Declan MacManus , who has called himself Elvis Costello all his adult life , shakes hands and sits down . Everything is going very fast.
- I have done some good rock songs that I sing yet, I do not deny the past, but not require me to live someone else's definition.
Is Elvis Costello angry? Well, watchful. He has just canceled two interviews on the Stockholm schedule to reporters "had not done his homework and wanted to talk about totally irrelevant things." And when you drive out.
Homework called " North" , yet another of Costello's track selection and - simplified - twelve jazz tunes on the case into a deep hole after a divorce, a time in limbo, and the climb up to the light with a new love. Flute, Clarinet, alto horn, saxophone, string quartet, plus CD-bearing elements: Costello's deep vibrato voice and old Attraction Mate Steve Nieve's piano. On the album you will hear the electric guitar - once.
Elvis Costello fundamentalist pop fans will also fall down in a deep hole. Those who believed in a continuation of the strong " When I was cruel," and that Costello had found home (just to them) again will be disappointed. Yet again.
- I imagine not that my life is so interesting, he says. But do you not know what I've gone through musically and you have left the picture of me that only rock artist, a time that you might feel nostalgia for. But I'm sorry, I can not help them, because I do not share the nostalgia.
He wears a smart black suit , expensive cuff links in his shirt and a fancy silk tie. Only a couple of futuristic glasses and obligatory stubble reveals that this is not a stock exchange president, but a musician. Not a pop star, and certainly not punks like someone got the idea. Just a musician.
- I really see no difference between my records, he says. I have never defined myself. Whether it is rock and roll, a gentle song with just me and a piano, or a vivid orchestration so it's me. If you relate to only one side of my musicality so will this album go completely over, or under, your head. But if you listen with an open mind, maybe you can find something.
Sure. "North" is also Elvis Costello. Even for the nostalgic. It features tracks that might have been on " Imperial bedroom " from 1982.
- Absolutely. But I could not write these songs in 1982, it is the musical development is about. Rather than look back and try to recreate the glow from my early years is the wealth for me in all the expressions that I play on; from rock to the mildest, most contemplative.
The value of the scale, that is. But at what stage understands Elvis that there is a new genre for him and ripples where inside the retreating hairline?
- When I wrote " North", I realised that some harmonies related to jazz or classical music, not pop music, but I did not sit down to do a jazz album. It was pretty revolutionary, actually. Several of the songs were made during the tour with " When I was cruel," I could get off the stage after a raw rock gig and feel: " I must have a piano! " And so I wrote the quietest song on the disc. Without even changing my clothes.
- But there are many ways to write on. For the last album came first rhythms and melodies last. Now, I wrote everything on the piano. Then I asked myself : " Will it be elförstärkas , or on a hard drum beat? " The answer was no. Only towards the end I saw that I also had a great story .
Costello also wonders what musicians appropriate for each new song. A few , however, was self-evident; " North "; Peter Erskine , drums, and best friend Steve Nieve on piano . The string quartet The Brodsky Quartet will also return to the "North ". But one tape for decades does not work.
- I played with The Attractions for eight years. But personalities change, and then you should also change the composition. Now I have The Imposters who were fantastic on " When I was cruel." But they did not fit for this particular disc. Maybe on the next, who knows.
With such a diverse musicality that Costello is always "right now" that apply. And preferably just music. He refrains nowadays anywhere from facile political points but annoyed over a paradoxical industry with increasing trivialization while practitioners are elevated to cultural icons.
- Sitting on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year and told the tale of the founders - who, incidentally, are an editor, a label manager and a lawyer - was laughable , he says. They stand and judge things they do not have a clue about. Lord God, such pompous talk!
Costello's own medication against the banalities were to go to a company that normally deals with classical music. Has he not gone and become a cultural snob?
- No, it's unfortunate if people think that I consider myself to belong to any elite. So of course it is not, he says. But I just can not keep to among those ... people. I am proud of the music I create, and the musicians I work with. Enough.
Right now it's " North" - jazz that apply to Elvis Costello . But then what? Rock again? Chamber music , folk , opera, maybe free jazz ?
- I have no clue, I promise.