My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (2018) s04e01 Episode Script

Billie Eilish

-[Letterman] I'm not good at this.
-[Billie] You'll be good.
We'll see. I'm already perspiring.
Green flags mean go.
What does this one mean?
It's time for dinner.
[man 1] Have fun, be safe.
[man 2] Good luck.
-[man 1] Push and hold the gas.
-[Billie] Go, Dave.
Go. Go, motherfucker!
[Letterman] I'd like to make a report
to race control.
Someone called me a motherfucker.
-[man 3] This one?
[audience cheering]
[theme music playing]
[man] Standing by, stand by.
[woman speaking indistinctly]
-[Letterman] Hi, Billie. How are you?
-How you doing?
[speaking indistinctly]
Cute sweater.
-I love that color.
-Thank you. That's very kind.
[woman] Okay, you're good.
Thank you!
[indistinct background chatter]
-[Letterman] The fly.
-There he goes.
How much trouble
you think that's gonna cause?
-A lot.
Scream as loud as you possibly can!
[audience screaming]
[screaming continues]
[Letterman] I have seen your concerts.
-One in, I think, Leeds.
-[Billie] Uh-huh.
[Letterman] And I saw one in Moscow.
It's you onstage, Finneas,
-and your drummer, Andrew.
-[Billie] Yes.
-[Letterman] And a sea of people.
-[Billie] Mm-hmm.
[Letterman] And the stage is so quiet,
and the commanding power
that emulates from you
and the music is stunning.
Do you remember the first time
you recognized, and it is a power
That's That's the wrong word,
because "power" suggests
that it's manipulative,
and it's not manipulative at all.
-[Billie] Mm-mm.
-But when you first experienced it
When I first experienced that many people
and that, like, magical a moment,
it was after
I'd been doing a lot of shows.
They were just small
and laid back and cute.
-You could still get the same thing
-[Billie] Absolutely.
There was a festival called CRSSD,
um, and I went when I was like newly 14.
I had just put out music, I had
-Fourteen? Oh, man.
-[Billie] Yeah. Yeah.
[laughs] I know!
Um, and I couldn't believe
I was doing a show at all.
I never thought I would do a show.
It wasn't something I planned on doing
'cause I didn't think about all the things
that go into just making a song
and putting it out.
If it gets popular, what do you do?
I didn't think about that.
I got on stage,
and there were, I think, four girls
standing in the front,
up against the barricade.
Maybe, like, a few staggered people
-across an enormous field.
-[Letterman chuckles]
-Is this night or day?
Day? Oh, the worst! The worst.
-Oh, yeah. It was 11:00.
-[Letterman laughs]
And, um, I couldn't have cared less.
Like, "Hell, yeah! Oh my God!
They're here to see me. So cool!"
When I sang "ocean eyes,"
which was like the only song
anybody barely even knew at the time,
they sang along to the chorus,
and I almost barfed out of excitement.
-When everybody starts singing with you,
uh, in the beginning,
did that take you aback?
Or did you think, "Oh, this is great.
I can take the night off"?
-"They're doing the work."
-That. That.
[Letterman laughs]
It actually came in handy
because when I started touring, I was 14.
And I was constantly getting sick,
'cause my little stupid undeveloped self
didn't have a very good immune system.
I wasn't going anywhere, doing anything.
That stuff is not easy. It's so grueling.
I know! And I you know, I would have
to wake up early and go to bed late,
and be meeting a million people,
and so I would constantly lose my voice.
And, uh, it actually was great,
'cause the fans would sing so loud,
like, it barely mattered
that I lost my voice.
[gentle music playing]
[Letterman] Meeting your brother
and your parents,
I just loved that experience.
Would you be who you are, what you are,
would Finneas be who he is, what he is,
if you were raised by other parents?
[Billie] No, we wouldn't be.
Almost everything you are,
and not everything,
but almost everything you are
is, like, based on how you were raised.
You think so?
I think 65-70% of you.
I maintain that I'd still be
talking to you here
if your next-door neighbors raised you.
-Not to diminish what your parents did.
I think what your parents did
is admirable.
[Billie] That's so interesting.
And clearly has an effect on
who would you and Finneas are.
But when my son was born,
I wanted him to be [chuckles]
Listen to this.
I wanted him to be just like me.
-Well, guess what? And thank God.
Billie and Eilish, that's the name
Your parents selected that name
because it's from an Irish pair of twins.
Yeah. I was going to be named
Eilish O'Connell,
the most Irish thing ever.
-That's beautiful. Eilish O'Connell.
-Eilish O'Connell.
-Your parents are so cool.
-I love my parents.
My parents, "Uh, Dave?"
-And that was it. Uh
-[laughs] Dave.
[gentle electronic music plays]
[Finneas] I couldn't be more proud
of every song that I've made with you.
There's a lot of bullshit articles
about me now,
about how I'm not
"just Billie Eilish's brother."
And just being Billie Eilish's brother
is all I ever want to be.
[audience cheering and applauding]
-[Letterman] This is a beautiful house.
