FINDING "WHOLE NEW SENSATIONS" IN DESOLATE PARTS OF CANADA
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,
touring Canada in the past? Have you been around Canada a lot in the
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
AKM: Is there any one town, or one show, that really sticks out in
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.
UPCOMING INSTRUMENTAL PIANO ALBUM, '55 CADILLAC
A BIG FEELING OUT" - MORE THAN MUSIC
"SOME OF THE
GREATEST PEOPLE THAT EXIST"
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