Fiona Apple Talks New Album Fetch The Bolt Cutters In Extensive New Profile
Fiona Apple announced a week ago that her new album — the long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s The Idler Wheel — is finished. Today, we all get to learn quite a bit about that album via a detailed and immersive profile in The New Yorker by Pulitzer-winning TV critic Emily Nussbaum.
The album’s title, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, is a reference to the British procedural The Fall, in which Gillian Anderson plays a sex crimes investigator. Apple started kicking around ideas for it as early as 2012. At one point she was considering a concept album about her Venice Beach home, jokingly titled House Music. At another point she considered basing the album on the Pando, an interconnected network of trees in Utah. Ultimately she drew much of her inspiration from the #MeToo movement. No release date is mentioned in the article.
Apple’s band on the new album comprises drummer Amy Aileen Wood, Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and guitarist Davíd Garza. Apple’s sister, Amber, who records under the name Maude Maggart, sings harmonies. Apple also worked with engineers John Would, Dave Way, and Tchad Blake along the way. The music is reportedly heavily percussive. Jam sessions started with the musicians banging on all manner of items, including the bones of Apple’s pet pitbull Janet. The years-long writing and recording process included a three-week stint at Sonic Ranch in Texas, during which Apple watched the movie Whiplash on mushrooms.
The profile contains ample information about the songs on Fetch The Bolt Cutters. Cara Delevingne sings on the title track. “On I Go,” the first song recorded for the project, was inspired by a Vipassana chant. “For Her,” written in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, includes the startling lyric, “Good mornin’! Good mornin’ / You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in,” as well as this Kate Bush reference: “I need to run up that hill / I will, I will, I will.” Other titles include “Ladies,” “Rack Of His,” “Heavy Balloon,” “I Want You To Love Me,” “Newspaper,” “Shameka,” and “The Drumset Is Gone,” the last of which was written during a fight with her bandmates after her breakup with writer Jonathan Ames.
The profile also gets into Apple’s relationship with Ames, which ended partially due to his concern over her alcohol abuse. (She quit drinking about a year ago.) Apple also discusses her prior boyfriends. There’s a lengthy section on her intense, drug-fueled romance with Paul Thomas Anderson, and an anecdote about how she quit cocaine after a miserable night with Anderson at Quentin Tarantino’s house: “Every addict should just get locked in a private movie theatre with Q.T. and P.T.A. on coke, and they’ll never want to do it again.” It’s of the richest and most rewarding artist profiles I’ve read in a while. Thanks to Nussbaum’s insight and the access she was afforded, I really felt like I was stepping into Fiona Apple’s world. Read the whole thing here.