In this interview, Amanda Petrusich talks with Nick Cave about grief, resilience, religion, music, and Faith, Hope and Carnage, a book based on his conversations with journalist Seán O’Hagan. Sure, these are topics you’d expect in a Q&A with the Australian singer-songwriter, but that doesn’t make it any less rich or moving. I like their exchange about channeling spirituality or some kind of “enigmatic otherness” when making music, and dealing with loss over time, which Cave says gives us a deeper understanding of being human. His thoughts on AI, ChatGPT, and art also bring music to my ears.

Art has to do with our limitations, our frailties, and our faults as human beings. It’s the distance we can travel away from our own frailties. That’s what is so awesome about art: that we deeply flawed creatures can sometimes do extraordinary things. A.I. just doesn’t have any of that stuff going on. Ultimately, it has no limitations, so therefore can’t inhabit the true transcendent artistic experience. It has nothing to transcend! It feels like such a mockery of what it is to be human. A.I. may very well save the world, but it can’t save our souls. That’s what true art is for. That’s the difference. So, I don’t know, in my humble opinion ChatGPT should just fuck off and leave songwriting alone.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.