posted on May 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm

i have 2 daughters here
eve and aurora
eve is all intuition
eve was making models of the opera house
with play-dough and clothes pegs at 3
she sits down and she does things
she never questions herself
she never asks can i do this …she does it
give her complicated instructions tho…..!?
aurora her twin and her opposite
she thinks things thru
this leads to some self-doubt and second guessing
as well as some very pithy ideas
everyone has these 2 sides
one dominating more than the other
me….im an aurora
not enough eve in steve
gee i wonder where she got her intuitive gifts
but i do have the intuition
it struggles underneath the intellect to be heard
nurture the weakest …be it intuition or intellect
dont underestimate yourself
i find everything in this world is 90 % bluff
so go ahead bluff yourself
i do
i say hey killer bet you cant do a great blah blah now
but look
im churning stuff out
funny thing
the more you do of whatever
the better you (should) get
thats right practice makes perfect
as it must be
when i first starting playing
i was pressing down so hard
my fingers traversed instruments like sausages
i tried to think it all out
remember songs like they were a test at school
i tried too hard i gave too little out
my hands n arms froze up
i still can get spooked playing and freeze a little
no one is immune
anyone can make a mistake
have a good look at the mistakes
is it possible a mistake could contain the seeds of your
great leap forward?
dont show your work or play your songs to ninnies who wont understand
my heart was broken over n over in my earliest days of 4 tracking
i’d play my weird stuff to ninnies who wouldnt know a can record
from a can of beans
if you want feedback avoid people who dont understand your genre
sneak up on yourself
thats right
come upon yourself unaware
and snatch whatever you see from the thin air
i tell you the world is full of things ready to be converted into art
i was painting some clouds on my latest painting
they werent looking good
its hard to imitate natures random patterns convincingly
i look up
blow me down
there are some clouds drifting by
ah…now i see the way it should be
thank you up there
dont despair…its the worst thing
evie ..she never despairs
she just sits down in utter faith
no one has ever told her she couldnt draw something
and she’s never told herself
her drawings become more and more ornamental and wild
she just follows them along
seemingly unquestioningly she makes stylistic breakthroughs
one by one the childish things disappear from her work
and start to move in an unmistakable artistic flow
she jumps on Word and starts banging out a beautiful story
Fox with his red flaming eyes and cold heart….it begins
she just follows some dialogue in her head (presumably)
she sings in a lovely voice with vibrato
but again she doesnt think about it
aurora meanwhile sometimes struggles copying what eve does
or doubting her self too much
even presenting her stuff in a more pessimistic way
eve just goes:here dad
but aurora has a bit of a explanation preamble
and an unconfident attitude
yet it seems she would superficially be the more gifted twin
she can analyze art or music more eloquently than eve
but evie has that self belief and thats the main thing
i write this not to write about my children today
but as an example of where you coming from
and how it affects where you will go
you can take almost anything and turn it into something
eve does
she takes pizza boxes and makes little laptop computers for example
whatever elements at hand work with em
dont blame your tools or lack of time
dont blame your art materials…use their cheapness to exploit some new thing
dont blame your dodgy studio…feature its faults
dont get hung up on peripheral stuff
dont waste time arguing with ninnies
if you have a vision , insist or walk out
believe me
people’ll try to fuck with your creative trip
jealous people
people with no faith
remain steadfast
incorporate valid suggestions if any
take your 3 biggest heroes
say johnny lennon, rimbaud and vinny van go go
can you believe they were just blokes sitting down
with silent instruments and blank paper or canvasses
before they made that big jump into the unknown
thats right
with only access to the same old ingredients
they just sat down n started
a note
a word
a dab
now take these masterpieces you pay homage to
and dissect em
oh its hard isnt it ?
their brilliance tends to dazzle the admirer
you gotta look long and hard to see how it was done
be aware of techniques being used
see why this has emotional resonance with you
look at combinations and juxtapositions
what are the elements that make these song/poems/paintings classic?
can you imitate ? can you approximate?
is there room in this for your own innovations?
or is this your opposite?
will you work with this as a negative
replacing elements with their opposites?
can you take just one small thing they did and blow it up?
can you imagine what they would do next?
imagine youre one of them
write like them
paint like them
dont weaken yourself with doubt
i really believe that everything i do will be good
and most of it is
dont give up on things right before the breakthrough
but dont waste time on things going nowhere
in your heart of hearts hold a brutally high standard
for yourself and for others
there is room for more good art
people are demanding more good stuff
it hasnt all been done
it can never all be done
the possibilities of art are infinite
its combinations and re-combinations are endless
move forward
pull your idols work apart bit by bit
put it back together your own
listen to the great collective unconscious
respect archetypal forms and shapes
but be prepared to abandon all rules
if necessary
use common sense
dont let art baffle ya
i believe in you

