Michelle interviews her friend Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear for Interview’s October/November 2012 issue. The entire interview is available on the magazine’s official website.
WILLIAMS: I thought for a minute about taking a really ambitious trip this summer, and as it got closer, I realized, The last thing I want to do is get on an airplane. To me, a real vacation is to be at home and to have a routine and to be dependable again, to be the friend that can be called, that is around for the birthday party. So I’ve just had a very mellow, lo-fi few months. Actually, I think that the only time I really get the urge to work, that I feel that little spark start to ignite, is when I listen to music.
WILLIAMS: It’s really the only thing that makes me feel restless or creative or excited. I have a tendency toward melancholy music, so it’s playing in the house a lot. But then you realize when you’re raising somebody, how sensitive they are to all the influences that you bring to them. Once, I was listening to some music I really liked, and Matilda came in and said, “Mommy, it’s too sad. Turn it off.” It’s so interesting that when you’re young, you only want to feel good, but when you get older, somehow sad feels good.
DROSTE: Well, sometimes it’s just like this cathartic feeling that you have. Sad music is like a little journey you can take. But I think Shields is really less sad than some of our past albums. Don’t play Matilda our older stuff. [laughs] I wanted to ask you, didn’t you just recently finish working on a movie based on The Wizard of Oz?
WILLIAMS: I did. But I don’t have any plans to work for the rest of the year. One thing about having a kid, I find, is that it makes me very choosy about what I’m going to do because of the way you have to disentangle yourself from your life and from your habits. In that way, Oz [: The Great and Powerful] was so amazing for us, because it was the first project that I’d been involved in where Matilda could feel like she was involved in it, too. She always comes with me. We’re never separated, except Blue Valentine wasn’t an appropriate set for a kid.
DROSTE: But the Oz film is geared toward children.
WILLIAMS: It is totally geared toward children, which I was excited about. And Matilda was around the entire time. She was so thrilled to see her mom dress up like a fairy and to be the force of good. Matilda was so proud. She would say, “There are three witches: two bad ones, and there is only one good witch, and that is Mommy.” She really came with a sense of belief and possibility and magic. She thought that I could manifest bubbles and that I was a sorceress for good, so it was a really great head space to be in for six months.