“I am interested in my internal landscape and just paint pictures of it” Leonard Cohen


Q: Do you think your lyrics and way of life add to the Cohen mystique?

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I think you do have to be in contact with yourself or be interested in establishing contact with yourself. A lot of people aren’t interested in their higher state. It just happens that I am interested in my internal landscape and just paint pictures of it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From The Sounds Interview 1971 by Billy Walker. Sounds: October 23, 1971. Originally posted July 1, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I’ve found there’s a certain emptiness to my songs that allows for a lot of interpretations.” Leonard Cohen On Singing His Songs In Different Ways

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When you’re on the road for a long period of time, you tend to sing songs in different ways. You can bring a certain kind of nobility to a depressed lyric, or you can deliver a very affirmative statement like a lamentation. I’ve found there’s a certain emptiness to my songs that allows for a lot of interpretations.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted July 28, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I don’t know what I’m trying to convey [in a song], never have. I’m grateful when a song comes together and starts a life of its own” Leonard Cohen

lcheadFrom raw Q&A transcript submitted for Adam Cohen à la rescousse by Alain de Repentigny (La Presse: Oct 19, 2016).

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Leonard Cohen’s Songwriting Shifts From “I’ve had to scrape them out of my heart” (1972) To “Scavenging” (2001)

1972: “I’ve had to scrape them out of my heart”

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I’ve never written [lyrics] with the kind of luxury of choice. I’ve never sat down at my table and said ‘there are people starving and there are people who are being tortured and brutalized, I must write a song to redeem them’. My songs have come to me, I’ve had to scrape them out of my heart. They come in pieces at a time and in showers and fragments and if I can put them together into a song and I have something at the end of the excavation I’m just grateful for having it. It tells me where I am and where I’ve been. I can’t predispose the song to any situation or anything in the political realm, but if I live in the political realm and I’m aware of what is going down and my songs come out of that awareness of ignorance. A lot of my songs come out of ignorance. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From “Complexities And Mr. Cohen” by Billy Walker (Sounds, March 4, 1972).  Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles

2001: “Scavenging”

Sylvie Simmons: You had said previously that songs had to be ‘scraped’ or ‘torn’ from your heart. Is writing still that bloody?

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Did I say that? That romantic image has somewhat evaporated. Now I’d say it’s the work of a scavenger. … The content of whatever it is you write is a matter of scavenging around and trying to satisfy this appetite to make something.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Felonious Monk by Sylvie Simmons, (MOJO: November 2001) [underlining mine]

Note: Originally posted June 19, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“One is always wrestling with one’s doubt, indifference and Dionysian appetite …” Leonard Cohen On The Elements Of His Work

lc-good dublin2-1024 Interviewer: Was there ever complete disillusionment?

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Every day. Whatever I’m studying, I have the sense that this isn’t it. One is always wrestling with one’s doubt, indifference and Dionysian appetite: You know – let’s go get drunk and forget this stuff. Maybe this doesn’t lead to anywhere. These are just the elements of my work. I don’t think they’re great. They’re just all I have.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted Feb 6, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“One is distracted by this notion that there is such a things as inspiration” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting

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So to penetrate this chattering and this meaningless debate that is occupying most of my attention, I have to come up with something that really speaks to my deepest interest. Otherwise I nod off in one way or another. So to find that song, that urgent song, takes a lot of versions and a lot of work and a lot of sweat. But why shouldn’t my work be hard? Almost everybody’s work is hard. One is distracted by this notion that there is such a things as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. And some people are graced by that style. I’m not. So I have to work as hard as any stiff to come up with the payload.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen – Los Angeles 1992 from Songwriters On Songwriting By Paul Zollo. Originally posted Apr 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric