Pop Quiz: Nick Cave

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Aidin Vaziri | After a period of diversion in which he published a novel, wrote a screenplay, scored several film soundtracks and released a pair of albums with the primal side project Grinderman, Nick Cave has returned his attention to the Bad Seeds. The 55-year-old Australian sounds in a contemplative mood on his primary group’s latest release, “Push the Sky Away,” which was recorded in a marathon session at a French estate. The songwriter’s morbid streak remains undiminished, even as he introduces some unexpected topics. Cave and the Bad Seeds perform at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on April 9. We spoke to him during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Q: You’re performing concerts with a symphony orchestra and a children’s choir. Does that mean you’re maturing?

A: You’ve got to hear what we do with them.

Q: I’ve never considered your lyrics very family friendly.

A: It hasn’t been a problem anywhere until America. We’ll find a choir, and then someone sends the parents the record and they cancel the gig. We’re trying to get it together for some places here. It’s really a beautiful thing. The challenge is getting people to perform with us. There are children on “Push the Sky Away” anyway. These kids from the school down the street from where we were recording in France turned up and sang on it. We’re not doing this stuff with high-end child performers. It makes it more haunting.

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