It’s safe to say, nobody has partied harder, longer or more fervently than the undisputed King of Partying himself, ANDREW W.K.
ANDREW W.K. is a one-man music machine possessed of a single-minded, monomaniacal focus to spread a singular message: That to party is to exist. And to exist is to party. Fans in Sydney and Melbourne will get to experience this life-affirming and overwhelming show this weekend because ANDREW W.K. is coming to Australia this August and he’s coming in hard!
Is Australia the party capital of the world?
Fortunately the world is the party capital of itself. Australia is the partiest place I’ve ever been. I imagine since my last visit it has grown even partier.
With all the negativity going on in the world how do you maintain that positive party vibe?
You know what, I like to keep some amount of perspective. I try to keep a thousand year perspective and try to imagine all the trials and tribulations that have faced so many people in recent times and going back years and years. I try to identify the commonality in those ideals in terms of how they touch the human spirit. I try to imagine what it would be like if I was there with those people whether there time has come and gone or if they were here now what would they say. What could I offer to them looking back what could they tell me now? I think we would all tell ourselves the same thing – stay strong, stay as engaged as you possibly can in this experience of staying alive and know that you’re not alone in this. I like to imagine that there is a great chain in humanity rooting for all of us to rise to the challenge of being a human and let that challenge bring the best we have to offer. That’s one thing I tell myself among others.
What is it about Australia that keeps you coming back here to party?
I get invited naturally!
Congratulations on your new album You’re Not Alone, did you think that you would get there after twelve years?
I did not, once I fully accepted that it might not ever come out that everything actually fell in to place and the record was done. It was really strange, to get this album recorded the longer it took and the worse it went, even in those frustrations there were incredible experiences and unlikely surprises. I couldn’t look back with honesty in any other way. It’s strange when you realise as much as you would like to be in control it’s best that you’re not to some extent because sometimes it is the most exciting and interesting parts of life are the things that you didn’t plan for but you could never have planned for because it exceeds your imaginations limits.
How did you deal with the frustrations you spoke about? For a lot of people it would have been easier to give up and do something else.
I was really lucky because all the things that stood in the way of getting to do the album were really incredible things. For example, I had a lot of opportunities extended to me and those opportunities I said yes to. That I had to take credit for, no one forced me to accept these invitations that came my way whether that was hosting a kids game show on TV, whether it was touring with Black Sabbath and Marky Ramone, producing albums for Lee “Scratch” Perry and I intend to name drop to remind myself how lucky I have been to have anything to do with these one of these projects.
Each one of those projects were one step away from me recording my album. At the same time I wouldn’t change any of it as I learned so much from getting to do that. There was never a time in my life that I had never dared to dream that I would get to work with Lee “Scratch” Perry or tour with Black Sabbath or Marky Ramone wanting me to sing in his tribute band. Those are the things that are the most humbling. So much of life I thought was based on setting crystal clear goals with exactly with what I want to do. To me most of what’s happened is completely beyond what I ever visualised and if that’s what happens for this album to take over a decade to manifest then it would be a disrespect for me to resent it.
Was it ultimately a combination of all things that inspired you to deliver this album?
It everything and nothing! It is hard to know for me how these things work. I don’t know why things have gone the way they have gone. On one hand it seems like everything I have done plays a part in everything that I’ve ended up doing and in another way it seems completely alien and remote in that it has come to its own self and nothing to do with me or anything that I have experienced. Inspiration as I have experienced it is entirely mysterious and removed from logic and rationality. That’s why I can’t plan for it and I’m baffled by it as anyone.
Did you constantly doubt yourself in this period of trying to make the album because you sound very focused and know where you are going?
Oh absolutely, that doubt and that questioning at its best can force me to engage in the rigorous examination of what I was doing but at worst absolutely shut everything down and create a final road block. It is a risky thing to pay attention to all. There’s times where you try to shut off all thoughts of any kind, positive or negative, faithful or doubtful, just going through the motions of doing the work.
Not every aspect of making an album creates inspiration or activity some of it is just actual labour doing take after take. You might have written the part and now its about actually executing the song, you might of written the lyrics and now its about executing the singing, those moments I take great comfort and find a real sense of release to be able to just do the work and not think to much about whether it is good or not. Then there’s other moments when the doubt is completely overwhelming and it feels like you’re trying to walk through a brick wall just to exist. I tried in a perverse way just to enjoy that because it is an intense feeling for sure. It seems like you can’t have one without the other. I don’t think you can have these great breakthroughs, those triumphant cataclysmic creative explosions without the exact opposite.
Do you think the next album will happen a lot quicker?
I would hope so and that it could come out as soon as possible certainly not another ten to twelve years, that’s ridiculous. I didn’t even realise back in 2016, someone asked me off hand whether I was going to do a tenth anniversary re-release Close Calls With Brick Walls, my third album I put out in 2006. I said why would I put out a ten year anniversary now, what are you talking about? They said “Andrew, it has been ten years”! I was just shocked that so much time had gone by and I hadn’t even realised it. I had a rude awakening in the best way and created this staggering almost nauseating urgency and clarity, I thought in ten more years I would be fifty years old… this is it! Subconsciously I have been able to put things in to the future in a sense of ‘I’ll get to that’, ‘eventually I’ll do that’ and ‘someday it will be fun to do that’ and then you realise that ten years have gone by and I still hadn’t done it and still putting it off.
It’s comic procrastination that you are waiting to live your own life but you have already been living it. There’s certainly at this point, there’s things I’m doing right now, then there’s the tasks coming in the next weeks and then the next tour in September including Australia. Then I’m thinking about things two to three years from now and there’s that murky, far distant idea that I don’t really dwell on it to much.Most of the material on this album had been in development over these last fifteen years, the oldest songs on there I have been working on since 2005. It is a matter of clearing out the time, for me recording is very slow, I need six months of uninterrupted solitude to work. That’s not that uncommon when it comes to recording, some people are able to do it very quickly and I’ve admired that and have fantasised about what it would be like to not only record an album in two weeks but in the tour bus whilst on tour. I had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do that.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Andrew W.K. this weekend on the following dates. Tickets from https://tickets.destroyalllines.com