-[Finneas] Thank you very much.
-Thank you for coming over.
-No, no, no, thank you.
As a family, we've watched you,
in as many formats, for years.
-[Letterman] Is he lying?
-[Billie] No.
Look at how quick she said that.
-She wouldn't have if I was lying.
-He's not.
I've watched all of My Next Guest.
I love it.
-My mom is out there quivering.
-[Finneas] She is, yeah.
This is our first time back in this room
since we finished the album in February.
It's sad because the making
of Happier Than Ever
was the most fun experience in the world,
then we had a bunch of stuff to do.
We didn't have an album to make,
so we weren't here.
We saw each other non-stop
for a year, making the album.
As soon as it was done,
there wasn't an excuse for us to hang out.
[Letterman] So you
have 100 pianos in here.
I pick out one,
you'll ship it to the house?
-That what it is?
-[Billie laughs]
-They're all for sale.
-[Letterman laughs]
[Letterman] What do you call that board
that you're sitting in front of?
So this is just a desk.
I have my my keyboard, piano keyboard.
And then the screen is what Billie
and I look at, up there.
And this setup allows her to point past me
to like, "That thing right there on"
'Cause then you can see
Pointing to something
that, in actuality, is a sound.
Right, exactly. A track.
You must always be writing songs.
He, for sure, is.
Finneas He's not gonna say it,
but he's been an incredible songwriter
since the moment he started writing songs,
and I am not. And I can prove it!
-[Finneas] That's not true.
-I can literally prove it.
I don't want to play them for you,
but so many terrible songs.
They're not
Okay, his version of "terrible"
is like the best song I had written ever.
I believe what you're both saying.
Successful teams, invariably,
perhaps not permanently,
but there might be a fissure.
Have we ever come close to that?
Do you ever ponder that?
I do make music under my own name
and put that out as well.
And Billie puts music out
under her own name.
And if she ever wanted
to make a project without me,
-that would be completely understandable.
-[Letterman] Sure.
Um, but I'll I'll make stuff with her
-as long as she wants to.
-[Letterman] Right.
[Finneas] The best stuff I've ever made
has been with Billie.
Me, too.
To me, the thing that's the best
in terms of collaborating is
that I'm really sensitive.
-So, like, if a friend of mine
-That's for sure.
-[Billie] Go on.
Just sensitive as a human on this planet?
-Yeah. Just sensitive in general.
-[Billie] Yes!
If a friend of mine
said something critical,
I would take it as a personal assault
of who I am as a person.
Billie and I
have so much love for each other,
it's impossible to see it that way.
I know it's just about the song.
I-I don't know how you build a song.
Are you constantly walking around,
"Oh, that's a song"?
[stammering] Does it drive you nuts?
-When I was writing jokes
-[Finneas] Yeah.
Uh, I found that the
the jokes that just came to me
were the better jokes
than the ones I would sit down
-It's the same.
-[Billie] Absolutely.
For me, I like that you're asking that.
It sounds like you actually
want to know, which I like. [chuckles]
Well, now I didn't drive all the way
out here because I'm pretending.
[Billie laughs] Um
I don't know how to describe it.
It doesn't
It doesn't feel like I do it.
Like, I have a weird, um
[deep breath]
What's it called? Something syndrome?
The identity What's it called?
-Impostor syndrome?
-Impostor syndrome.
I feel like sometimes I'm an impostor.
Like I'm pretending
to be a celebrity sometimes.
I know a little bit about this.
I was talking to a woman,
a very successful woman in television
many, many years ago.
And she and I acknowledged
that we both had the sensation
that ooh, we're here by mistake.
-Soon someone will say, "Time to go."
That's what I mean!
I feel like I somehow managed
to, uh to pretend that I was a celebrity
for so long that I became one.
Right. Well, I'll tell you something,
that's a good side of this to be on.
-[Billie] True.
-There are people
who leap to the other side of it,
and they become incorrigible.
-They become just jerks.
-[Billie] Yeah.
We can all agree there's no shortage
of jerks in show business.
That is quite a fact.
By the way, your car needs washing.
I know! Did you all walk by it
and think that?
Cool. Would you wash your car
or would you take
[Billie] I do all of it.
I use rags that have been
in our family for 100 years
-that we call diapers because our parents
-[Letterman chuckles]
-I've never talked about that. [laughs]
-[Finneas laughs]
-They used these, um
-[Finneas] Diaper rags.
Diaper rags on us as as kids.
So we didn't use the, like, disposable.
No, no, I'm from the diaper rag
[Billie] We wash everything
with diaper rags.
[Letterman] Yeah, cotton squares.
So all of our baby poop, little particles,
probably on my car.
[Letterman and Finneas laugh]
-I must say this is just great.
-It's so sweet.
-Being here is great.
-It's really cool to have you.
-Oh, yeah. Sure it is.
-Wait'll stuff turns up missing.
-[chuckles] Oh my God.
Would you like a keyboards.
I have a surplus.
[enchanting electronic music playing]
[Letterman] Is this the most carefree time
in your life?
