soloing, you know, I usually try to have some sort of a concept in my head of an approach or a sound orâ€¦ you know, I think music should be something alive and free and I don’t think people should just sort of rest on their ??? or at least I don’t like for myself to rest on my ??? and to repeat myself.