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When we met up after he performed a show to launch the new album in London, Lisa Hannigan—Damien's old partner in music and love—ironically started playing in the background. Then, with a quick smile, he was on to telling his next story.
Just then Rick Rubin entered the room, accompanied, it seemed, by a gust of restorative energy.
The two were seated on a spacious lawn with a clear view of the ocean; Rice curled into a wooden chair, his bare feet tucked beneath him.
"That's when I took the shovel and started digging the hole."The pleasure of making music, he went on, had been overwhelmed by all he resented about being a professional musician: the pressure, the compromises, the glad-handing. He was still writing songs privately, but he wasn't happy with them — certainly not happy enough to venture back into public view.
Though he had collected a number of demos over the years since 9, it wasn’t until Rice enlisted the assistance of producer Rick Rubin in early 2013 that his recording efforts really started to creatively coalesce.
Laying down tracks in Malibu and finishing in Reykjavik, Iceland, “Rick helped me to put away the self-critical whip,” Rice says. I had spent years beating myself up, and Rick has a masterful skill at pulling you out of you.” The resulting eight tracks of My Favourite Faded Fantasy comprise a beautifully orchestrated, vulnerable work, swelling with lamentation and resignation, and the feeling that experience, no matter how emotionally brutal, contributes to our own betterment.