Warren Ellis has revealed that he believed that the most recent Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album, Ghosteen, would be his last collaboration with Cave.
The Bad Seeds’ 2019 studio album was co-produced by Cave and Ellis and arrived shortly after the tragic news of the death of Cave’s son. In a recent interview, Ellis opened up about working with Cave in that period of grief, describing Ghosteen as “a bold exercise, this commitment to something,” before adding: “I got spooked by it and I thought it was the end of our [his and Cave’s] collaboration.”
“I’d always thought in my head, ‘One day we’ll do something really great’,” Ellis continued. “I can get very superstitious about stuff and I run on it. When we made that record, I just deep down thought to myself, ‘I don’t think I could ever be involved in anything this great again. I always thought one day my aim is to make something great, and it felt like that happened,” he said. “It was actually some relief to go in the studio and make Blonde, the soundtrack for Andrew Dominik’s film.”
Ellis also went on to describe how the process of making the 2021 album Carnage provided an essential dose of “relief” that allowed him to embrace another project with Cave. “I realised it is about turning up and working and seeing what happens,” he said.
Ellis clearly regards Ghosteen as a once in a lifetime album. Indeed, he was very open about the fact that he “can’t imagine making another record like Ghosteen”. Commenting further, he added: “It’s very easy to get nervous in the studio and you go towards the things that scare you, the things you don’t recognise. That’s one thing. But the other thing is following them through to the end and making some bold decisions.
“I like the fact that Ghosteen totally eschewed anything people might’ve thought the band might’ve been about,” Ellis continued, before reflecting on what he described as the “extraordinary experience” of making the 2019 album: “In all honesty, I did think maybe this is the end, maybe Nick and I won’t do anything after that. We don’t just get in there. We have to feel like it’s going somewhere. I always know the day it’s not working is the day we’ll stop.”