Interview with The Guardian
Anyhow, Björk has been making Utopia since she finished her last tour. It started, she says, like many of her albums: as both a reaction against her previous album, and a following-on from it. Released in 2015, Vulnicura was bleak. It dived into the misery of her break-up with artist Matthew Barney, her long-term partner and father of her daughter, Isadora. Its centrepiece, Black Lake, had Björk at her most vulnerable and bitter, with lyrics such as “I am one wound, my pulsating suffering being… You fear my limitless emotions, I am bored of your apocalyptic obsessions… You have nothing to give, your heart is hollow.” “The saddest song I’ve ever written,” is how she describes it to me.
And so, for Björk, this meant that her new album had to be the opposite: “Optimistic,” she says, “non-narrative”; beautiful, universal.
“We did the final gigs for Vulnicura in Carnegie Hall,” she remembers, “and they were so tragic. Everybody who ever had a broken heart ever was there, and they were all telling me their stories. It was really sweet and, genuine, you know? And with the performances, I was like: ‘This has to be discreet, and treated with grace.’ But after the first one, I almost felt guilty. Because the whole room was crying and I was not. Me and Alejandro [Ghersi, AKA electronic artist Arca, who worked on Vulnicura] were guiltily drinking champagne in the back going: ‘Next time we’re going to have fun, OK?’ I wanted this album to go towards the light. You indulge in the grief to a certain point, but then you have to be a little bit Pollyanna.”