In a new interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Stipe revealed that he’s been writing again for the fist time since his band split and that he has a bunch of songs ready to go.
“For five years I’d had a clean break from music,” he said. “Now I’m writing, composing and recording all by myself and for the first time.” He added that “18 songs are already ready.”
New material from Stipe has been teased via a 40-second song snippet, ‘Future, If Future’, and during his surprise opening for Patti Smith in May where he performed two new songs: ‘Your Capricious Soul’ and ‘Drive to the Ocean.’
Last year, Stipe worked on an exhibition in New York and shared a picture of himself holding hands with Thom Yorke after the Radiohead frontman visited the exhibition.
The “Infinity Mirror” exhibition was inspired by his art book, Volume 1, which according to Williamsburg’s Journal Gallery, where the exhibit is on display, “further expands on his use of photo-based practices to explore the 1970s as a formative decade through its cultural impact on his coming of age, and subsequently, the manner in which its influence informed the creative work he went on to create, both privately and as a public figure.”
On June 11, R.E.M. put out a statement on social media: “We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any,” it read. “We will detail further as and when.”
Hundreds of artists lost their recordings in the blaze and the story notes it’s likely that many of them were, until the article’s publication, kept in the dark.
The New York Times article quotes a Universal Music Group spokesperson who said the company “doesn’t publicly discuss our private conversations with artists and estates.”