‘I don’t care what Kanye has to say’: Nick Cave says he still a huge fan of controversial rapper’s music and insists it’s ‘a personal choice’ to separate the art from the artist
Nick Cave has insisted it is possible to separate Kanye West’s work from the rapper, following the US artist’s anti-Semitic rants.
The Australian singer-songwriter speaks to Newsnight’s co-lead presenter Kirsty Wark this week about his new memoir, Faith, Hope and Carnage, marking his first BBC interview since 2009.
The rare interview sees Nick explain why he refuses to gatekeep his own music, declaring that he doesn’t want to ‘deny my music to certain people because of where they stand politically.’
Speaking out: Nick Cave has insisted it is possible to separate Kanye West’s work from the rapper, following the US artist’s anti-Semitic rants
‘I don’t want my music ever to be used as a form of punishment. I mean, where do you even begin with something like that? Where do you draw the line anyway?’ the musician says.
When it is pointed out that the issue of separating art from the artists could be applied to the controversy surrounding Kanye, Nick muses that it is ‘a personal choice’ to shun his music.
‘On some level I don’t care what Kanye has to say on things, but I do love Kanye. His music,’ the singer explains.
‘I find antisemitism particularly distasteful. And so it’s very disappointing to hear these remarks and such sort of obvious, boring kind of reductive tropes that he’s actually pedalling.’
Scandal: When it is pointed out that the issue of separating art from artists could be applied to the controversy surrounding Kanye, Nick muses that it is ‘a personal choice’ to shun his music
‘However it’s a personal choice as to whether you can go on and listen to that person’s music,’ he continues.
‘I personally can. I love Kanye’s music. I feel that he’s done the best music of anybody in some time, the most interesting, challenging, bold music.’
Kanye has shared a string of anti-Semitic comments in recent interviews and social media posts, including a Twitter post earlier this month that stated he would soon go ‘death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,’ an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON.
He was suspended from both Twitter and Instagram, while major brands like Adidas have halted their lucrative partnerships with the rapper.
Still a fan: ‘I find antisemitism particularly distasteful. And so it’s very disappointing to hear these remarks and such sort of obvious, boring kind of reductive tropes,’ Nick adds
Last week, Kanye said he lost $2 billion in a single day as business partners rushed to dump him over his anti-Semitic outbursts.
Nick previously discussed the separation of an artist and their work in a 2019 blog post about his love for Morrissey’s music.
Nick responded via his The Red Hand Files website when a fan asked whether ‘it is possible to separate the latter-day [Morrissey] from his earlier art? More specifically, what are your views on Morrissey, both early days and his newer more ugly persona?’
‘Personally, when I write a song and release it to the public, I feel it stops being my song,’ he wrote.
‘It has been offered up to my audience and they, if they care to, take possession of that song and become its custodian.’
‘The integrity of the song now rests not with the artist, but with the listener.’ He added that an artist’s ‘views and behaviour are separate issues.’
‘Morrissey’s political opinion becomes irrelevant. Whatever inanities he may postulate, we cannot overlook the fact that he has written a vast and extraordinary catalogue, which has enhanced the lives of his many fans beyond recognition.’
‘This is no small thing. He has created original and distinctive works of unparalleled beauty, that will long outlast his offending political alliances.
BBC Newsnight airs 10.30pm, BBC Two, Thursday 10th November 2022.