So, here’s the full version of that interview I put up. As I mentioned before, Wayne Coyne says a lot of interesting stuff, so editing it was a bit of a nightmare- he’s the kind of guy that comes in longform, y’know? So here’s (more or less) the full (edited down to the best bits) interview. On touring We’ve been playing since last April. We’ve not played that many shows, but we’re always sorta doing something. So, y’know, it’s a lot. There’s a point I think where you get, like, oh we’re really good at this, and there’s a point where it’s, wow, we’re just playing all the time. But it’s been good. People seem to really love the new stuff, and we get to do our trip. But today’s the very last day. I mean, I say last day, we’re gonna play a New Year show and then spring… We never really just tour for a year and then take 3 years off. We’re always just kinda playing and recording. On playing live For me, I’m not a very good musician so I always feel a bit scared getting up in front of people. ‘Cus I’m just a weirdo doing weirdo things, y’know? I don’t really know if it’s any good. I think people like that junk, and I’m glad they do. But I never feel like it’s really a skill. Anyone could get in that space bubble. And maybe that’s why people like it- anyone could do it, but I’m the one who does it. The stage vs. the studio When we’re doing music and stuff- I mean recording- I guess to me that just feels like you’re doing art. I’m more comfortable doing that because people aren’t paying a bunch of money. You know, all these things have to go right when you’re doing a show. There’s a lot of things that have to go right. And when you’re doing your art in your own space and time, that doesn’t all have to go right. There’s no-one paying money, there’s no-one waiting in the cold. I really care about the people that are coming to the show and I want it to be as good as it can be but there’s a lot of things about it you can’t control. So I stress out about those things. Whereas when I’m doing art it’s just me doing shit, I don’t care- it’s just me and the guys and it is what it is. Keeping interested When we’re in the studio: the beginning of that, to me, seems like, oh, this is exciting. But if you’re there for months it’s just uhhh. It just beats you down. So I’m lucky, I think- I get to do a bunch of different things. I get to record. That doesn’t get too boring, or too much the same and then, y’know, touring and I don’t have to do that too much and then I make movies and videos and all kinds of art. I get to do a lot of things so none of it’s too much of a beatdown. Audience participation Well, I mean, if you’re a fan of the Flaming Lips, usually… At festivals, obviously, not everyone’s there to see us. But they’re there ‘cause they’re ready to rock. And they’re usually drunk or on acid or something like that. We do a lot of stuff to get them to react. We shoot confetti and we throw balloons and I’m saying ‘c’mon motherfuckers, let’s do this’. I think, if you’ve seen us do a show you kinda know a little bit of what the routine is, or the way our shows go. If you had never seen us play and you’re there with everyone else, I guess it’s kind of like going to someone else’s church or something. At first you don’t know what to do but you just join in with all the stupid shit they do. The rock concert as artform We played some stadium shows with Coldplay at the end of the summer. And 80,000 people in this giant stadium- and I think U2 does this as well- but Chris Martin had everybody get out their cellphones and they would do the wave up and down the lengths of the stadium, and they turn off all the lights so all you can see is 80,000 cellphones… And that’s not music and I don’t know if that’s art but it’s some kind of extraordinary experience that you can’t get unless you have 80,000 people there all willing to participate. The rock concert as mystical force There’s a lot of groups will simply- y’know they come on stage, they play their music, you listen, that’s the way it goes. But a lot of groups will get the audience involved so the thing just becomes a bigger collaboration of the two energies or whatever. And I think there are probably some groups that don’t feed off of that energy but I know we do. I mean, when the audience gives you that love and enthusiasm it just makes us play better. It has more meaning to it. The rock concert and the ego Even though, less than 24 hours ago we played a show where all that happened, when that happens tonight it’ll be fucking amazing again. I never feel really like, ah, fuck this. It’s not a thing that you would get jaded to- ‘cause it really is authentic. To me- I know it’s a dumb analogy- but it would kinda be like having sex. You could have sex last night, have it again tonight, it’d be pretty good. Maybe even better. These things, they rejuvenate themselves and we like it and we want it. I think the audience wants it. We all leave the house ‘cause we want some intense experience that you cant’ just get from being on the internet or watching TV. Being with a bunch of people who all want the same thing to happen […]
“When we’re doing music and stuff, I mean recording, that just feels like you’re doing art. I’m more comfortable doing that. You know, when you’re doing a show, there’s a lot of things that have to go right. And when you’re doing your art in your own space and time, that doesn’t all have to go right. There’s no-one paying money, there’s no-one waiting in the cold. I really care about the people that are coming to the show and I want it to be as good as it can be but there’s a lot of things about it you can’t control. So I stress out about those things. Whereas when I’m doing art, it’s just me doing shit, I don’t care. It’s just me and the guys and it is what it is.”–Wayne Coyne I really can’t believe it took me this long to put this up on here. Probably my top Look-Daddy-I’m-A-Real-Journalist! moment of this year was successfully negotiating an interview with the Flaming Lips. Me and the ever-lovely Erica A Vernon shootin’ the breeze with Wayne Coyne about art, live performance vs recordings and their new album, Embryonic produced, unsurprisingly, one of the best interviews I’ve done. Turns out that Mr Coyne’s a very talkative, polite and wise gentleman (though, it must be said, with quite a mouth on him. My gran had a copy of Redbrick the other day and I could see her being pointed in the direction of my article. A lot of F-bombs in this one. Those rockstars, eh?) Anyway… “We feel like we’re a separate band. We know why we’re associated. But we don’t mind, it doesn’t really bother us. We’re doing exactly what we wanna do, making the kind of music and doing the kind of shows we wanna do. As long as we’re doing that, it doesn’t matter to us who we get associated with.And we love the Flaming Lips, we don’t mind people comparing us to them. It’s cool.”–Dennis Coyne I also met and interviewed the Lips’ support band, Stardeath & White Dwarfs. Again, Dennis Coyne (Wayne’s nephew) was a lovely bloke. It was something of a case of seeing how far I could push a journalistic angle- in this case, being in the Lips’ shadow- without infuriating the interviewee. Decide yourself whether I succeeded. Oh, and bringing together a fair few threads in one neat I-didn’t-write-it package, here’s an interesting Dave Eggers rant on ‘selling out’, taken from some quite scary-sounding interview, and framed largely around the Flaming Lips’ recent appearance on 90210. He’s an eloquent man, is that Dave.