Another new interview with Robert, this one in Time Out London. Some excerpts:
Let’s talk about Meltdown. Have you been to Meltdown shows as a fan before?
'I came to see Bowie when he put on his Meltdown [in 2002]. I saw all his [Meltdown] shows, actually. And I saw Tricky one year. I think the curator was… Oh, I’m terrible. Reggae bloke, wears a tinfoil hat.’
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry?
'Yes! I saw Tricky at that festival. It was one of the weirdest backstages I’ve ever been to in my life – you could cut through the smoke with a knife. So yeah, I’ve been to a few over the years, and it’s an honour to be able to put it together.'
Does it feel weird doing something like this solo, not as The Cure?
'I’ve never done anything this public where it’s just me. It wasn’t how I intended it at all – it was going to be The Cure’s Meltdown. But this big Hyde Park show came up at the same time and they were very iffy about exclusivity, so it became my Meltdown. It’s actually a good thing, because it would have been utterly impractical to have a five-piece curating a festival. We can’t even agree what to listen to on a tour bus.’
A lot of the bands you’ve picked are from the same sort of era and genre. Was that deliberate?
'I wasn’t trying to be everything to everyone. I listen to loads of stuff, and none of it’s suitable for Meltdown – if I started to bring it all in, it’d be a right hotch-potch. So I limited it to bands that were really great live bands. I’ve always been drawn to more emotional music, and they all wear their hearts on their sleeve.’
They’re major acts too.
'I went on Wikipedia and looked at everyone else’s line-ups and thought: Right, I’ll just aim ridiculously high. So my first invitation was to The Rolling Stones. They knocked me back,
but my next shortlist of acts all said yes, which I was incredibly honoured by.’
You announced Frightened Rabbit for the line-up a month before the tragic death of their frontman Scott Hutchison. How did that make you feel?
'It’s awful. They were one of the bands that I was really, really looking forward to seeing. I’ve been listening to them for ten years. I’ve never met him, but I feel I know him because of his voice.’
I’ve heard that you want to watch every single band at the festival. Is that possible?
'Theoretically it’s possible. I’m not sure if it’s physically or mentally possible, but I intend to try. How I will feel by day six, I’m not sure.’
And what are you planning for your own show: Curætion 25?
'The show that I’m constructing for the final night is utterly different to anything we’ve done for a long time. There was something on the website saying the audience is encouraged to stand. I was like, hold on! I’m putting together a show that is utterly morose! Hyde Park’s a big festival vibe, Meltdown’s going to be two hours of doom and gloom. We probably won’t be playing the big singles.’
Did you expect to still be playing shows at all, at nearly 60?
'No. If I had ever been intent on being the number one band in the world and was still relentlessly banging my head against that particular wall, I would hopefully be dead – and if not, I would just be a moron. The process was what I enjoyed: to be an artist, if I want to be poncy about it. Everything The Cure’s ever done is purely selfish. I’ve only got one life, and I should really be doing stuff that brings me satisfaction. Anyway, one day my hair will all fall out and I won’t look gothic any more. So just wait for that.’