You’ve been calling the “Mezzanine” tour a “ghost story.” Can you explain that?
The intention of the show was to take a second look back at the past and re-examine ourselves and re-examine the idea of nostalgia, which is actually a quite powerful emotion. I thought that this was an opportunity to use something which was familiar and create a sense of subtle disorientation at the same time.
The idea was to revisit the album, but instead of just wallowing in the past, to actually take the past and treat it forensically. What went into it musically — to use those reference points and extract them, in order to expose the organs and limbs, the samples and the loops and the things that went into the album. We could turn those into tracks with which we could create a piece of art. And to look at the historical past in which the album was written, and to examine the time between then and now, and then create arguments about where we’ve been and where we are now.
When we played “Mezzanine” originally, we didn’t do that. It was about that moment in our lives. This is much more of a collage of then and since.
A lot of the songs on the album were about the classic pop subject: love troubles. But the tour imagery takes on a lot more: information and disinformation, war, surveillance, consumption, persuasion.
Yeah, we’ve definitely gone off. [Laughs.] In an honest assessment of it, “Mezzanine” was very much a self-examination of the way the band was at the time: the dysfunction of the band, the way our lives had changed, the place we came from. Now this self-examination has got a much wider arc beam, if you will. We’re examining the audience, we’re examining ourselves, we’re examining the past, we’re questioning the past and what we believe to be true. What we remember of the past, how much of that is real? What is real now — our sense of what we make of reality — and what is information? If we no longer trust what we used to think were reliable sources, what becomes of reality?
“Mezzanine” was about that space where things weren’t real. For me it’s a bit of the limbo between the night and the day. And now it’s about the same thing in a way, the limbo between what is real and what isn’t real.