Leonard Cohen Talks Songwriting with Jarvis Cocker

photo from Consequence of Sound

Leonard Cohen was recently interviewed by Jarvis Cocker, in advance of the release of Cohen’s first album in many years. And the finely dressed master had some great quotes regarding his music, and the art of songwriting.

For instance, how does he do it? Even Jarvis can’t help but dig for hints of Cohen’s writing inspiration. Cohen, however–craftily, and probably wisely–deflected such direct questions.

“We’ve got to be very careful analysing these sacred mechanics because somebody will throw a monkey wrench into the thing and we’ll never write a line again.” He added that “now and then something invites you to animate it, which you try and do with grace and illumination.”

He did, though, offer some tidbits–enough to give us a little insight into his process:

“I always felt I was scraping the bottom of the barrel just trying to get a song together. I never had the sense I was standing in front of a buffet table with a multitude of choices.”

“Let’s not examine the nature of images that seem to have their own validity. If you look too deeply into things you get into a state of paralysis.”

“Now and then something invites you to animate it, which you try and do with grace and illumination.”

Read more about this event on Consequence of Sound.

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