steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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


AKM: Your body of work extends pretty far past music - you've been doing a lot of projects outside of music. How do you feel music relates to your overall vision, your game plan, or whatever?

AWK: Well, it's a very big way and a very powerful way to get a big feeling out into the world and to a lot of people. And it's been a very useful way for me, and for a long time I thought it was the best way, or the only way, to get those feelings out. And it is, in fact, the best way to get a certain kind of feeling out. But the feeling I'm feeling is bigger than music, and I want to try every different way I can to get it out there. And the feeling is... well... I'm trying to describe it many ways. You can tell when you feel it, and anybody out there who's felt it can tell what I'm talking about. It's been called joy, it's been called excitement or energy, it's been called love, it's been called God. It's been called music, it's been called... being alive.

And even to have this ability to feel this really intensely. I think animals of all kinds do. Probably all things are feeling something in some way, even if they're not alive. But we have a certain ability to impact ourselves and other people and create these atmospheres. And I really want to create this atmosphere of a particular feeling. And I don't know how to describe it, I just know how to do it. So I go out there and try to do it.

AKM: Well, actually, on a total side note, I read this article the other day - you may have seen this one - about two scientists who were trying to record plants, and get plants to make music. And they were able to get some kinds of patterned sounds out of these plants. I don't really understand how they did it. If you look up "plants making music", that might be kind of interesting to you, actually. [AKM's note: You can't actually find it by Googling "plants making music". But you can find it here.]

AWK: Sounds incredible.

AKM: It's pretty bizarre, but...

AWK: Wait, they play them music, and try and get them to play music back?

AKM: Um, no, I think what they do is just try and monitor the really, sort of, subtle movements of the plants, or something - and try and translate that into music. It's pretty beyond me. I haven't actually heard it. I just read it. It's interesting, to say the least, although it's totally beyond what I can understand. And I'm glad there are people who sort of do, enough to at least start doing it.

AWK: Sounds great. I love that idea.

AKM: In terms of your live show, I've heard you described as much as performance art as music. Do you know where I'm coming from with me?

AWK: I've heard some people say that about things I've done.

AKM: In terms of how that relates to your music - for example, recently, you've started DJing, right?

AWK: I've DJed before. But more because of Santos Party House.

AKM: Do you think you're able to channel similar energies by just, uh, playing songs, as opposed to playing them yourself?

AWK: Yeah, for sure. I see what you mean, yeah. I think playing other people's music can be a very musical experience. Playing it for other people, too, is very exciting. Getting to be a listener and a player at the same time... DJing is amazing. It's a great thing, absolutely logical that it's so popular. It makes perfect sense. It's something that anybody can do. It's choosing what to play. And it can be taking to very particular lengths with different kinds of attention paid to different sorts of detail. You can just play songs one after another. But yeah, I think it's pretty cool. And I love listening to DJs. Especially professional DJs that have a very musical approach to how they connect their songs, how they choose them. Just the efforts that people put into finding this amazing music. And I just wonder, what is this, where does this come from, and I wonder if the other people around me are as clueless as I am. 'Cause there's so much music out there and it's completely overwhelming in the best way.

AKM: Your album I Get Wet was pretty successful in the mainstream. Would you say it was particularly influential? You've heard that MSTRKRFT song "All I Do Is Party" (actually called "Bounce")?

AWK: No, I don't think so. I've seen pictures of them.

AKM: It's a popular club song. It's got Noreaga, the rapper.

AWK: Oh, cool.

AKM: Yeah, it's a little different from what he did before. He just sings this simple hook: "All I do is party, ah ah ah ah..."

AWK: That's awesome. I really like Nore. MSTRKRFT looks really cool. They have an amazing vibe and I'm aware of their great dance music. But I've not heard that song. I'd like to hear it.

AKM: There was another sort of similar one, club song, this year, "To Protect and Entertain," and the rapper Murs got on that one. I'm not sure if you know Murs or not, but the vibe I got from him was that he was more serious about things. I got sort of a Holden Caulfield vibe from him. Anyways, on this new song, he's sort of singing about his awesome experience partying at Cinespace in L.A. and really just having a fun time dancing to electro music. Anyways, with these two rappers, I got a really different vibe from how their careers and visions progressed in the past. The impression I'm getting, at least, from music, is that people seem to be having more fun now. At least with those two. They definitely seem to be having more fun than, say, when their careers were, uh, more relevant, I guess. Would you say that musicians are having more fun since the start of this decade, around when you released I Get Wet?

AWK: Ha, in one way, I don't really know, but in another way, everyone's just doing their thing. I don't want to speak for anybody, I don't want to take credit for any movement, but it does seem that there's a value on good vibes and it seems to be increasing. But I think that's always the case. I think humanity's always striving for a better version of itself. That's often equated with happiness, but I don't think it's happiness - I think it's like you said, it's about having fun, about enjoying oneself. I would be very glad if the world continued to head in that direction, and I want to be involved in seeing that it does.

I believe that it's the natural case. I believe that the world is heading towards a perpetually higher version of itself. What it is that is ultimately higher, I don't know. But I have what seems good to me and I try to follow that.

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



all content copyright 2009