Or did you have a carefree time
in your life?
I had a carefree time in my life
until I got out of college
and realized, "Oh my God. I'm on my own."
Honestly, lately, I've been having
this weird kind of
[sighs] I guess, identity crisis.
That I don't think is because of
fame or anything.
I think it's because I'm like,
literally, like, where I am in my life,
um, age-wise, growth-wise.
Just like development-wise.
And honestly, like,
I don't know. It's so
I don't even know
how to put it into words. Like
It's really, really weird
to grow up on camera.
Really weird to grow up, period.
-With this weird, gross thing on top.
-[Letterman] Microscope.
-Hanging on top.
Looking back on it,
were you ever just a happy-go
Were you a good or a bad kid?
[smacks lips] I wasn't really either.
I was I was like a good kid.
Like, I wasn't, like, a shithead.
But, um, you know. Like, I guess
I would say that I had good judgment.
-I just didn't always follow it.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
-I always knew what was right and wrong.
-[Letterman] That's kids.
I just didn't want to do the right thing.
Pretty much the description of kids.
I never have done drugs
or really drank at all in my life.
When were you finished homeschooling?
What level of school?
Not really ever.
Still going on, in a way.
Yeah. The way we home-schooled
was not, like, "Sit at a table."
"Do homework, read, do this."
It was, like, throughout life,
and, like, learning, and taking classes,
and, like, you know,
reading books together.
And it wasn't it didn't feel
like, uh, work really,
-it felt like learning.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
And there's a difference.
Oh, absolutely. I can tell just
from the time I spent with the two of you,
that you guys are wildly smart
and quite worldly.
[laughs] Thank you.
[Letterman] And lacking
in no sense of education.
[ambient electronic music playing]
-Here's you in the green hair.
-Who is that there?
-[Billie] That's my dad.
Know what? It looks like it could be me.
[Billie] It does.
You guys are the same height too.
-[Letterman] Can I tell people it's me?
-[Billie] Absolutely.
This is from a book
of thousands of collections
-of photographs of you.
-[Billie] Mm-hmm.
When we were go-karting,
I thought you were my dad once.
I yelled at you thinking it was my dad.
-What did you call your father?
-I also yelled at you as you.
What did you say to your father?
I didn't say that to my father.
I said that to you.
[Letterman] Mm-hmm. Okay.
[ambient electronic music playing]
[Letterman] I was excited,
thrilled, and very surprised
about your early influences, musically.
Who do you like then? Who do you like now?
Who has grown with you?
I love so much music.
I was just listening
to, uh, like, dubstep in the greenroom.
And dubstep is such a, like,
made-fun-of thing.
Fucking fire!
[laughs] I was like, "This shit is hard."
[imitates rhythm] It's like
I don't know. I
I have a very, very wide range.
I grew up on a lot of hip-hop and, um
You know, like, The Beatles was
still to this day,
is like the greatest band.
-That comes from your parents?
-[Billie] Yes. Oh, yeah.
Um, the Beatles, and Green Day,
and then, like, My Chemical Romance.
Green Day! [chuckles]
They used to be on our show,
and I was scared silly of the drummer.
-You were?
-Yeah. Because at the end of every song,
the drummer would, like,
throw his drums everywhere
and come running over
like he was gonna choke me out.
And I would have to go racing away.
But I admired the energy of that.
-I thought, "Sure. Why not this?"
-[Billie] I love Green Day.
Anytime, you know,
people ask me about my influences,
I always completely am
like a deer in headlights.
I suddenly can't remember,
but it's 'cause it's so wide.
It's like Frank Sinatra, and Peggy Lee,
and old things, old stuff.
Now this is the thing that caught
my attention, you mentioned Julie London.
Oh yeah.
[Letterman] I was listening to her
the other day, and tell me
if there isn't great similarity.
Am I wrong about that?
-Do you feel there's a similarity?
-[Letterman] Yes.
-Hell yeah!
-[Letterman] Yeah.
Kidding me?
How did you start listening
to Julie London? Your folks?
Pfft. No, actually. I really have no idea.
-But it moved you.
-[Billie] It moved me.
It was like everything I love
about music from that time.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
-There's no music like that anymore.
Won't you come along with me? ♪
[jazz melody plays]
[Billie] We used to not have
that much music to play. We
There was a period of time
where the tours and shows we were doing,
we were doing every song.
It would be funny because
I was playing little venues,
and it was so much fun.
I would leave the stage,
and the kids would chant for an encore,
I'd come back out,
"I don't have any more songs."
-[Billie] Literally played all my songs.
-That's fantastic.
The guts to come back out and say
No, I literally didn't have other songs.
I played every song that I had out.
And now we're in a new territory
where that's not the case.
-Now we actually have to choose!
-[Letterman] What would be the encore?
[Billie] I really don't know.
The main goal is to make sure, like,
we think of everything within the context
of what it would be like, you know,
if we were audience members, right?
I've been to shows
where an artist is only interested
in playing their brand new material,
and I understand.
