Robert Smith Reflects On The Cure -
Robert Smith, The Cure Melbourne, Thursday 28 July 2016. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

The Cure perform at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Thursday 28 July 2016.

Robert Smith Reflects On The Cure

by on June 7, 2021

in News

CHVRCHES and Robert Smith join Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss their new collaboration “How Not To Drown”.

CHVRCHES tell Zane how the collaboration came to be, what it was like to work with one of their major musical influences, and the emotional experience of hearing Robert Smith on a CHVRCHES song.

Robert Smith talks to Zane about how he approaches collaborations, and provides an update on when fans can expect new music from The Cure.

Robert Smith Tells Apple Music About Collaborating With Other Artists Like CHVRCHES and Gorillaz…

I mean, I’m not quite sure now how many years I’ve… There’s not that many over the years, but I think once you do one, people sort of think, “Ooh, hang on.” I went through a period of just listening to a lot of different kinds of music, and I was really intrigued by the idea of me trying something else without taking the band with me, just doing something. I’ve never liked the idea of doing things on my own, like a solo artist. I’ve always railed against it because I like the idea of a band. I think it kind of suits my character and it’s much more comfortable to have… It’s like, “Us against the world.” That sort of mentality. I’ve never wanted to kind of step away from that. But as I got more confident, I suppose, maybe starting about 10 years ago, I just thought, “Well, rather than take the band with me whenever we do these kind of weird things…” I started doing some weird things. This isn’t one of them, obviously. This is not a weird thing by any means. But yeah, it allows me just to kind of try other things. And I mean, I’ve only done things with people that I really like a lot. So, unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest things saying no to people, because sometimes there are people send me stuff and I do really like it and I like them, but I think, “This isn’t going to work.” I think the collaborations that I’ve done in the past, very few of them, I can’t really think off the top of my head, have been collaborative in the sense that there’s someone else singing with me. I think that’s what made the difference. I mean, with Damon, he was just kind of burbling away in the background. I didn’t know he was there. This is very different because, I mean, it’s Lauren singing and then I’m kind of like… So it’s more of a duet. It’s a kind of old fashioned sort of way of doing things.

Robert Smith Previews Forthcoming Music…

Probably in about six weeks time I’ll be able to say when everything’s coming out and what we’re doing next year and everything. So it’s at that point where I’m finishing up stuff. The reason I was doing something on my own was for exactly the same reason I was doing collaborations; I’ve always wanted to do an hour’s worth of noise, and I didn’t want it… The Cure, you wait 10 years and then we bring out an album that’s just noise. So it was just like, “No.” I mean, apart from the… That was me doing the rest of the band. That, “No,” was a band no. So I’ve been just having fun with that really. And so we were doing two albums and one of them’s very, very doom and gloom and the other one isn’t. And they’re both very close to being done. I just have to decide who’s going to mix them. That’s really all I’ve got left to do. So yeah.

Robert Smith Tells Apple Music About Nearly Not Showing Up For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony…

I mean, we did actually discuss it for weeks and weeks and weeks when it came up. I mean, I always… At the start of the process, I was completely against the idea of us accepting. I thought, “I want to be the…” I thought, “No, I don’t want that admiration from people that I don’t know.” It doesn’t really matter to me. But then I was kind of like… And we talked it through, and I came around and I thought… Well, honestly, the ex-members of the band were going to go anyway, and I thought, “Well, they’re going to turn up, I may as well turn up, and we may as well play, and we may as well make a point. It’s why we’re there.” And we actually turned it into something which I was really proud of. I thought we did really well, actually, on the night. And so I was pleased about the whole thing. There’s something about it which is kind of silly. But it’s okay. I don’t think I aspired to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when I started with The Cure. The fact that other artists reference us a lot, and particularly artists that I enjoy, is by far and away the best thing that can happen to you as an artist is that other people doing what you do appreciating what you do, and in turn inspiring them.Because for me, when I look back to when I started and the people that I was inspired by, I was lucky enough to meet a couple of them. And it meant everything to me. So I still have that in me. I still feel that I’m responsible in some way to kind of keep this going.And it’s always, in the main, The Cure have kind of… Even though we’ve done really well, we’ve kind of existed outside of the mainstream as much as possible, which has been a choice, because I’ve never really wanted to… We’ve played the game when we needed to, but we’ve never really kind of whole-heartedly gone for it. But I like the idea of people succeeding on their own terms. That’s always been the thing that I admire most about other artists, regardless of what they do or how they do it. I think if they do it and they really mean it, then that’s everything.

CHVRCHES Tell Apple Music About Collaborating with Robert Smith on “How Not To Drown.”…

Lauren: Well, it was a song that we had already been writing for the record, and then our manager had been technically sniffing about trying to see if maybe The Cure were going to tour again and maybe we could try and get a support slot or something. So he was like, “I wonder if somebody could put me in touch? How this would happen? How would we ask for this?” And then he got in touch with Robert and the conversations kind of started from there. And then we sent a bunch of songs over and you were kind enough to listen to them, and we had to figure out where we might be able to collaborate and where there would be space to do something really interesting and special. And hopefully that’s what we did. I feel like that’s what we did.

Martin: Genuinely, please, close your ears, Robert, I wouldn’t be in a band if it wasn’t for Disintegration and Pornography. They’re the two greatest albums of all time. So when Robert got back to us and said that he was interested in collaborating, we thought that it would be… We never truly thought that it would come to fruition. And this is no word of a lie, after it had gone quiet for a little while, we get this demo out of the blue, on Halloween no less. From Robert. With him singing. And it was everything that we hoped it would be and more. And so the process continued.

Martin From CHVRCHES Tells Apple Music About His Emotional Reaction Hearing Robert Smith on a CHVRCHES Song…

It was like a more intense version of the electricity that I heard the first time I heard Lauren singing on one of our beats. It was like I’d gone right back to the first day of being in a band again. And it was that feeling bottled up and intensified. But I know it’s so hard for me to speak… I’m so embarrassed to say it in front of Robert, but I can’t overstate how much of an influence The Cure are on my music, on me as a producer and me as a writer. And so that one moment, it was emotional, and it was really intense. And then after a few listens, I was able to disconnect a little bit, but at first it wasn’t easy.

Lauren From CHVRCHES Tells Apple Music That The Title Of Their New Album Was A Band Name They Didn’t Use…

We were talking about this recently that we had the album title before we started writing, which we’ve never had before. And it’s weird to think… Because it was a band name that we didn’t use. We had a big list of band names, some really terrible. So every time someone complains about the actual band name, I’m like, “It could be f-king worse, guys. It could be a lot worse.”But yeah, so we had this idea to write off of that. And I do wonder what it would have sounded like if we hadn’t all lived through this thing that we’ve all had to live through. And I do think, yeah, being locked inside with your own thoughts and nowhere to go and nothing to distract you from that is a horrible thing, but a good writing workshop. Once you survive it, you’re like, “Oh, that was probably good to not be able to leave when I got uncomfortable.”But I don’t know. I think, for me, the thing that… The only thing I’ve ever regretted about anything we’ve ever done is if it doesn’t feel like it’s been fully honest or that you were performing something rather than doing it. And I think this one, it’s honest, for better or worse.

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