What are you looking forward to on your visit to Singapore?
This will be my second visit. There’s a lot of freedom and I’m attracted to that and being able to use the acoustics of a fine hall, the volume of an electric guitar. I don’t have to worry about anyone else and everything seems to connect.
What inspired your latest album, National Ransom?
We place a lot of trust in people, financial institutions and politicians, but there’s a sense of fear and uncertainty which all of us experience in one way or another. But it’s not about proposing a solution or apportioning blame. It’s slightly mysterious, why your mind lingers in a certain place. And some days you feel things to a greater or lesser extent. I think it’s second nature to reflect on that. It was only after I’d written several of them that I felt they hung together in a common thread. It took me 11 days to record. I had a clear idea of the mood of each song, and when it was combined in an ensemble, it turned out better than I could have ever dreamed.
What’s the creative process like for you?
I tremendously admire people who write songs and edit, but for me, the less self-conscious I am about it and the less I question it, the better. Spontaneous composition is where my art is revealed.
What do you enjoy most, the process of writing, recording or performing?
I’m quite happy with just performing, because performance is always evolving. I don’t want to be reheating the same old formula. It’s also about how you combine different songs and juxtapose them in an interesting way. I like to use the emotion of one song to set up the mood of another.
Catch the gifted Elvis Costello in action on Mar 7, 8:30pm, at the Grand Theater in Marina Bay Sands, Galleria Level, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8868. $90-210 from Sistic.