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Nick Cave Explains His Fake Documentary '20,000 Days on Earth'

by   Sep 23, 2014 16:51 PM EDT

Let's be clear: The new documentary featuring Nick Cave is not actually a documentary.

The film 20,000 Days on Earth is really just a staged "doc" that gives the appearance of a tightly produced, improvisational project.

As Cave said, "Nothing is real."

"The only fly-on-the-wall stuff in the movie is the recording studio," Cave said of the film, created by Ian Forsyth and Jane Pollard. "The idea was that everything in 20,000 Days on Earth was filmic. We used sets. Nothing is real. We felt I would be able to be more free and myself in a constructed scenario than I would be if they came bursting into my house with a camera, which never would have happened. I would have no interest in doing that. I just don't see the point. I don't see how it benefits anybody — certainly not the person watching the film because all they're seeing is a deconstruction of the people they think are special. They're being made ordinary. And why would they want that to happen?"

Cave, 57, has been recording since the late 1970s with multiple bands. One of his more "recent" groups has been The Bad Seeds (they began recording together in the '80s).

But their albums have been trending up on the charts for some time, and 2013's Push the Sky Away reached No. 1 in several countries, but No. 29 in the United States.

20,000 Days on Earth focuses on several aspects of Cave's life, but he wanted to clarify how his writing process actually works.

"The way I'm writing in the film — sitting down and pounding away at a typewriter — is not the way I write in real life," he said. "I write by hand, or I work quite closely on things in a computer because I can swap and edit. Once it gets to a place where I think, 'This is as close to a song as it's going to get before I start f---ing it up by overworking it,' I type it out on the yellowing back pages of an old book. This gives it an instant feel of having some authority, even being a kind of classic. [laughs] Something written by hand doesn't have the same authority. It's good when you feel something is worthwhile."

Watch the film's trailer here:

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