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Warren Ellis feared ‘Ghosteen’ would be the end of collaboration with Nick Cave

'Ghosteen' was met with widespread critical acclaim

By Emma Kelly

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Warren Ellis (far right) worried that 'Ghosteen' would be the end of his and Cave's collaboration. (Photo: Cat Stevens)

Warren Ellis thought the making of ‘Ghosteen’ could have been the end of his collaboration with Nick Cave.

The 2019 album was produced by Cave and Ellis and was one of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ most critically acclaimed albums to date.

The widespread praise left Ellis feeling that he would not be involved in anything “this great again”, and was “spooked”.

Speaking to Stereogum, the 56-year-old said: “’Ghosteen’ felt like such a bold exercise, this commitment to something. I got spooked by it and I thought it was the end of our collaboration. I’d always thought in my head, ‘One day we’ll do something really great.’ 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.”

Ellis said that it was a relief making the music for Andrew Dominik’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic ‘Blonde’ and his and Cave’s 2021 album ‘Carnage’, explaining: “I realised it is about turning up and working and seeing what happens.”

Calling the making of ‘Ghosteen’ an “extraordinary experience”, he added: “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.”

Ghosteen explored loss, death and existentialism, following the accidental death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur in 2015.

Eillis will be heading on the road with Cave in North America next year, kicking off in North Carolina on March 1 and playing 17 dates, concluding with two nights in Montreal.

This will be the pair’s first North American tour as a duo.

The Bad Seeds are also going on tour in 2022, with festival dates beginning in June.