Earth Intruders

Was "Earth Intruders" fun to record ?

Yeah it was, it was actually the first track me and Timbaland did together. The way we worked was very quick. He would just throw beats, and he’s got this guy that works with him called Nate, and he would just do basslines or whatever, it was very very immediate. One minute later I’m singing a melody on top of it, and three hours later we had full songs. It was very quick.

That particular track is probably about me coincidentally being in Indonesia just before that. I had been invited by Unicef to visit the areas hit hardest by the tsunami. I was there for a few days, and I just sucked it all up, I couldn’t even react to it, it was just too much. And then I had to take several airplanes and go to New York, and in a fit of jet lag, trying to sleep in airplanes, I had this dream. I dreamt that a tsunami of people would go over the airplane and hit the whitehouse and sort of scrape it off its ground. And as I was in the dream, I was looking up at the floor tiles. Because that was somehting that was really weird in Indonesia, that you could see how a whole town was just scraped off the ground, but you could still see the floortiles and go, "This is the bedroom, this is the bathroom..." And all the mud and the bones, and people still digging out with teaspoons finding toys. I was with a woman who found her mom’s favorite dress there, her crying while pulling it out of the mud. It was pretty fierce. So this dream is like some peculiar naive fantasy, that maybe a tsunami of people will take over the white house and correct it all. But it’s a very chaotic song. It’s kind of hard for me to put into words, because obviously at the end of the day it was nature that created this event. Also Unicef was showing a lot of pamphlets about aids in Africa and I was looking at all that when I was falling asleep. Trying to convince me to go do something there. And the war in Iraq doesn’t exactly help the state of the world. So maybe this song is a sort of a mega-mix [laughs] of those themes. It’s a lot of things to be in one little song, but sorry, it’s a bit of a chaotic song. It’s speculation on the human tribe, globalization, that we all are. We are just a human tribe, and we’re just trying to deal.

XFM interview, April 2007