As the music portion of SXSW 2013 kicked off on Tuesday, featured speaker, Nick Cave told an over-capacity crowd about his roots as a musician, defined by a troubled childhood and his travels as a struggling artist.
Growing up in rural Australia, Cave dreamed of being a painter and longed to escape to somewhere with a culture.
"We always looked overseas for our influences,’ Cave said of his infatuation with American and British culture. As a kid he loved "The Johnny Cash Show,’ and the dangers of the dark side to the Man in Black.
Cave started drinking at the age of 12, and soon began to use heroin, which continued for many years. After an expulsion from school, a move to Melbourne and a failing year at art school, Cave realized music was his calling.
With this urge toward music, Cave moved to London with his first band, where he said people hated his music. So then it was onto, Berlin, where even though the band was met with some skepticism, Cave was beginning to be accepted as a musician.
"(They thought) we were weird people from Australia who played some weird music.’ Cave said. It’s during this time period that he couldn’t shake feeling "very much like an imposter in the whole music scene.’
Cave also spent some time discussing his early nomadic lifestyle, bouncing from place to place and his years in Brazil where he fathered a child.
As the conversation came to an end, it moved from biographical anecdotes to the music itself.
Cave said his lyrics are difficult to create ‘ "nasty little births,’ he calls them. These songs live in a "Cave-ian world,’ which is a world the musician prefers.
"The imaginative world to me is more reliable. I have more control and in some ways it’s more interesting,’ Cave said.
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