It’s been a while since we’ve heard solo work from Sufjan Stevens, but the man has been busy just the same. Earlier this year he released the experimental rap debut as Sisyphus (a collaboration with Son Lux and Serengti) and more recently he’s been working on music for a performance by the New York Ballet Company. The project came about after choreographer Justin Peck developed a performance based on the music from Stevens’ album Enjoy Your Rabbit and approached the musician to craft original music for his new work titled Everywhere We Go (preview it here). Stevens talked to Vogue about the project’s birth, the writing process, and how he had never really enjoyed ballet prior to this. Read an excerpt of his comments below.
I think writing for ballet is much more utilitarian, so I have a greater consideration for rhythm and movement and dynamic with very exact functions. With songwriting, you just follow the muse, narrative, the melody, and this inherent story. Sometimes I feel like I’m just being a steward of the song. Whereas with ballet, because there’s no singing, there’s no narrative, there’s no text, it’s just music promoting movement, which is fun … Because I’m a natural songwriter and storyteller, it feels really good to relinquish all of that and to not feel so incarcerated by the subject-verb-predicate of a narrative. I like residing in abstraction and listening to the subtext of sound and music and melody. I’ve always believed that it all has meaning beyond the literalism of words.
Read the full interview over at Vogue.