steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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andrew w.k. and andrew k.m. have a conversation



AKM: So, uh, moving on a bit, let's get more into records and your other influences. As kind of a transitory question, if you had to release a covers album, what would it be?

AWK: There's a great Jimmy Webb album I thought about covering, but with covers it's always tricky. It really is. Because, when you like something enough to cover it... I always think it's better to cover songs you don't particularly like, because then you can try to fix them. Fix the presentation, fix the recording, fix whatever it is that you didn't like.

With the songs I like, I like them 'cause they're perfect. What can I possibly do? But there is something to performing songs that you like, and I understand that and have grown more able to understand that. I always liked writing my own songs, and it's taken me a long time to become... I don't know... mature enough to understand why it's cool to cover songs. For a long time I felt a little silly about it. Yeah, Jimmy Webb has an amazing album he wrote for Richard Harris called The Yard Went On Forever.

AKM: And you'd cover that, like, one song at a time?

AWK: Well, yeah, I guess I would do the whole one. It's a very complete album. It would be very appropriate to cover the whole thing. Jimmy Webb has a lot of amazing songs, an endless amount of amazing songs. But that album is just an absolute triumph. It's just phenomenal. Again, it's just Richard Harris' performance... you'd really have to break away from his performance because it's so compelling and so definitive that to go anywhere near it would be silly. You'd have to try and do it completely your own way.

AKM: I haven't heard the album, but how do you think your take on it would differ? Would you be able to explain that at all? I mean, I guess that would come through more in the actual recording...

AWK: Well, the melodies are really strong - I'd just try and make them as strong as possible.

AKM: Why don't we segue that into the ten essential albums thing. Talk to me about another album consider really amazing, important, and mind-altering.

AWK: Can I put a disclaimer? Can you write a disclaimer saying that these are not the ten essential albums, but ten of many essential albums?

AKM: Ha, yes.

AWK: Okay, I appreciate that, thanks.

AKM: No problem.

AWK: So, yeah... Richard Harris, The Yard Went On Forever, and Richard Harris, The Tramp Shining, both of those. He also actually made another album - he did a couple other albums which are very good, but they're not Jimmy Webb material. So I'd recommend starting with the Jimmy Webb albums. I think Richard Harris would agree... may he rest in peace.

OK, let's see what else. Um... give me a little direction. Do you want this to be as diverse as possible, or do you want me to focus on a theme...

AKM: Honestly, it's really totally up to you. As you said, it's not exactly the ten albums... it's ten albums of whatever you want. If you think it's ten albums I should be hearing, then yeah, go ahead. I mean, it's really your call. Maybe take it one at a time? I don't know.

AWK: Okay, well, can I recommend albums that are by my friends? Because those are the ones I've been listening to the most lately, anyways.

AKM: Yeah.

AWK: Alright, well, the new Current 93 album... you familiar with that group?

AKM: I am, yeah.

AWK: They just put out a new album a few weeks ago called Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain.

AKM: I haven't heard that one, although I've read quite a bit about it.

AWK: Holy smokes. I mean, I played bass for them, but I barely - it's not like you could ever tell that I'm playing - there's so much going on. It's just an incredible album, it really is. And I didn't have anything to do with it being as amazing as it is. I'm not being modest. It's all about David Tibet, the singer, leader of this group. It's just phenomenal. He's just an incredible, incredible vocalist, an incredible lyricist and writer, and he has a completely, completely unique voice. There's nothing else that sounds like it. It was just a highly enjoyable thing to listen to for me.

So I recommend that... uh... can we do 5 instead of 10?

AKM: We can do 5.

AWK: You see how hard this is.

AKM: No kidding, yeah.

AWK: Okay, well how about... yeah... I've picked a lot of oddball ones, so I wanna pick some ones that are easy to find, that aren't too obscure. But all the ones I've picked so far you can get on Amazon, for sure.

So how about we make it a bit more mixed up. We'll throw in a Hot Boyz album.

AKM: Like, Lil' Wayne Hot Boyz?

AWK: Yeah, his earlier group. The album is Let 'Em Burn... and, uh... actually wait, I don't want it to be this one. Hold on.

[Andrew WK shuffles through CDs for a while.]

Yeah, I misplaced one of the albums. There's another one... this isn't the one I wanted but we can do that one. I think I have it in my bag of DJing CDs since I'm DJing tonight at Santos... let's see over here... it's similar to that one 'cause it's like a hot... on fire... [shuffles]... it's not here either.

Okay, here; since we're talking about Lee Perry, let's do a really great collection. He has many collections but there's one in particular that I really like called the Upsetter Collection, a Lee Perry Jukebox. It's on Trojan Records, it's a 2 CD collection, it's amazing. Songs he either produced, his own songs, songs by other groups he worked with. I'd never heard any of this, but there are some classics on there for sure. Real groundbreaking first work that he ever put out, which, just, is incredible. It's completely, completely phenomenal. That's number 4, right... oh, that's 5!

AKM: That's 5!

AWK: Wait, let's not do the Hot Boys album 'cause I couldn't find it. So let's do... instead... we'll do... we have 2 Richard Harris, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Current 93, and let's do... hm... let's do DJ Khaled, We Global.

AKM: Oh, the new one.

AWK: Is that the newest one?

AKM: Yeah, I think that's the newest one.

AWK: Okay. Yeah, I just got it, 'cause he has another one too.

AKM: Oh, another related one? 'Cause I haven't heard anything of his since We The Best.

AWK: I guess We Global is... yeah, that sounds like it would come after We The Best. He just has one of the greatest voices I've ever heard. The amount of energy, electricity, excitement in his voice, whatever he's doing. Even his speaking voice, where he's not putting out as much energy as he could, he just has an amazing energy, amazing vibe.

I understand that he's a radio DJ, from Miami, or maybe not Miami but somewhere there...

AKM: Dade County, I think.

AWK: His songs became really successful, and I don't know if he made the beats - I think he does, I think he's involved in putting together... I mean, he's an extremely musical man. Whatever he's doing, he's doing it right. It's just amazing, I'm a huge supporter. And his vibe is great. I just really like his charisma, his personality, and his excitement for music. You go out on the Internet and look up videos of him hanging around the studio, just getting as excited as anyone can possibly be about music. Listening to music. And that's how I feel about music, so it's really encouraging to see a person like that doing so well, someone who just loves music. And that's what it takes.

That's what he does. He puts out all this music and it comes back to him. And I'm just really happy for him. A great vibe.

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interview conducted by Andrew Kai-Yin MacKenzie
June 2009
published July 11, 2009



all content copyright 2009