Andrew W.K. talks
He's made fans "Party Hard," "Take it Off," "Tear it Up" and "Make Sex" since hitting the mainstream four years ago. When 26-year-old Andrew W.K. makes his Hawaii debut at Punk on a Rock 6 this weekend, it'll be all about cutting loose and enjoying the moment.
Born Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier, the California-born and Michigan-raised musician is currently wrapping up work on a new album and putting the final touches on a DVD that chronicles almost four straight years of non-stop touring. We caught up with him in New York City, where he's lived since moving from Michigan after graduating from high school.
Question: Are you still in the studio?
Answer: Yeah, I'm recording, but primarily I've been working on this DVD. I'm very excited about it. It's comprised of footage from the last six years, from before the first album all the way up through the end of 2004. It's been very interesting for me to see it come together. I've been enjoying ... getting to look at something through my own eyes, yet having an awareness for it that otherwise maybe wasn't as easy to see during it.
Q: Did watching the footage bring back memories you didn't remember?
A: It's not so much nostalgia, or any type of sentimental experience. I feel like I remember it, but the sensation while it was happening was almost that in order to do it, I couldn't watch it, you know what I mean? I only had so much focus, and to put all the focus on the watching -- you can't watch it while you do it. You can only look at an impersonation, or an image or a projection. In this case, it's getting to watch this footage and the way it's been put together that's given me a new view that I've never seen. The only way I could get that kind (of perspective) would to not be me, yet be me looking at it.
Q: How are things coming with the new album?
A: Well, there's been a great deal of progress on the album, both in its content and the intent I have with those songs. Fortunately, it's been a real productive time for me. The real final stage of recording, where everything is refined, will be coming up over the next month. I don't know what it's going to be called, so I can't tell you the title.
Q: What's more important to you: critical and commercial success, or putting out music that your fans will enjoy?
A: Of course I care and hope that other people will like (my music) very much. I really feel it matters to me when people like it. That makes me very happy, and I'm usually entertained and delighted to see peoples' different reactions when they're similar to my own feelings of pleasure with music.
Q: Are you still in the same place creatively as you were when "I Get Wet" was released in 2002?
A: I think everybody's probably a different person at every single moment, right? The most exciting feeling for me is not knowing how the new album will turn out. To say it's the same, or to even say that it's different, isn't really going to tell us anything. As much as each person who listens to it has their own views, they're going to also be a different person afterwards, and they're going to think differently. There's nothing anybody can say about anything. All we can do is feel. Our need to understand isn't as important as our need to experience, and perhaps things in general are meant to be experienced and not understood.
Q: Are you proud of your involvement with the 2004 MTV2 show "Your Friend, Andrew W.K." and its brief time on the air?
A: We did 11 episodes. I don't really know what I was thinking in particular before the show, other than to have a show and to have it be based on something to come directly from that time with music, which was this idea of help or advice. It also came about from a monthly column that I still do in Japan, where people write in and I give advice. I've been doing that for coming up on 3-1/2 years. It was really surprising that people wanted to ask me for advice to begin with.
Q: You've also spent some time working with other bands lately, right?
A: Yeah, I produced a record called "Noon and Eternity" by To Live and Shave in L.A. I'm also producing a band called Sightings, and we just finished the first phase of recording sessions about a week and a half ago. That should be complete over this winter as well.
Q: Ever been to Hawaii before?
A: Yeah, I've been there once. But to live there is a whole different headspace. I've never performed (there), but I certainly wanted to when I went to visit. This has been a long time coming, and I'm looking forward to it. It's the first show in a long series to come.