36 Responses to “i believe in you”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 May 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    Beautiful and reassuring indeed. Speaking of art… caught Marty in Portland and listening to his new Nightjar album ever since now. Perhaps we are reading too much between the lines with regard to the lyrics Steve but now I do ask the next Church album going to be the last Steve? Is Marty The Sniper and the target The Church? Please say it isn’t so.


  2. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 May 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    some folks like to make believe that the make believe world is make believe…:D..whereas,it’s a well known fact,that it is reality.your daughters seem charming n enchanting..glad to know that there’s more kilbeys on the horizon.if everybody looked the same,we’d get tired of looking at each other.:-) x spot on blogge today SK.thanks.:)

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 May 2008 at 11:07 pm #

    You always write from some place in your heart but today you wrote with ALL of it. Your daughters are very lucky to have you as their dad. I wish you were my father and that these words were meant for me.
    MungoPushul x

  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 May 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    within the collective all possibilities in art are infinite….
    thank you Steve…it’s what i needed to hear from you today

  5. avatar
    nickfiction | 16 May 2008 at 11:42 pm #

    i just discovered in time that MWP is playing here in cleveland tomorrow night, any other Ohioans going? see ya there! NF

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 May 2008 at 11:51 pm #

    he is your father Mungo and the words are meant for you

  7. avatar
    davem | 16 May 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    I SO believe in you. Totally have done for 26 years. Like NO other. Not Lennon or Morrison or Hendrix.
    I remember being drawn into your world….the imagery n landscapes and then that piece of bass in the break on Memories In Future Tense where you go “yawn…I can do that white new romantic funk thang too…but…listen to the words and the space and the magic, stay with me for the journey” It blew me away aged 17, the man can play but chooses to let the songs breathe and morph,,,,, you are a GENIUS! It blows me away every day. No joke, every day.

  8. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 17 May 2008 at 1:35 am #


    A few hours ago I met this very charismatic, well-dressed and cerbral CHurch fan in the Chicago subway. I thought he approached me to hit on the sexy chick next to me. Instead, he asked if my angel T-SHirt (under my suitcoat) was a Church T-Shirt. I said yes. He replied that he saw a very good MWP show a few nights ago with about 50 other people. He’s been a diehard Church fan since 1981 and was mortified when I told him that I don’t care for The Blurred Crusade. He’s seen the Church live several times. He mentioned that when The Church are on they’re the best live band in the industry. He also said The Church has off nights too. The conversation was awesome and invigorating.

    Any way if that dude was a chick I would not be home now. It would have been vegan dinner, many drinks and a new found love for The Blurred Crusade.

  9. avatar
    Ross B | 17 May 2008 at 2:27 am #

    Steve thank you for your practical and inspiring tips last couple of days!

    Have a good day all, R.

  10. avatar
    ...being here, doing this... | 17 May 2008 at 2:42 am #


    I remember hearing the story of a child who wanted to know why their parent was going to art class.

    “I want to learn how to draw and paint and be creative” was the response

    To which the little girl replied, quite perplexed….
    “Why do you need to learn it? Did you forget how to do it?”

    If we’re not careful, this world can teach us to reject the natural for the contrived.

    Reject things of the heart for things of the head

    Reject the obvious for the complicated.

    Until we no longer remember who we really are.

    That’s where the artist and the mystic come in

    They help to reawaken and remind…

    the sleeping beauty within


  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 3:09 am #

    I wish I was an Eve.
    Oh man…how life would be so much easier to be an Eve.
    Unfortunately…I’m an Aurora.
    I guess second guessing one’s self isn’t all THAT bad.
    But I so wish I had that F**k it and jump mentality sometimes.
    I have disected the great works by my heroes on occasion.
    It can be fascinating and extremely rewarding time spent.
    Along with being extremely helpful in your own endeavors.
    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Tampa, Fl

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 7:24 am #

    Steve, I am one of those invisible readers who tunes in daily but has never posted before. I have 3 daughters and know what you are talking about. I see it most in the public schools here. There’s no room for daydreamers or creative spirits. Its stay in line and do as your told so you can grow up to miserable. I adore watching my girls (who are 1 1/2, 7 1/2 and 9 1/2) express themselves and exhibit there talents. Cheers mate for a great post and keep it up. Fan since 87. John.

