Over at The Creative Independent, Brandon Stosuy chats with avant-pop icon, author, artist, cyclist, and all-around fascinating person David Byrne about trying new things and risking failure. Few established artistic figures have been as willing to venture outside their comfort zone as Byrne, so he's uniquely qualified to talk about the audacity and insouciance it takes to try your hand at something new. In the interview he also discusses his new immersive art installation Neurosociety. Here's an excerpt:
Do you think you’ve done enough things at this point, and have proven yourself in enough areas, that you’re seen as an artist in general, or do you still have to sometimes shake the perception of being a musician dabbling?
I think I’ve shaken that for the most part, yes. A lot of people are aware that I do different things beyond pop music, or whatever you want to call it. But, yes, there are other people I run into, and all they know are a few Talking Heads hits. There were times when that would’ve annoyed me like, “My life is a little bit more than that. I like those songs, too, but my life is more than something I did quite a number of years ago. It’s a little, tiny sliver of what I did.” But that’s fine, too.
For those contemplating doing a little bit of what I do, that kind of variety of things, I would say you need to be ever-vigilant. For example, a Talking Heads reunion might be incredibly successful for a specific generation, or maybe for many generations. It would make me a lot of money and get a lot of attention. It would also probably be quite a number of steps backwards as far as being perceived as someone who does a lot of different things. For that reason, I feel like I have to sacrifice something, whether it’s money or name recognition or whatever, in order to be able to do a little bit more of what I’d want to do. In other words, you can’t have it all.
Image: Talking Heads in 1977. Via AV Club.