This year’s Warped Tour brought variety, fandemonium and all of the teen-age angst that one could shake a stick at. This year’s festival brought a variety of acts such as Andrew W.K., Reel Big Fish and pop sensation Michael Posner. All of the acts held meet n’ greets and did whatever it took to get your money, and for good reason: most of the bands don’t get paid much money. In fact, most of the bands on the Warped Tour literally only make money from selling merchandise and CD’s. The tour started June 25th in California and will end August 15 at the Washington Fairgrounds in Hillsboro Oregon. With the bands almost practically playing a new show in a new city just about every day, this tour is known for being grueling and rewarding. Along with playing their shows and holding their meet n’ greets, all of the bands are more than willing to hold interviews with the press to expose who they are and what their music is about. I was able to get a few minutes with Andrew W.K. and Adam (formerly of Lucky Boy’s Confusion) from AM Taxi to discuss their comfortability and inspirations of creating music.
While I was waiting for my interview with AM Taxi, Andrew W.K. walked into the pressroom read my name off of the sheet of interviews and sat down for a quick interview about the blending of musical styles and his preference of playing the piano over other instruments.
Andrew W.K. walks into the pressroom wearing black Adidas pants, his own tank top that reads “party hard”, a black trucker hat and a pair of black sunglasses. He is extremely proud of who he is and wants everyone in the
world to feel as good about themselves as he feels about himself. He talks to everyone with extreme enthusiasm and makes you feel that you are most important person on the Earth.
Buzz: You’ve been known for blending lots of music styles together.
Andrew W.K.: Not jazz yet. I haven’t gone into that realm as much. There’s a lot of World Music that I haven’t been as familiar with. There’s certain genres of rock, such as rock-a-billy or psycho-billy that are areas that I haven’t ventured. But as straightforward rock n’ roll goes, I try to make it as exciting as I can and use whatever I can to get to that place.
Buzz: What makes you want to use as much music knowledge as possible in each song of yours?
Andrew W.K.: I never really thought of it that way. I sit down at a piano and just start playing chords until they sound exciting and then I try to use whatever instrument I can to amplify that excitement on the recording. I admire people who listen to different songs or different styles and want to make it a combination of those. I always just thought, “What’s the most exciting guitar sound to me?” For me, it’s just a very loud and over-distorted guitar. What’s the most exciting keyboard sound? Just a very loud piano/organ combination. What other instrument combinations add the excitement? For example, if you are watching a movie and you hear that orchestra kick, there’s power in those sounds. That’s why I want to use them, because they work. Whatever sound works is what I am interested in.
Buzz: What is it about the sound of a piano that specifically interests you and why does the piano seem to calm you down the most out of any instrument?
Andrew W.K.: It’s simply because that was the first instrument I ever learned. So similar to your mom and being the first woman you ever see and you have that special bond with her. Your dad is most likely the first man you see and the first man you ever likely got to be friends with, so you have this feeling for him. Piano was the first instrument I ever learned. Four and a half years old, I started taking lessons with my parents’ help and support. It’s similar to that first book you remember hearing, like *Good Night Moon. * You’ll always have a soft spot for the first thing that turned you onto that new venture.
Buzz: When do you hit that new venture with a song and say to yourself: “I want to place this song on my next album?”
Andre W.K.: I am not sure I look at it that way, I think the song more or less tells you that it’s ready to heard by other people. Most of my recording experience has been relatively solitary. Of course you try to trust their judgment, as well as your own as to whether or not other people around the world should have the chance to listen to it or not. At some point, I think the song tells you and it’s just a no-brainer. It’s really not up to you. It’s really clear that the song is meant to be heard.
The interview with Andrew W.K. closes as we are politely interrupted about time being finished from his touring manager. Andrew W.K. is in high demand and is more than willing to take the time to talk to anybody and everybody. As Andrew W.K. starts another interview, I am aimed towards a quiet gentleman who is standing in the corner texting on his phone. One can tell that Adam from AM Taxi is tired and exhausted. He is a musician who has great passion and allows his music to do the talking for him. He can easily be missed if you don’t know who he is or what he looks like. I was able to interview Adam with five minutes left of AM Taxi’s interviewing time.
Buzz: How has the tour been for you guys?
Adam: It’s been great man. We’re about two thirds of the way done with this thing. About three quarters actually. It’s been long and well worth it, a lot of fun.
Buzz: What’s it like coming to your home city?
Adam: It’s a little overwhelming to do the hometown stop. It’s a lot of fun and always good to run into familiar faces.
Buzz: On your band’s website, you say: “if it’s not broken, break it.” What made you guys want to break your style of songwriting for the album “*We Don’t Stand a Choice”?*
Adam: The method behind that is there are a lot of different ways of doing something. Sometimes the first initial way of doing it isn’t always the best. I think it’s good for people to be open-minded and try things from different angles before making a decision. We could do it one way and that would be the obvious choice. We try different methods to find the smartest way of doing things.
Buzz: So then do you guys always write collaboratively?
Adam: Well, I write all of the lyrics, melodies and chords. When it’s time to arrange them, the whole band comes in and puts in their two cents.
Buzz: Who were your influences behind this record and how did the writing process for this record differ than that of writing a song with Lucky Boys of Confusion?
Adam: Not much has changed from the influence side. I have always loved The Clash and The Replacements. I wasn’t collaboratively working with anybody else, so it was 100% of what I was bringing. We specifically try not to latch to any trends. The influences are older, everything from Little Richard, to The Ramones or Weezer; bands that we would consider to be classics.
Buzz: What was your main decision to make classic record rather than a current record or a record that uses trends?
Adam: We look at it as though we are trying to do this for a while. Anytime you try to jump on something that happens immediately, seems to go away. What you are doing seems to be irrelevant. Doing something like this, seems to be that people can pick it up five years from now and still get into and not sound like a record that came out in 2010.
Buzz: That’s a smart and interesting way of looking at it. What makes you decide that a record should be classic?
*photos from top (by Carl Burke)
The crowd at Warped Chicago
Adam of AM Taxi