  13. avatar
    the dean | 17 May 2008 at 7:53 am #

    I take this very personally.


  14. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 9:08 am #

    What the hell is this about Marty’s album and words about ending the band???? I can’t find the record on iTunes and wonder what the hell Jen is talking about.

  15. avatar
    persephone2u | 17 May 2008 at 9:28 am #

    I’m super intuitive but am DEFINITELY an Aurora. It remains to be seen what my baby Lucien shall be, but I have my suspicions! He’s an Oct. 23rd Libra, but right on the cusp of Scorpio and is both sweet and very intense at times.

  16. avatar
    lian | 17 May 2008 at 9:49 am #

    to Jen,
    today i asked a most stupid question in my life, but I reckon your question is even more stupid than mine.

    fools often talking about art as if they know something about it. There are so many fools around here i can see, except those who are not.

    I’m a fool I know, cause today I talked about something I dont really know. But being a fool is not a crime, the real crime is you are a fool but you are so full of self belief. That’s the worst thing.

  17. avatar
    captain mission | 17 May 2008 at 10:20 am #

    amazing, i so need this right now, i can’t tell you how grateful i am.

  18. avatar
    verdelay | 17 May 2008 at 11:02 am #

    In my bedchamber, my salon, designed by an opiated Hector Horta, in extremis art nouveau

    There are frescos around the walls, a collaboration between Gustav Klimt and Xul Solar. Watersnakes and womanflesh undulate, rubies and emeralds spill, a giant serpent exhales a hurricane

    An open fire roars, and my ocelots curl around each other in sensuous slumber. Purples and reds and my carved mahogany bookcase. Golden spines

    Leonard Cohen as a young man sits in a high-backed chair reading me a short story by Italo Calvino. His raincoat is rumpled and stained

    Outside the rain thunders and the jungle writhes

    The Witch Queen of Narnia arrives with mugs of hot chocolate for Leonard and I. He eyes her hungrily, she absorbs his look

    Jeanette Winterson materialises from one of the frescos on the wall in the form of an elfin princess with webbed feet; she and the Witch Queen hit it off immediately, chatting about this and that. Art and metaphysics, mostly

    Leonard smiles knowingly at me and, we watch them and sup our steaming chocolate drinks

    It is summer and winter at the same time. The sun rises and sets simultaneously

    A trail of rose gold is stained across the cobalt sky. I hear the sea and feel the cold, cold stars

    Ancient chocolate spirits start to take hold of me. The room vibrates. Leonard reads me a passage from his latest work, the Calmer Sutra

    I feel the world breathe from deep inside me. As my body starts to fade, my mind radiates wildly

    The comfortable velvet blankets rise and fall in oceanic certitude

    I am under the influence

  19. avatar
    steve kilbey | 17 May 2008 at 11:07 am #

    thats very very nice

  20. avatar
    fantasticandy | 17 May 2008 at 11:26 am #

    you will never de-mystifiy yourself…no matter how hard you try!
    these talents ARE a gift.
    you will never know…

    the discovery of real love..both internal and external has sharpened your focus even further,
    maybe your art is part of your search for ‘yourself’?
    although your’e VERY clever with words…they still limit your expression in some way.
    with your music you are totally free….
    your paintings too….

    i don’t know wether this quite magnificent blog was a direct response to my ‘dont over-analyse’
    comment yesterday,
    but i know you do read many of our entries……
    interaction with an artistic genius
    is a pretty cool thing!
    have a splendid weekend mr. kilbey and family.
    andy L.

    p.s. if anyone is interested iv’e just posted six new works on the ‘dudes’ myspace page.
    i know i’m a sod hijacking this space to pimp our stuff….
    sorry esskay!

  21. avatar
    golden thorn in my paw | 17 May 2008 at 11:26 am #

    Thanks for your utter unbridled generosity.

    Ok my living trinity of rock, Kilbey, Duli, Goldfrapp, both Alison and the other guy. Creatively they may be different on the surface, but what I think unites them is their honesty and the trust they have in their vision despite what’s going on around them. Openness to their own vulnerability, which they express wonderfully through their art

    Kilbey is able to test this to the limit where the human imagination can go in terms of painting with words; there are no other cats that do that living or dead, with the same amount of warmth and color. I know you’ve got yer Bowies, yer Bolans, and yer Dylans. Wait a minute ok Lennon would let you in occasionally so does Bolan. Ok theory shattered. But they aint around anymore.