But I want to hear the song
that I love from ten years ago.
So, like, we don't want to exclude
songs that people like of ours
that are eight years old.
[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
Do you want to just show me something?
I feel like this is not a known thing
in the world.
None of my friends know
that this is a part of making music,
a thing called "comping a vocal."
So usually what I do is a bunch of takes,
make sure that each one,
there's something usable
for every single part.
This is fascinating. I just occurred
that, with minor exception,
you go A-Z. There you go.
Bang, zoom, goodnight.
And she's saying that you can assemble.
[Finneas] Yeah. Here is the vocal take
for Billie's song "Happier Than Ever."
-I'll pretend I'm in a classroom.
-[Billie] Do you see all of those lines?
Those are all cuts.
Separate audio files
that have been put into one take.
We got up to, like, 87 takes.
[Finneas] This is all the takes
Billie was doing at the top of the song.
Some takes she was feeling good about
and went all the way
This is, for me,
like visiting my cardiologist.
Where is the blockage?
Which one? Oh, I see. Okay.
I'll hit the space bar,
it'll start playing, and you'll see,
as the waveforms play,
that's what you're hearing.
So pay attention.
[Billie singing]
When I'm away from you ♪
[Billie] Different take, right?
So this is all one take.
-And then
-[Finneas] Different take.
-Different take.
-[Finneas] Different take.
-[Billie] Different take.
-[Letterman] Really?
-[Billie] Yeah.
-[singing continues]
[Billie] Different take.
Different take.
Different take.
Different take.
Different take.
Different take.
Different take.
Different take. And you would never know!
To hear your voice
in this context is a little bizarre
because I'm looking at things there
representing, actually, the voice.
I'm hearing the voice,
which is, "Oh my God."
And you're just sitting right there.
-[chuckles] Stop.
-It's crazy, all of this.
-[Finneas] That's so sweet of you.
-Well, the input is, you know
Not a lot of people get this experience.
Thank you for that.
-Thank you for caring. [laughs]
-That was cool.
Is this work fatiguing?
-It's exhausting.
-[Billie] Super exhausting.
It's really satisfying,
and then the outcome when we leave here,
and we've made a song
and we've exported it.
-[Billie] So exciting,
-And we can play it in our cars,
we listen to it ad nauseum,
listen to it a ton.
[Billie] We overplay it for weeks.
'Cause it's so satisfying.
I want to get on the SkyCloud.
Do I have that right? Is that what it is?
-[Billie] The who?
The thing where you put it on the cloud
and you get the
-[Finneas] iCloud?
-Oh, iCloud.
-What did you guys do?
-[chuckles] iCloud.
-[Letterman] Yeah, there you go.
-[Finneas] We got there. We did it.
So many clouds.
[all laughing]
[Letterman] You put songs on SoundCloud.
There was a time in the music world
that a collection of music
would be taken around physically,
or sent out to record producers.
"What do you think?"
Or to artists.
-"What do you think?"
-[Billie] Yeah.
That would not work
except one in a million.
-[Billie] Yeah.
-This worked crazy.
It was right place
at the right time, for real.
[Letterman] Then the next thing you know,
you're winning Grammys,
-they bring 'em out in a wheelbarrow.
-[Billie chuckles]
[Letterman] You win five the first year.
Do I have the math right?
-[Billie] Yep.
-[Letterman[Then two the next year.
-[Billie] Yeah.
-And at this point, you're what, 17?
-[Letterman] Okay.
So the world
of grown-up professional music
is on you and awarding you.
What does that do to a kid,
for God's sake?
If it were me, I'd just say,
"Uh, I'm moving to Latvia."
"Uh, I'll be at a Motel 6.
Come by and see me."
You want to know something?
What it does is it makes me
and this is not an insult to
to the award shows
and the awards themselves,
but what it does to a kid is
makes a kid go,
"Oh, so these awards aren't"
Like, "If they're giving 'em to me,
then they're obviously not
-that valuable."
-[Letterman chuckling] Yeah.
-That's the impostor syndrome, isn't it?
-[Billie] Yes.
But does it also generate a pressure?
Like, you have seven now.
-And next time out
If the new album, let's just say,
God forbid, you only get four,
is that gonna crush you?
Four! Only get four. No, it's not
gonna crush me to get four Grammys.
-What if you get one?
-If I get zero! Whatever.
Now, honestly.
The reason it'll feel weird
is everyone'll be like
[Letterman] Yeah, that's right.
-The self-evaluation
-It shouldn't matter.
It shouldn't matter,
but everyone has an ego.
And when I was in the business
of being nominated
and winning some awards,
if I would win an award,
and the following year I didn't win,
it would become
a period of soul-searching.
Like, "Oh my God. What
What about me don't they like?"
-[Billie] That's messed up.
-It would drive you nuts.
It validates you to get an award.
[Letterman] Sure.
So then does it invalidate you
-That's right.
-to not get an award?
That's That's the sad imbalance.
Does it mean that you're not
-good if you don't get an award?
I guess. But it doesn't though!
I love award shows.
