As a member of the Birthday Party in the early '80s and with his current ensemble, the Bad Seeds, Australia's Nick Cave has amassed a fervent following of fans and critics alike for his gothic, country-and-gospel-flavored rock. And after eight studio albums with the Seeds to his credit, Cave doesn't intend to ease up now. "I've got too much to write," says Cave, 38, whose latest album, Murder Ballads (Mute/Reprise), includes duets with his pal British rocker PJ Harvey and Aussie pop-princess Kylie Minogue. "I already have the next record finished, and my problem is that record companies only release a certain amount of your product. I wish the whole process was a bit quicker."
What keeps attracting you to dark subjects like murder and violence?
I find it kind of tiresome writing about the good side of life. I think that as an artist my job is not to congratulate and applaud society. I don't feel very happy being a part of the world as it is. We're behaving pretty badly, and I guess that's what I'm saying a lot of the time.
Your unlikely duet with Kylie Minogue has become an international Top 10 hit. How did you two hook up?
Well, I've had a kind of obsession with Kylie Minogue for about six years. I'd never met her, but I'd watched her very closely on the television and written a lot of songs for her that I never had the courage to send to her. When we made Murder Ballads, I thought the time was right to do it and wrote "Where the Wild Roses Grow" and sent it to her. I wanted to write a song for her where she would slow down or sing something slow, brooding, mournful. She replied the next day, saying she loved the song and she'd sing it. It was something that was meant to be, I think.