THE FLAMING LIPS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAKE CHESSUM
ASSISTED BY KEVIN TRAGESER
RETOUCHING BY TODD AT 4C IMAGING
ELIJAH WOOD—So you’re in Boston. You’re still on the tour, right?
WAYNE COYNE—We don’t ever think of it as a tour, because to me a tour feels like you’re going to be in Michigan one night and then you’re going to be in Minnesota and Chicago, but what we do is more like you’re in Texas one night and Madrid the next. You jump around, you go to Europe and Asia and everywhere.
EW—So you’re not on buses this time around?
WC—No, we are. We’re getting on the bus tomorrow, and then we’ll be on the bus for the next couple of weeks but occasionally we’ll fly to England and be on a bus there for a week and then we’ll fly back. We’ll drive from Seattle to Texas on a bus; we don’t give a shit about the distance. People don’t realize what a luxurious bunch of self-indulgent laziness you can get up to on a bus. You can lie in bed all day; it’s dark and quiet.
EW—I’ve spent a bit of time on tour buses with Gogol Bordello and you’re right, it’s like a dark cave and you can sleep the day away and then get up and go to your show. You have no concept of where you are at any given time.
WC—But after a couple of dates you don’t really care. Here’s why I think it’s so cosy. This goes back to prehistoric times when humans all lived and slept in caves together. When other people are sleeping it makes you want to sleep and when other people are awake it makes you want to be awake. There’s this urge. We go back to being cavemen – that’s what we really want to do.
EW—And there’s something kind of magical about it as well. You guys have had a pretty incredible year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much work come out of your band so consistently especially with the amazing gummy project and all these collaborations you’ve done. It sort of seems like a crazy creative explosion – what happened?
WC—I think it’s just called scheduling. When you think about people who are art majors in college and they have all this work due on a certain day, it’s amazing how much you can crank out if you have to do it. When given the complete freedom of saying my art is finished whenever I feel like it’s finished, shit can drag on for years and years. Before a band is successful the less they have to adhere to this schedule of release. We’ve definitely fallen into that in the past where it’s like, we might put out a record this year, but it might be next year. And I don’t always think that’s a good thing. I like the idea that we’re going to work now, and tomorrow we’re going to party, as opposed to that nebulous life where you’re kind of working all the time, but not working. When you work on movies you totally see it because everything is money, money, money and if you don’t get this shit done today it’ll be worse tomorrow. I think people in the movie industry understand, more than ever, that now is the time. But I think musicians think they’re in a different world from everybody else and they like this idea of inspiration and motivation but I’m like, “Dude, we’re recording today and whatever it was you thought was going to happen, it’s happening right now.” I like there being some urgency.
(Excerpt from Issue 04)
Enjoy more on thelabmagazine.com, coming summer 2012!