I actually It's something I really love.
I love the weird,
kind of, like, kind of intimidating,
live, exciting, colorful, scary
Don't know what'll happen.
Don't know who's getting an award.
It's very exciting to me.
I love awards shows. I love going.
-I hate them.
-[Billie] A lot of people do.
-Listen, I'm tired of being snubbed.
They can give their damn awards
to anybody they want.
-Just leave me alone, all right?
-[Billie] Period.
-And I'm glad I said it.
-[Billie laughs]
[audience cheering]
[gentle electronic music playing]
[audience continues cheering]
-[Letterman] Do you like festivals?
-[Billie] I love festivals.
[audience continues cheering]
But I like them a lot
because the set is usually shorter.
And now I'm headlining
every festival I go to,
and it's 90 minutes!
You know how long 90 minutes is?
It's an hour and a half.
-But I want to tell you,
as a guy watching these concerts,
didn't feel like 90 minutes.
-I know you're working.
-[Billie] Sure.
But it doesn't feel like 90 minutes
if it's good.
Oh, that's right.
[Billie] Feels like 90 minutes
if it's bad. So I have to be good.
-[Letterman] Yeah.
-And you have to be good for 90 minutes.
When I would do stuff like this,
I never had much material.
And when people aren't laughing,
that cuts your material in half
because you count on a few laughs
eating up the time.
-Buddy, you're out there alone. It's ugly.
-The weirdest thing is how people react.
And I'm sure
you've experienced this with jokes.
You think, "They're going to love that."
Then they're like
And it's weird with songs
because I'll think of I'll make a song,
put a song out, and think,
"Ooh, this is gonna be really fun live."
Or, "I'm gonna love performing this."
And sometimes I'm just, "Woo"
Is the goal to make it sound live
exactly like it sounds downloaded?
[Billie] Good question.
I was always infuriated
by going to see an artist
that I love songs of,
and them playing the songs
and they don't sound like the songs.
It makes my skin crawl.
It's funny because that was
before I performed at all.
And when I started performing,
and the more I perform,
the more I'm like, "I can change this up
and make this cool and unique."
Then I think,
"Oh, that's why everybody does this."
'Cause you're performing
the same thing over and over,
you want to change it up.
You know what's funny? I watched
The other day, I stayed up
till, like, 2:00 a.m. watching, um,
one of my shows from
It was one of the last shows
I played before COVID.
It was the first time I'd done that show.
I didn't know the show.
So it was like I was watching
a Billie Eilish concert,
and I was, like, not expecting anything.
I was like,
"That's cool that that happens."
And what was funny is watching it now,
there are certain parts where
I sang something a little bit different,
or, you know, we do
a little different thing in the music,
and some of it was really sick.
And then some of it was like,
"Oh, sing the song normal."
-It was weird 'cause it was my own show.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
-It was my own song. [chuckles]
-[Letterman] Yeah.
So I have this thing about it.
[Letterman] That's a valuable perspective.
After that show, the the adrenaline
and all of the chemicals
that make you feel good as a human being
must have been surging through you.
-[Billie] Oh my God.
-How long does it take for that to relent?
-Is it 12 hours? All day?
-No, honestly, it's not.
-It's probably, like, half an hour.
-Half an hour.
It doesn't stay with me
in, like, an overpowering way.
I'm not gonna put it
in a way that I'm thinking
Let's hear it the way you're thinking.
Come on.
-I'm not gonna put
-[Letterman laughs]
It's just
It's It's like very, uh, relieving.
-Okay, all right. Yeah.
-[Billie] I said I wasn't gonna say it.
It, like
It It's like taking a really nice dump.
-[Billie] No, but for real. Like
Oh, how lovely, how poetic.
-[Billie] But listen.
-Oh, my!
When you really When you really
Wow, so you really are a poet.
When you really have to go,
and then you go and feel good.
At the end of a successful show,
-you feel like
-[Billie laughs]
Let's move on.
[both laugh]
[audience cheering]
[audience chanting]
Billie! Billie! Billie! Billie! Billie!
I think people, uh, go into this
-to prove that they are worthy.
-[Billie] Right.
They get a lift that lasts ten minutes,
a half an hour, whatever.
If things don't go well,
it could be a week long.
-[Letterman] Two weeks.
More. It can be bad.
What happens to me is,
people with me will say,
"No, no, you're wrong.
It was great. No, no."
And the other thing is,
the people backstage won't look
They'll look right by you.
"Oh, nice job, Billie. Nice job, Dave."
And you know they're lying.
There's the other side
where you did do a good job,
but you don't feel like you did.
But see, the saving grace for me
I know this is not about me.
-But I got to do it every night.
-It is.
So if I screwed it up Monday,
I get another shot Tuesday.
But for you, and especially now,
with the, uh
the break everyone has taken
-because of the pandemic, uh
-[Billie] Yeah.
But, you know, in a way,
as ugly and sad as the pandemic was,
-you and your brother put together
-I know.
a successful assortment of music
that maybe, if you were touring,
this album likely would not have happened.
