"SOME OF THE GREATEST PEOPLE THAT EXIST"
AKM: So, uh, on the
subject of collaborations... fairly recently, you've been working with
some pretty interesting people.
AWK: I've been very
fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the greatest
people that exist, in my opinion.
AKM: Yeah. Among them,
you worked with Lee "Scratch" Perry. What was it like working with him?
How did you two click?
AWK: I met him in Austin,
Texas. He was someone I'd heard a lot about. I'd heard some of his music
over the years, had many friends who were completely obsessed with him.
I'd always been overwhelmed by the amount of material that there was,
and I was right to be overwhelmed, because he is overwhelming, in the
best way. Just blew my mind when I saw I was going to be interviewing
him for Direct TV. I mean, I got a list of people I was interviewing,
and it was a pretty incredible list. A lot of amazing people. Truly
mindblowing. And I was truly excited about him. He was the most
wild-card, like, I really didn't know what to expect from him. I just
thought I could count on it being amazing. And it was more amazing than
I could have expected.
And all I wanted was more of
that feeling. As soon as that interview was done I wanted to talk to him
again, so I set it up with his manager to try and interview him in New
York. So I met him again in New York, and interviewed him again. I
appreciated everything about him, and was really intrigued, like so many
people have been, by his creative force. He's someone that's been able
to devote his life - or has chosen to devote his live, he's been very
heroic in devoting his life to following his artistic impulse and living
it, letting it emerge fully and completely in every direction at once at
So, just to see someone
doing that their whole life, and continuing to do it at age 73, that's
just about the best kind of energy anyone can be around. That's an
influence I want to rub off on me. So, just getting to be in his
presence, let alone getting to make music with him, was just an
incredible, incredible life experience that I'll treasure forever.
AKM: Of the other people
that you worked with on your recent recordings, is there someone in
particular who we may not have heard of that you were just blown away
having worked with?
AWK: That I was blown away
AWK: Well, Lee "Scratch"
Perry, but really, everybody I've ever worked with. I don't mean
everybody I've ever worked with... but I've had a lot of mentors
throughout my whole life, and I bow down to these people and worship
them. Lee "Scratch" Perry was a very intense one for a short time.
By a mentor, I mean someone
who had something that I don't - who's either older than me, has
experiences, has done things I haven't done. I mean, everybody can be a
mentor, because everybody is unique and has experiences that no-one else
has had. They have the feeling and the spirit that is only theirs, but
they can share. We all deserve to share our perspectives, I guess.
But the people I've been
working with on my record label, these are the people I'd most want to
work with on music in the world. It's not like they just happened to be
my friends and were making music. I sought them out. And because of
their talent and their vision... I mean, I can contribute to it, but
they don't really need me. I feel almost selfish, I just want to be
around people. I mean, they think of ideas that I wouldn't think of. The
ideas that they use for their projects... the feeling of that is really
healthy, I think, to be around people who are very advanced in using
their imagination. I just like it. I just want to see how they see the
world and learn from them. Even if it's very different from me. The more
different perspectives we get, the more clear our own view becomes.
AKM: Is there any one, I
guess, dead person that you have really liked to work with?
AWK: Yeah, well, sure. Hell
yes. I would liked to have met Bach. That'd be pretty amazing.
AKM: Bach, as in, Johann
AWK: Yeah... well, just any
of the titans, these titanic musical forces. The founding fathers of
melody. That would be exciting. Just to see what they think about music.
Just to ask them about - anything - I mean, I haven't read hardly
anything on Bach, but, just to be able to be in his presence. Again,
there's something about being in a person's presence that's very
powerful. In fact, it might be the most powerful experience we can have.
That would be great.
But of course, you still
feel him coming through in his music, but we don't know what that him
is. I don't know. Maybe you can't ever know who somebody is. But it
would be really cool just to look into his eyes. You can see in the
paintings, though. There's really great paintings of him, where his
presence comes through.
AKM: Yeah. The impression
I get, at least, of Bach, is that he looks very composed - to an extent,
but it looks like it's really sort of turbulent beneath the surface with
him. Yet, he comes across as being very calm and still. But you can tell
there's a lot going on, I find. That's the impression I get from looking
at portraits of him.
AWK: Yeah. There's one great
painting, I don't know who did it, but it seems to be the one I see most
often. He has this slight smile -
AKM: Yeah, I think I'm
thinking of the same one.
AWK: Yeah. There's this
gleam in his eye! This incredible focus, but this incredible
realization. It's great. It must have been how he operated. I mean, who
knows how he conducted himself physically, what he was really like to be
around. We're so lucky right now to have videos and movies where we can
see what it looked like when people moved, how they inhabited their
bodies. Because most of these old paintings were strangely organized,
like they would put the body of the person into this kind of template
almost, and then their head, their face, would hopefully give out some
character. But other times it's like a mannequin in those old paintings.
I'm a big fan of photos and videos. I don't think it's bad at all.
AKM: Yeah. Those old
paintings kind of remind me of those photobooths, where you just sort of
sit in and they artificially put in a background behind you, where it's
totally focused on your own face and that's about it.
AWK: I know. It's weird.
HIS UPCOMING INSTRUMENTAL PIANO ALBUM,
FINDING NEW SENSATIONS IN DESOLATE
PARTS OF CANADA
GHOSTS N' STUFF
A BIG FEELING OUT" - MORE THAN MUSIC
AND "SOME ESSENTIAL ALBUMS"
"WHERE YOU FROM"
CRITICS AND MUSIC WRITERS (US!) - "IT'S
conducted by Andrew Kai-Yin MacKenzie
published July 11, 2009
ANDREW W.K. ONLINE |
ANDREW W.K. ON