    Real good each one, but their can be an aloofness that keeps the listener out. I’m not saying that Kilbey can’t fire up the enigma machine when need be, but the glimpse in to a heart that can open is often there. The first famous song he did although I say this unguarded moment exemplified the poet’s dilemma beautify. Man or the mask. This idea kept Wilde and Yeats tooing and frooing throughout their career

    Duli is deeply intimate with the shadow and artistically is more honest than most about the side of him that wants to eat the world whole. Again this is done with a warmth and compassion that lets the listener in. He is often deeply aware of his dilemmas and limitations, making his songs feel like a psalms or a pleading with god. He often feels shut out expresses a desire to be let back in. Other times there is no interest in anything but seizing the moment. Sounds a lot like a good expression of the human condition to me

    Goldrafrapp, have nailed something quite profound with their new record, that music on a popular level has not done in a long time, the power to sooth, as well as stimulate the imagination. She has the courage to express genuine vulnerability. Her voice often comes from that place that we all first learned to make music. She stuck with it she trusted her own judgement.

    That to me is what they three have in common, although they can build a wonderful temples and fortresses with their words they trust themselves and they have openness to their own vulnerabilities and failings, and they work with that side of themselves really beautifully through their music.

  22. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 17 May 2008 at 11:29 am #

    it’s fascinating to watch a class of children create artwork…some are like your eve and create stunning work without blinking an eye…they are on a tide of creating, others sweat and construct and want precision, others sit and look dispairingly at the blank paper until you give them something on the paper or an idea to work with, and others don’t give a damn about being creative…they want to finish as quickly as possible so they can play with the toys in the toy corner…

    i heard a couple of songs by a band called V.A.S.T. last night and they were amazing…blew me away…can anybody tell me if the rest of their body of work is as good as ‘touched’ as i may invest in some of their albums…
    love always…

  23. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 17 May 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s all about believing in oneself no matter what. I am im the process of writing my first screenplay (I’m a freelance copywriter), and I have had my ups and downs in terms of believing in myself, but all in all I feel quite confident that I am going to complete it sooner or later, and that it’ll be a strong scipt…

  24. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    life is a fucking great experiment mate…we all get quite a few go’s at it when put in perspective…im 40 and just starting to be detached enough to try things out…the confidence comes and goes but it’s a relatively linear increase….


  25. avatar
    matthew | 17 May 2008 at 2:15 pm #

    Encouraging, thanks SK.

  26. avatar
    A.M. Polydora | 17 May 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    “Any way if that dude was a chick I would not be home now. It would have been vegan dinner, many drinks and a new found love for The Blurred Crusade.”

    LOL, Mr. Comerford, that combination makes me wish it were me you ran into in the subway!

    What could be sexier or more enticing than a vegan dinner, drinks, and a little Blurred Crusade? Seems like the best pick-up combo out there.

    What a little nut I am.

  27. avatar
    veleska1970 | 17 May 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    sage advice today, steve. and thank you for it.

    lotza love…..

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 6:17 pm #


    i absolutely love this one. what great & true words. happy weekend to all !



  29. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    I believe in You . xo 🙂

  30. avatar
    syrinx | 17 May 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    This Saturday blog is the best thing I’m going to encounter all weekend – in the “nowhere to go but up” department, this is the upmost.

    Thanks. 😀

  31. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 17 May 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    La Polydora:

    U have inspired me to embrace The Blurred Crusade.


    Squirrels are wondrous and intelligent creatures of God. I’m happy that you and your family enjoy them. All life is sacred !!!!!Even mine?????????????????

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    BC:You are priceless,immaculate,and divine.-a secret admirer.xo 🙂

  33. avatar
    jaytee | 18 May 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Thanks Steve I am actually feeling a lot more motivated after reading that, now to see if that leads to me becoming more productive.

  34. avatar
    golden thorn in my paw | 18 May 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    thanks, what ever your chanelling, I’m inspired. thanks for sharing all your dahrma.

  35. avatar
    CSTCoach | 20 May 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    “dont waste time arguing with ninnies
    if you have a vision , insist or walk out”

    some of the sagest advice ever written.

  36. avatar
    starspringsf | 24 May 2008 at 12:40 am #

    Love this entire post. I love how you get to the core of how to go forward being an artist. truly inspirational words that resonate so well while I spend time compiling my summer show. What a recharge.

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