HITS Daily Double


You planned a hiatus before working on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Did that work out as you hoped, and how did you fill your time?

Because we never had much time off between Lungs and Ceremonials, it had been one endless tour. We were touring with U2 as we were recording Ceremonials. I think there was a bit of a crash after all that touring. I did then plan to have a year off, and then I was trying to find out what I liked, and who I was—outside of the tour. I had just moved out of my mum’s house; it was all the little things about growing up and figuring out who you are. I’d been swept up on this tour, so hadn’t had a chance to do it. It was a big crash landing! I thought, ‘I like going out; I like partying,’ so maybe I’ll do that, but that became slightly unfulfilling. Traveling always felt like I was escaping from something, so I really needed to learn to sit with myself and figure some stuff out, I think.

What were some of the guiding themes in the making of this album? What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
I guess the guiding theme was that year of being caught slightly between two worlds. On the one hand I was looking for something that was calm and nurturing, and on the other hand was slightly tripping myself up and throwing myself into chaos. I was going back to relationships that weren’t working, going back out partying. It was a really up and down year, so it was about the highs and lows of that. There were some really incredible moments of love and joy and there were some low points as well.

What, in your mind, is the significance of a Grammy nowadays? How does it differ in importance from other awards?
It’s such an iconic award and it feels like it holds quite a lot of weight. It feels significant to get a Grammy. I think because of the artists I admired growing up, I would see them at the Grammys performing and winning. It feels like it’s based on musicianship and therefore really special to me.

Whom do you consider your mentor(s) in the business?
I’ve always looked up to women who have had really strong, individual careers. People like PJ Harvey, Björk and Patti Smith. Their careers have spanned generations of creativity. With every new generation they continue to inspire; they seem to be constantly evolving but incredibly themselves.

You’ve become quite the attraction at European festivals and have Hyde Park lined up for 2016. What do you like most about playing festivals?
I love that feeling of collective enjoyment, and the spirit of them. Everyone is going somewhere to be together. The idea of experiencing things en masse. They are quite celebratory, and that’s why I like them. They’ve got good energy.