Pop Quiz: Damien Rice

damien rice faded review
Aidin Vaziri | Damien Rice returns this week with “My Favourite Faded Fantasy,” his first new album in eight years. The Irish singer-songwriter, who spent time living in Los Angeles and Iceland after releasing his difficult second album, 2006’s “9,” worked with producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers) on his latest. Once a recluse, Rice appeared at ease in front of a crowd at a show last month at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco after his breakup with former girlfriend and musical collaborator Lisa Hannigan. We spoke to him about his time away and comeback. “My Favourite Faded Fantasy” is out this week.
Q: Is there a reason why your work rate slowed down to one song a year?

A: For every song that I release, 10 others get thrown into the trash and 10 more are put into a drawer of unfinished pieces to be revisited. Everything has its own pace.

Q: You appear much happier onstage now, or at least less tortured. Have you come to terms with being a public figure?

A: Being a public figure was not what bothered me in the past. It was not being myself that bothered me.

Q: You mentioned that you had to take some time off to clean your mind. What did that involve?

A: Initially, it involved sitting with uncomfortable questions and watching thoughts that were judgmental, or destructive. Much like learning how to brush my teeth, I’ve been learning how to remove the unhelpful notions that get stuck and cause decay. As a kid, I accepted a lot of what I was told. When I looked at what was going on in my head, I noticed that none of the destructive stuff was mine. It was all borrowed beliefs. So I’ve been cleaning those out. I’ve still got a lot of knots to untie. It’s become a daily thing, much like eating, sleeping and showering.

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