Pitchfork: You said you went through a time when you weren’t writing, or felt like you couldn’t sing anymore.
Jeff: I went through a period, after Aeroplane , when a lot of the basic assumptions I held about reality started crumbling. I think that before then, I had an intuitive innocence that guided me and that was a very good thing to a certain point. But then I realized that, to a large degree, I had kept my rational mind at bay my whole life. I just acted on intuition in terms of how I related to life. At some point, my rational mind started creeping in, and it would not shut up. I finally had to address it and confront it. I think most intelligent people, at a younger age than I have, begin to question some of the fundamental assumptions our society promotes. But me, I just rejected it without even considering it.
I feel like we’re so limited by the context at which we look at life. The way we look at who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to love… everything. I feel like that, in and of itself, is a project of a lifetime: the problem of how to break out of the limiting context that is imposed upon us by the educational system, by the church, by our parents… As a kid I rejected it without even thinking about it. Now that I’m a little older, I see how deeply destructive it really is. treating people as property is destructive; being jealous of other people is destructive. You know, being jealous is a perfectly natural thing to feel, so it’s not about suppressing jealousy, but learning to come to terms with it and to recognize its destructiveness and then to transform it. I’m not saying that I’ve overcome anything, but I’ve definitely seen the blinding truth of how imperative it is that we have to overcome these problems.