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Sufjan Stevens Sheds More Light on His “Creative Crisis”

As we told you late last month, chamber pop maestro Sufjan Stevens recently began unravelling his reasons for the lack of output since his career-defining Illinois record. In an interview on his Asthmatic Kitty site, he said, “I’m at a point where I no longer have a deep desire to share my music with anyone, having spent many years imparting my songs to the public.”

Now,Stevens explained the future of his solo work even further. And while there’s a lot to digest in what he says, here’s an excerpt:

I definitely feel like “What is the point? What’s the point of making music anymore?” I feel that the album no longer has a stronghold or has any real bearing anymore. The physical format itself is obsolete; the CD is obsolete and the LP is kinda nostalgic. So, I think the album is suffering and that’s how I’ve always created — I work with these conceptual albums in the long-form. And I’m wondering, what’s the value of my work once these forms are obsolete and everyone’s just downloading music? And I’m starting to get sick of my conceptual ideas. I’m tired of these grand, epic endeavours and wanting to just make music for the joy of making music and having it be immediate and nothing to do with the industry itself, which, y’know is suffering right now of course.

And I think it has to do with a creative crisis too. I’m wondering what am I doing? What is a song even? I’m questioning, what’s the point of a song? Is a song antiquated? Does it have any power any more? The format itself — a narrative song with accompaniment — is really beyond me now. Like, I feel that The BQE is not really a song, it’s not really a movie, it’s not really just a soundtrack. It’s so ambiguous and diversified, it seems to lack shape. And the expressway itself lacks shape, so I feel like it’s all related to this existential crisis: Me versus the BQE, or me versus my work, y’know? And I don’t think I can win; I feel like it’s a losing battle…

Fortunately, Sufjan hasn’t stopped playing music altogether, as his instrumental, collaborative record with his stepdad will be out next month and he’s been actively playing live out on the road. In fact, he’s even been road-testing a few new songs.

To check out a larger chunk of the of the interview and see just what ol’ Sufjan is thinking, you can read it here.