No, I don't think so.
We would have made something, um,
but it would not have been this album.
It would have been
something completely different.
[Finneas] Before you arrived today,
I assembled a very basic track.
And I was told by associates of yours
that you've never tried auto-tune.
No. I don't think I need it.
You know, any time we've put
any auto-tune in a song,
the people that have this weird idea
that auto-tune means that you can't sing
-decide, "Oh my God, this is terrible."
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm. Yeah.
-Because she can't sing.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
It's so funny to me 'cause
I've always loved the sound of auto-tune.
I think it sounds
so interesting and creepy.
And also, auto-tune's
so much fun to sing with.
Think about, you know,
Travis Scott or T-Pain.
-People that use
-Kanye West.
Kanye West. Like, these are people
that have paved the way for auto-tune
as a tool and as an effect.
And it's so funny
that people still are like,
"Ugh, they use auto-tune.
That means they're not real artists."
It's like, "No, no, no."
It's literally on purpose. It's an effect.
[Finneas] The human voice is micro-tonal.
So, like
[sings in decreasing pitch]
is like dozens of you know,
it's hundreds of cents within a scale.
And auto-tune is taking the human voice
and restricting it to only notes
on a keyboard, it can't slide.
You know how your voice
can go like [decreases pitch]
or [increases pitch].
Auto-tune is
[ding, ding, ding, ding]
It can't There's no
The transition is like "thunk."
It's, like, doesn't There's
-It's very harsh.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm.
And that's the point.
It's supposed to sound choppy.
Do you see what I'm doing here?
This is me pretending I understand this.
[Finneas] I have Billie's microphone
in front of your face.
Okay, all right. Thank you.
So before we do some tracking,
I recorded this for you.
-[piano gently playing]
-Some piano.
[Letterman singing] I'm riding high ♪
[Letterman singing] And feeling low ♪
[Finneas] And I recorded a a bass line.
[piano and bass playing]
Oh, Jesus.
[Finneas] And then
I recorded a little drum pattern.
Comes in right here.
[piano, bass, and percussion
melody playing]
I want to tell you something.
This, so far, is how I feel all the time.
-[Letterman] This level of melancholy,
-that's me.
-[Billie] My gosh.
-[Finneas] Awesome.
-[Billie chuckles]
-This is beautiful.
And then I added one more thing,
which is a synthesizer
that I just thought
was really spooky and cool.
[piano, bass, percussion, and synthesizer
melody playing]
-You just heard this in your head?
-[Billie] Improvised.
It starts out as just improv.
You mess around.
This is like somebody
on a bus whistling nonsense.
-[Billie] Yeah.
-Except that
-[Finneas] Correct.
-Holy crap.
Very similar to whistling
nonsense on a bus.
-Yeah. Uh
-[Billie laughs]
Okay, now, so who has the words for this?
-You do!
-[Billie] You do.
Well that's You heard all I got.
-Here, I'm gonna play the track.
I am embarrassed.
But I'm embarrassed too,
all the time, when I sing.
-I literally am.
-[Letterman] I get that.
I sing songs, and my son
is always saying, "That's enough."
"Okay, that's plenty, thanks."
Your son is Sam Elliott?
-[laughing] My son is Sam
-[Finneas] Sam
-That's fantastic.
-[Finneas laughs]
[imitating Sam Elliott]
What you know about driving a Ford?
[laughs] That's delightful.
-How old is your son these days?
-These days, he's 17.
Seventeen going on Sam Elliott,
man. That's crazy.
I'm gonna play
this poorly-constructed backing track.
Sing that hook.
The "riding high, feeling low."
[melody playing]
Riding high ♪
And feeling low ♪
[Billie] Period.
Okay, I gotta lie down.
[Billie laughs]
-It was haunting. I liked it.
[Finneas] Let's 'verb it out.
Throw some auto-tune on there.
Riding ♪
[high-pitched] high and feeling low ♪
Okay, I gotta lie down.
[both laughing]
Okay, all right.
Put that up on the SkyCloud.
[both laughing]
You want another beer, Dad?
This is what's fun about music,
is, like, it doesn't matter.
Like, you don't have to be making
an amazing song all the time.
-You don't have to make a hit.
-[Finneas] Just have fun.
You just have fun
and, like, make a stupid song,
that it's just a fun,
you know, 30 minutes.
It's like painting though.
It's a task, to be sure.
And you assemble influences,
but the end result is
just must be thrilling.
Oh my God, it's
There's like nothing like it.
-[Billie] I miss it.
[Letterman] So, uh, then, the awards and
What's going on? The fly?
-No, I'm ticcing.
-I'm sorry. Did that bring that on?
The lights.
-[Billie] Yeah. [chuckles]
If you film me for long enough,
you're gonna see lots of tics.
-Is that okay or not okay?
-I don't care.
-Can I ask you about this?
-[Billie] Absolutely.
No, it's really weird.
I haven't talked about it.
The most common way
that people react is they laugh
because they think I'm trying to be funny.
