Did you expect it all to stop
At the wave of your hand?
Like the sunās just gonna drop,
If itās night you demand.
Well, in the dark weāre just air,
So the house might dissolve.
Once weāre gone, whoās gonna care
If we were ever here at all?
Well, summerās gonna come.
Itās gonna cloud our eyes again.
No need to focus when thereās
Nothing that's worth seeing.
So we trade for liquor for blood,
In an attempt to tip the scales.
I think you lost what you loved
In that mess of details.
They seemed so important at the time
Now you canāt even recall
Any names, faces, or lines;
Itās more the feeling of it all.
Well, winterās gonna end,
Iām gonna clean these veins again.
So close to dying that I finally can start living.
Interviewer: Hi, weāre back. This is Radio ---x. Weāre here with Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes. How are you doing, Conor?
Conor: Fine, thanks. Just a little wet.
Interviewer: Oh, itās still coming down out there.
Conor: Yeah, I sorta had to run from the car.
Interviewer: Well, we are glad you made it. Now, your new album, Fevers and Mirrors, tell us a little bit about the title. I noticed there is a good deal of repeated imagery in the lyricsāfevers, mirrors, scales, clocks. Could you discuss some of this?
Conor: Sure, letās see. The fever isā
Interviewer: First, first, let me say that this is a brilliant record, man. Weāre really into it here at the station. We get a lot of calls itās really good stuff.
Conor: Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Interviewer: So, talk a little bit about some of the symbolism.
Conor: The fever?
Conor: Well, the fever is basically whatever ails you or oppresses you. It can be anything. In my case itās my neurosis, my depression...but I donāt want to be limited to that. Itās certainly different for different people. Itās whatever keeps you up at night.
Interviewer: I see.
Conor: And theāand the mirror is like, as you might have guessed, self examination or reflection in whatever form. This could be vanity or self-loathing. I-I know Iām guilty of both.
Interviewer: Thatās interesting. Uh, how ābout the scale?
Conor: The scale is essentially our attempt to solve our problems quantitatively, through logic or rationalization. In my opinion itās often fruitless but, alwaysāah, not always. And the clocks and calendars, itās just time, our little measurements. Itās always chasing after us.
Interviewer: It is, it is. Uh, how ābout this Arienette? How does she fit into all of this?
Conor: I prefer not to talk about it, in case sheās listening.
Interviewer: Oh, Iām sorry, I didnāt realize sheās a real person.
Conor: Sheās not. I made her up.
Interviewer: Oh, so sheās not real.
Conor: Just as real as you or I.
Interviewer: I donāt think I understand.
Conor: Neither do I, but after I grow up, I will, I meanāa lotāa lot of things are really unclear for me right now.
Interviewer: Thatās interesting. Now, you mentioned your depression.
Conor: No I didnāt.
Interviewer: Youāre from Nebraska right?
Conor: Yeah so.
Interviewer: Now let me know if Iām getting too personal, but it seems to me that thereās a pretty dark past back there somewhere. What was it like for you growing up?
Conor: Dark. Not really. Uh-actually, I had a great childhood. My parents were wonderful, I went to Catholic school. They had money so it was allā¦easy. But basically, I had everything I wanted handed to me.
Interviewer: Really. So some of the references like babies in bathtubs are not biographical?
Conor: Well, I did have a brother that died in a bathtub. Drowned. Actually, I had five brothers that died that way.
Conor: No, Iām serious. My mother drowned one every year for five consecutive years. They were all named Padraic, so that's-they all got one song.
Conor: Itās kind of like walking out a door and discovering itās a window.
Interviewer: But your music is certainly very personal.
Conor: Of course. I put a lot of myself into what I do. But itās like, being an author, you have to free yourself to use symbolism and allegory to reach your goal. And a-and a part of that is compassion, empathy for other people, and understanding their situations. So much of what I sing about comes from other peopleās experiences as well as my own. It shouldnāt matter. The message is intended to be universal.
Interviewer: I see what you mean.
Conor: Can you make that sound stop please?
Interviewer: Yes. And your goal?
Conor: I donāt know. Uh, create feelings, I guess. A song it never ends up the way you plan it.
Interviewer: Thatās funny you would say that. Do you think thatā
Conor: Do you ever hear things that arenāt really there?
Interviewer: Iām sorry, what?
Conor: Nevermind. How long have you worked at this station?
Interviewer: Oh, just a few minutes. Now, you mentioned empathy for others. Would you say that that is what motivates you to make the music you make?
Conor: No, not really. Itās really just a need for sympathy. I want people to feel sorry for me. I like to feel the burn of the audienceās eyes on me when Iām whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone.
(From the side, two teenage thugs start swearing about the music, talking over the conversation.)
Conor: When I was a kid I used to carry around this safety pin everywhere I went in my pocket and when people werenāt paying enough attention to me Iād dig it into my arm until I started crying. Everyone would stop what they were doing and ask me what was the matter. I guess I kind of liked that.
Interviewer: Really, youāre telling me youāre doing all this for attention?
Conor: No, I hate it when people look at me. I get nauseous. In fact, I could care less what people think about me. Do you feel alright? Do you wanna dance?
Interviewer: No, Iām feeling sick.
Conor: I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours all over everyone I love.
Interviewer: So, uh, youāre going to play something for us now. Is this a new song?
Conor: Yeah, but I havenāt written it yet. Itās one Iāve been meaning to write, called, āA Song to Pass the Time.ā
Interviewer: Oh, thatās a nice title.
Conor: You should write your own scripts.
Interviewer: Yeah, I know.
(Conor says from the side, āI kept singing todayāIt would be eeeeasyyy...ā)