J: Do you think you're attracted to melancholia?
M: Attracted to it? I’m addicted to it. I'm a paid up member of Melancholics Anonymous (laughs).
J: But also this nagging sense of yearning. Unrequited is something that crops up in your songs, and in your conversation, quite a lot. And the yearning, melancholy notes of the music. It’s quite an interesting thing this isn't it because - we’ve talked about this many times before - but melancholy is a real emotion, unlike depression. Depression is just an emptiness. A void.
M: Absolutely. Melancholia is a sweet sadness. It can be very life enhancing and productive whereas depression is a sickness, a disability. You can't move, you can't function. I think people that have experienced neither tend to confuse the two.
J: Melancholy can be really beautiful.
M: I think it heightens the senses. I think you really do notice things during those periods. For instance after a relationship break-up, after the initial trauma, there can really be a sense of feeling fully alive. You know, you really notice sounds, images, music, colour and people more. It heightens and tightens the strings of the nervous system. Paintings glow, music pulsates, attractive members of the opposite sex seem more vibrant and alive. I really think that positive melancholy is a wonderful thing, and a lot of fantastic music and art is created in that spirit, and enjoyed in that spirit. I think it’s really easy for critics to dismiss stuff as depressing. But for me, virtually every song I've ever written is in a minor key, which I didn't realise until some journalist in Italy pointed it out. "Really, you sure?" I said to her happily. “Well, I’m just a minor key kinda guy” (laughs)