Interview: The Dandy Warhols
Published on April 18th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker was jolly well impressed with The Dandy Warhols’ forthcoming new album This Machine in our recent four-quail review of it, so we fired over some questions to the band’s guitarist Peter Holmström in the hope of finding out a wee bit more about the whole caboodle. First, though, please take the time to acquaint yourself with this choice cut…
Congratulations on an excellent new album. Has it turned out as you’d envisaged? Do these things ever?
Thank you. They never turn out the way I imagine them.
I love the scuzzy production; it’s so much more satisfying than your run-of-the-mill modern rock record, laden as they tend to be with sheen. How did you set about achieving it?
We were lucky enough to have Tchad Blake mixing this record. He seems to love to dirty it up a bit. I find I prefer his approach over the sheen. But every record has to be mixed differently. The next record we do might be all keyboards and super polished. You never know.
Were you guys all together for the writing and/or recording of the album? Does living in different places ever necessitate working by filesharing/Dropbox and the like?
There was a lot of Dropboxing for this record. Brent recorded a lot of his drums and vocals in Australia.
What inspired the crazy scratching on “Alternative Power to the People”?
That was a trick that Court and I figured out for a cover of “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood that was too good to just do once. Courtney pulled it off on his own this time, I have no idea how as it took both of us the first time around.
Why did you decide to include a cover of “Sixteen Tons” on the album?
That was all Courtney’s idea, to be honest I didn’t get it until the song was mixed. I like the song, just never had any desire to play it.
You told antimusic.com in this interview: “In 2013, it will be the 13th anniversary of 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia and we’ll have to do something special for that. After that, it’s our 20th anniversary as a band in 2014. We’re definitely going to do something special for that.” How far along are discussions on these tantalizing prospects?
Still scheming. Probably gonna run with the “13” theme. I’ve dug up some early mixes of songs and alternate takes as well as a lot of other fun little extras. As far as our 20th anniversary goes…we’ve got a little more time to come up with cool shit for that.
Why did you decide to sign with The End? Courtney has previously referred to your collective incompetence in terms of running your own label.
Andreas [Katsambas], the head of the label, was the most excited about putting our album out. He has more ideas and seems determined to actually work the record. We need some structure when it comes to releasing a record; last time it was just disappointing, the amount of missed opportunities, although the record still did fairly well even with our bungling.
Courtney certainly takes a succinct approach to movie reviews. Do you tend to read reviews of your own music, or is that just entering a world of irritation?
I read them. I don’t like the ones where the reviewer is just taking the opportunity to diss the band. I don’t mind if it’s a bad review as long as it’s the record that is getting reviewed.
Do you plan to use [previously mooted album titles] Shitty Shitty Band Band and Pastor of Muppets for anything else? They’re too good to discard.
I hope not. Some of the ideas that get tossed around are a bit too silly for my tastes.
How did the MythBusters thing come about? Are you fans of the show? Any particular favourite ‘busted myths’ that you’d like to share with us?
Zia is a friend of one of them, so we see them at shows in San Francisco. I like the show and watch it sometimes when I’m in a hotel that has cable, but I don’t have a favorite busted myth.
Is there much in the way of activity on the horizon from your various side projects, or is it all about The Dandy Warhols for the next year or so?
Of course. I keep chipping away at the next Pete International Airport record. The last two trips to Norway, I’ve been recording with Emil from Serena-Maneesh. I’ve started recording with Herman Jolly from Sunset Valley for another project. And there is bound to be something else that pops up.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
We just played a couple of shows with a band from Bergen, Norway called Lovecult. They’re great. Both Courtney and I will be mixing tracks for their record.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Clash.
Finally II: what’s your favourite condiment?
Peter Holmström, thank you.