They think I'm going like
as, like, a funny move. [laughs]
And so, they go like, "Ha."
[laughs] And I am always left
incredibly offended by that.
-[Billie] Or they go like
-"What?" And I'm like
-[Letterman] Yeah.
And then I go, "I have Tourette's."
-I was guilty of that.
-[Billie] But you
But we're sitting here talking,
everything's fine.
And then I, because I'm me,
I think I've said something
that's pissed you off.
-I just thought, "She's fed up with me."
-[Billie] Yeah.
But that's me. [laughs] That's a whole
What's funny is so many people have it
that you would never know.
A couple artists came forward
and said, "I've always had Tourette's."
-I was wondering.
-I'm not gonna out them.
-[Letterman] I understand.
-But that was really interesting to me.
I was like, "You do?! What?"
Thank you for including me in this.
I appreciate it.
Thank you for asking.
I'm I'm very happy talking about it.
I hope to God what we've done
didn't exacerbate this.
-Not at all.
-I know nothing about this.
No, I actually really love
answering questions about it
because it's very, very interesting.
And I am incredibly confused by it,
and I don't get it. [laughs]
When did this, uh, come on you?
I got diagnosed when I was 11.
And I had, like, small ones as a kid.
Like You know?
Or like I did that a lot
when I was a kid.
And then, when I got older,
I started doing this wiggling one.
I've had this one since I was 12 or 11.
I'm thinking, as a parent,
when this was diagnosed,
I bet your parents were upside-down,
concerned about, "Now, what happens?"
What causes that?
Is it just the nature of things?
I have no idea. I mean, tics are so weird.
-Do they dissipate for a period of time?
-[Billie] Yeah.
[Letterman] Do they remit?
Yeah, sometimes They don't ever
I never, like, don't tic at all,
because the main tics
that I do constantly all day long
are, like, I wiggle my ear back and forth,
and raise my eyebrow,
and click my jaw, and do that,
and, like, flex my arm here,
and flex this arm, and flex these muscles.
Things you would never notice
if you're just having
a conversation with me.
But for me, they're very exhausting.
Do you ever damn this?
"Oh, God damn this!"
-Have you made Oh.
Now, I don't.
It's not like I like it,
but I feel like it's my Part of me.
-You have to make friends with it.
-Yes, I have made friends with it.
And so now, I'm pretty,
like, confident in it.
When you're performing, does that happen?
-That's interesting.
When I'm moving around,
I'm not ticcing at all.
When I'm riding my horse, I'm not ticcing.
When I'm moving and thinking and focusing.
When I'm focusing, when I'm singing,
when I'm
-What about go-karts?
-No! No ticcing in go-kart land.
[ambient electronic music plays]
[Letterman] Billie, why have you
brought me to this indoor go-kart track?
'Cause I love it,
and I just wanted to kill you out here.
So, green flags mean go.
Have fun, be safe. No bumping.
We don't want to break anything.
-I'm worried because I'm elderly.
-I know, yeah.
I don't want something to snap.
Why don't we go miniature golfing?
-'Cause I'm good at this.
-Get your helmets. Let's get in.
-[Billie] Like that.
Last time, she crashed into people.
-[Billie] Please.
-Hey, go easy, all right?
-[Billie] I'll try.
-[helmet snapping in]
[Billie] I can hear you. Can you hear me?
[Letterman] You're standing
two feet from me.
[Billie] No, I can hear you in my head.
-[Letterman] I don't hear you.
-[Billie] That figures.
[dramatic music playing]
[Billie] Ready?
Let's get in.
Hello, Mom.
[dramatic music continues]
-[Billie] I got a itch.
-[Letterman] What itches?
[Billie laughing] My head right here.
[Letterman] Well, then, we got trouble.
[Billie laughs]
[breezy instrumental music playing]
[high-pitched laughing]
[Billie] There he is! There he is!
I'm right behind you!
[Billie laughing]
[Billie laughs]
-[Letterman] Oh, Jesus.
-[Billie laughs]
-[Billie] That was a good one.
-[Letterman] We're looking at the tape.
[Billie laughs]
[Letterman] I hear someone cackling
in my head.
It's highly unpleasant.
[Billie laughs]
[Letterman] Okay.
We're looking at the tape. [clears throat]
I think she speared me for the heck of it.
You, let's go!
The kid should be barred for life.
I was trying not to bump you. You're old!
-Oh my God.
No, I'm sorry.
That's the ugliest thing
anyone has ever said to me.
No, I didn't want to hurt you.
So I was trying not to
-I appreciate that.
-[Billie] I was trying not to bump you.
Thank you very much.
I'd still like to see the tape.
He did hold up the "no bumping" sign.
I went like this.
[laughs] Oh, this is just
She shouldn't be allowed back in.
[Letterman and Billie laugh]
[gentle electronic music playing]
[Letterman] The videos that I've seen,
you direct these.
-[Billie] Uh-huh.
-[Letterman] Here we go.
-[Billie] There it is. Little me.
[Letterman] What did you know
about directing?
Do you know everything
about directing now?
