The Dandy Warhols kick off their latest Australian tour this Tuesday night in Perth, they’ll also make stops in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The band has been busy readying a new album, and Deborah Konopnicki recently caught up with Courtney from the band as they were working on the record. Click below to expand this post and take a read, and re-cap the tour dates.
Hey, Courtney! How are you going?
Good, thank you. How are you?
Not too bad thanks. What are you up to at the moment?
Finishing up our new record.
Oh, fantastic. How is that going?
Oh, I love it. It’s great. It’s very guitar oriented and real clear. Pete and I just kind of pushed ourselves to work out really cool little parts that worked well together.
How far into the process are you at the moment?
Well at the moment Brent’s done with drums and then we need to lay vocal harmonies and shit, and then that’s it! It’s done. The guys might have one or two things left to do, I might have one or two things to do again but yeah, were weekls away from getting it done.
Awesome. Do you guys have a prospective release date for the record at the moment?
We don’t even know which label we’re going put it on but probably in the fall.
Do you think that there’s a chance that you might release that one yourselves or are you looking for labels at the moment to put it out?
No, we’re terrible at that. No-one really has a passion to be a record label. We just like music a lot and thought that it would be enough but it’s not. You really need to have a passion for it. We have a lot of different friends and people that we’re looking at in terms of labels and even some old school giants that we’re talking to. So, we’ll see who ever offers us the best deal and the best home for it.
I read recently in an interview that Pete has been listening to a lot of old rockabilly music for the past while. Has that come across and been a bit of an influence for this new album?
Yeah, it seems to be. I’m really into clean jangly guitar but not reverb, just with a bit of delay on it like Echo and The Bunnymen and then he’s like full on into The Cramps at the moment. It’s just reverb and tremolo all the way up, just really shrill and tinny and then rather than layering guitars we just make it so you can hear both of us playing.
Would you say that it’s a bit of a new sound for you guys or just an updated version of your sound with some new influences?
Yeah, who knows. It’ll probably end up sounding like our first record , but I want it to be a lot cleaner, crisper and a lot more high-tech. I want the mix to be more high end. I want it to be slick with a super hard rock mix, particuly for the all the jangle that we have and all the smack. We’ll see though.
Do you think that you might have some of this new material ready in time for your upcoming Australian tour?
We’ll see. There’s probably two or three that will be ready in time. We haven’t really had rehearsals yet. Sometimes songs take over a year. Sometimes we’re working on the next record when the songs we nailed on the last record are finally able to be played live. It’s so weird.
Are you not a band that likes to debut new material before it gets realised?
I don’t really prefer it either way. Our lives are really just record releases and our lives are very haphazard in the way that it goes. We try not to control our own lifestyle too much. This time, because Fathead is in Australia we’ll just have few rehearsals and then it’s the Australia tour. Probably two or three songs off of the new record we will play. If you think about it, that’s about all that we play off of any record because we have about eight of them now.
Your Australian tour was announced quite far in advance, which was a nice surprise for fans considering that you were here late 2010. How are you feeling about coming back so soon?
I’ll just be glad to get back down to Australia and to just spend a couple of weeks down there. I haven’t travelled since December and it’s KILLING me.
You’re always mentioning that Australia is one of your favourite places to tour. What is it that makes it stand out so much for you?
I think that it’s just really chilled out and has a kind of 1950′s sort of vibe and it’s sensible… and just has good sense! It’s just chilled out, it’s easy going and it’s just right!
Fair enough! Well, the last time that you were here was for the Parklife festival that ran over September and October. You were on the bill with acts ranging from Soulwax to Missy Elliott. How did you get involved with such a diverse lineup?
Well, what I was told was that they kind of wanted to get away from the roofie date-rape scene. So they put in Midnight Juggernauts and they put us on! That was a really cool festival.
How do you think that you guys fit in with the general feel of the festival. It’s marketed as a dance festival with a hint of urban flavour but it was definitely cool to see you guys headlining at night.
Yeah, it was super fun.
These shows that are coming up are going to be on a much smaller scale. How do you as a band tailor your set to fit the festival and club show settings?
Yeah, we get a lot more time in a club so we have a lot more time to get the jams on and really drag out the groove and get the swirly sea of euphoria happening. We can really get the trance going a lot when we’re playing a 1 1/2 – 2 hours show as opposed to 50 minutes. At a club show you’re playing twice as much music. We’re also a band that just loves to get a jam on and we just love to get a trance going. We love to just work. So, there will be a lot more of that and then we can pull out some more obscure songs because people have more patience for it. There’s not like nine other bands playing.
The record that you guys were promoting last year was “The Capitol Years” that was showcasing tracks from your time at Capitol Records. Why did you guys decide that it was the right time to release a best of? Did you feel like you were at that stage in your career where a retrospective might be needed for a new generation of fans coming through?
I don’t really know, it just felt right. We also don’t even know how long Capitol Records was going to be around. If we had waited two more years, they might have been like “We don’t know what you’re talking about! Wait, what? No… We don’t release greatest hits records; not unless you’re The Beatles!”
When it came down to putting that record together, how on earth did you go about deciding what songs to include? it must have been a task trying to whittle down your career to one album! I guess you would have just stuck to the singles and fan favourites?
Yeah. Pretty much. We didn’t even put filler on there! You just get the hits first of all. The big ones in the top 20, all of the ones that broke the top 20 in different countries; You put those in chronological order. Then there are ones like “Holding Me Up” for fans and people that are really into the Warhols is a huge hit. Same with “Good Morning”. They are just deep, deep favourites. We had to put those in. Just in-case there is someone that doesn’t know who the hell we are, they are there so they can go “Oh, wow… This is sort of the whole picture of this band”. It’s not just the blind man holding the elephant’s tail going, “Hey… elephants are really ropey.” You know? You’ve got to have some thick long elephant legs and a good long trunk, and big old elephant ears and a thick elephant hide!
Well that is indeed a very interesting way of looking at things! If you could pick one song as the best that the Dandy Warhols had released during the Capitol years, what would it be?
You know, I REALLY like “Bohemian Like You”. It’s just so fucking perfectly balanced. It’s is really just a perfectly balanced thing. You can put it in, hit play and it always just creates it’s own energy. It doesn’t seem to need volume, it doesn’t need the right kind of stereo, it’s just really, really something. They story is funny and it’s just a magical moment; the whole thing! I wrote that guy in like 40 minutes. It was just like “This happening to me!” and wham! It was out there. It’s fucking great. Then again, “You Were The Last High” is another one that I really, really like. The version that is on “The Dandy Warhols Are Sound” is the version that is in the right order. There are versions that have bits and pieces chopped in that just don’t feel right. It was getting a little fiddly, and that’s why we had to get off of Capitol: they were fiddling with it too much. They can fiddle with our photos and shit like that but we can’t have people fiddling with our actual music because you want it to last forever. It was like going on vacation and letting someone stay in your house for two weeks and they’ve tried to tear out walls and move doors and change the pluming around and move the sink. Fuck! It sucks particularity because i’m a seriously, seriously good designer. I’m a hell of a designer. Things need to have balance. I’ve designed my own home, I’ve designed my own boots! I’m a designer and don’t fuck with my structure, dude!
I think that I’m just about out of time now, but I wanted to ask you about your cover of “Cherry Bomb” that you made for the Runnaway’s tribute album. How did that come about?
The dude at the radio station where it was done was a fan of the Warhols and was like “Do you guys want to do a song for it?” we were like “What song?” and said “Well, I was thinking “Cherry Bomb”. I was like “Yeeeeeeah! Great! We get ‘Cherry Bomb’! Done. We’re in!”