steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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


AKM: I want to start talking about some of your other collaborations a little bit. I noticed that you're actually touring and releasing a split 7" with Nardwuar.

AWK: Yes. This is very exciting.

AKM: It sounds very exciting! Whose idea was this? Did you track Nardwuar down, or did he look you up?

AWK: We'd been in touch, actually. Quite a bit. We had already worked together at a show, played a show together where he'd invited me to play, uh, sing some songs with the Evaporators, and we began working on the idea of a split 7". And I'd never done a split 7" under Andrew WK, and thought it would be an interesting project. And of all the people in the world to do it with, Nardwuar seemed as great and phenomenal as anyone could possibly be. So it really made it a very easy question when he proposed it, it was a very easy question to answer. And he also suggested that we make it a Canadian themed release; we both played songs about Canada. Or at least my songs are about Canada.

AKM: How much have you been in Canada in the past, 'cause you're touring Canada in the past? Have you been around Canada a lot in the past?

AWK: I've been there a great deal.

AKM: And what's your experience been like up here?

AWK: It's just been fantastic. It's the most beautiful, wonderful place in the world. I mean, there's no better place. There's no better country, there's no better people, there's no better towns. I haven't been to every town in Canada, 'cause there's a lot of them. But I've been to... I'd say well over 20 different towns, multiple times. I've toured Canada more than the US recently. So, I spent a great deal of time there because I love it, and because people there have been very kind to me. I've put out a loving vibe and I've had it returned many times over, and for that, I'm just very very grateful. Coming back for this tour, this special solo tour, is really a no-brainer. I started playing my first solo shows, in these last years, in Canada. It was a really intense, new way for me to play, without a band. I wanted to see what that was like. It seemed really frightening to me, and risky, and kind of awkward, but it pulled out of me the levels of ability that I didn't have to call on before when I had six other people on stage with me. I had to fill up the whole show. And I really wanted that kind of challenge, and got it. And it improved my performance. So, I really came up... this last tour I did through Canada really changed me forever as a performer. I'm really grateful to Canada to going through that with me, to the people who came to those shows and made it what it was and gave me that energy back to allow me to get to this new place. So now I'm coming back to say thank you, and I'm gonna give even more than last time.

AKM: Is there any one town, or one show, that really sticks out in your mind?

AWK: That's a good question. Well, yeah. For sure. We had some pretty wild experiences. I mean, the main point of the whole tour - it was called the Highway Party Cruiser tour. I believe it was 2007, maybe 2008 - I've never had a really good sense of timeline, so I can't remember exactly when this happened, but it was sometime within the last two years. It seems very recent but it might have been a long time ago.

Anyway, it was called the Highway Party Cruiser tour. We went all the way across Canada, but not quite all the way to Montreal. The west to the center - it was a western tour. The whole mindset was to try and get as totally out of our heads as possible. Meaning, not just in terms of I guess what someone might think like drinking, doing drugs... that for sure, but also, trying to put ourselves in very strange situations. Trying to find whole new sensations, whole new ways of feeling. We wanted to be completely disassociated from the way we normally felt.

And when I say we, I mean me and my friend Sonny Midnight who came on this tour. I didn't want to travel alone, so... he performed with me, sang, helped drive, and did all the things that happen on a tour. Tour manager, basically. Anyway, we really got what we asked for, sometimes to the point where we were almost a little freaked out, and wondered if we should have been more careful what we wished for. We definitely had our minds blown many times over.

Two of the most intense experiences happened in Winnipeg and Red Deer. In Winnipeg we had a paranormal experience, the first one that I've ever had. Well, the third one I've had, but the most intense one, by, like, a million degrees. And then in Red Deer, we played at probably the most intense venue, and probably the most intense... just a feeling in the air. Where we were. Even when we were driving down the highway. I mean, I'm not sure if you've driven down those long roads that connect Canada from west to east, but it looks like you're on Mars at times.

AKM: Well, around the Prairies, I've driven there a couple times in winter, and the winds there are just ridiculous. Looking at the flat landscape and watching the snow swirl around you, it's pretty surreal. It's like living in a painting, I find, sometimes.

AWK: It was cold, but there wasn't a lot of swirling snow, thank goodness. I don't know, maybe there was. It was intense, I'm just gonna say. It showed me that if you set your mind to something, including setting your mind to wanting to feel like you don't have a mind, you can achieve it. And that happened. It was a really intense thing to go through, and when we finished the tour and I came out of it, I was forever changed, and forever grateful to Canada for giving me that. It could not have happened anywhere else. It could not have happened anywhere else, what I went through. Completely, completely unique to Canada and the atmosphere there.

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



all content copyright 2009