-[Billie] Not at all.
-[Letterman] But you love it?
I'm just figuring it out. I love it.
The one that I saw was for the, uh
for the new album.
-[Billie] Yes.
-Now, you directed that.
What I saw, was that actually happening
or was that CGI?
"Happier Than Ever"
with the rain and the house?
-Yes, and
-That all was real.
Seems like you're in great peril.
Especially when, seemingly,
you're standing on the roof
of a shingled house,
being driven by, like, a monsoon.
-[Billie] Yes.
-It looked dangerous. Was it dangerous?
It was Absolutely.
Everything about that was dangerous.
Um, and it was all real.
I watched that one twice and I thought,
"That can't be her."
"Maybe she drowned.
Maybe I won't have to go to California."
[laughs] Oh my God!
Because it just
"She's gonna slip, and there she goes."
-[Letterman] How did they do that?
Was it done in one of those
big water tanks at some studio somewhere?
-Yeah, it was a big outdoor
-[Letterman] Did you get hurt shooting it?
How do you accomplish the performance
while you're close to drowning?
[laughs] Um
It kinda helped because I wanted
to perform it really well.
I wanted to perform it
like I was suffering.
["Happier Than Ever"
by Billie Eilish playing]
[Billie] I had to do all these
breathing exercises to hold my breath.
I didn't have any scuba gear,
breathing stuff.
I had to just go, "One, two, three"
[inhales deeply]
all the way down
to the bottom of the tank,
hold for a second
so that we can do it right,
and then swim forward
while the bubbles were blowing in my face.
And, you know, I couldn't see
'cause my eyes were open underwater,
I don't have goggles or anything,
and swim through the door,
swim out of the door,
swim up all the way to
Over and over again.
This is what I wanted to do.
This was all me.
What about the song
triggers that visually?
Well, I already knew that I wanted rain
and violent rain.
-I knew I wanted water.
-[Letterman] Mm-hmm. Dangerous.
The song felt like water.
We just took a day
and all of us brainstormed,
and eventually
Like, basically, how it works
is they'll say a word,
and I'll just go
"Oh, this is what it should be!"
Then I'll explain the entire video.
And what use is the video?
Uh, I thought that when MTV became IHOP,
that the videos went away.
But they're expensive,
they're used promotionally.
But why don't you just release
the video and the song as one?
Well, you absolutely are right.
I just love,
love music videos.
And I would rather not make music than
-not make videos.
Wait a minute. This is crazy.
Music, to me, for me,
is nothing without music videos.
Well, I love these because, like I say,
it kind of got my attention
and revived my interest in that art form.
-[Billie] Yeah.
-Because when they're lousy
-Oh my God! They're so bad.
-You can never listen to the song again.
-Oh my God, I know!
-Let me put the image in my head.
And that's why I try so hard!
[ending to "Happier Than Ever" playing]
I'm listening to your new record.
You call 'em records?
And up comes a thing
from the good folks at Spotify.
Guess what? A billion people
have now downloaded the record.
-I don't know. I literally don't know.
So I'm thinking, "Holy crap."
There's There's only like
seven billion people on the planet.
It's gotta be a misprint, right?
-Right? Oh my God. Right?
[woman] I love you, Billie!
[Billie] It's impossible
to process numbers like that
because they're not something
you can look at.
When you're on stage,
you can see all the thousands of people.
You're like, "Whoa! Thousands of people."
-[Letterman] Yes.
-But you can't hold
-[Letterman] Can't see a billion people.
-Can't see a billion people at all.
[Letterman] This, to me,
is a global number.
These are people who are in need
of having somebody like you
take them through the mess
that we're living in, right?
-Yeah. Hell yeah.
-[Letterman] Do you ever think about that?
And are you gonna be able to do that?
Sure. I mean
-You're not gonna outgrow those people?
-[Billie] No.
[Letterman] Will those people outgrow you?
Everyone outgrows everything.
But it doesn't mean
that they, like, hate it.
There's certain experiences
I've had in my life.
-[Finneas] Yes?
-One recently, very powerful.
Uh, where I met people and, uh, I thought,
"Geez, they're nice people."
"They're smarter than I am.
I like being here."
"If something legally could happen
whereby I became a member of that family,
-I wouldn't object."
-Who's the other family?
-[Letterman] I can't tell you.
-[Finneas] Is this Wu-Tang?
No. But I'm getting that feeling here.
-[Finneas] That's so kind of you!
-It's true. It's so pleasant here.
-I love that.
-I love that too.
-How you doing? All right?
-I'm great.
Anything else you want to put down?
Well, I guess I would just say
that I have enjoyed this thoroughly.
Thank you. You're very kind.
I have enjoyed it thoroughly as well.
I'm reluctant to leave
because I I don't have this
as much as I would like it,
so thank you for that.
-I feel the same. I really do.
-[Letterman] Thank you.
I don't want to leave either.
Goodbye, Billie.
Bye, Dave.
-Thanks for having me.
-[Letterman] Thank you.
[gentle music playing]
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