Wayne Coyne and his baby. The Flaming Lips, May 2013.
Wayne is the greatest.
So, now we’re about to go on the road, we’re working some of the kinks out of all that stuff, because it’s not just new music, it’s a new stage show and everything. There’s new video stuff, there’s new lights, there’s new technology, all kinds of stuff happening and it all goes hand in hand with this new music. It’s almost like a little rebirth. I hate to use that word, but it’s kind of like that. I think as the summer goes on we won’t be playing the record all the way through, but half our show will be new stuff. We’re going to try to make it work where we can play this new stuff and then drag some of the old along with it but not make it seem like such a contrast. We don’t want to make it seem like, “Oh, they’re doing The Terror stuff, now they’re doing stuff from Yoshimi.” We’d like to be able to have it where that can all be in the same live show and all be the same kind of live trip. That’s what we’re struggling with now, a way to make all this new stuff work with the old stuff and not have it be such a black and white change within the show. — Steven Drozd, on The Flaming Lips’ new live show
I guess the earliest stuff was we were up at Dave Fridmann’s mixing Heady Fwends, which is just a big hodgepodge of all these different projects and recordings with different people. Dave’s got another studio set up so if you’ve got some free time or you’re bored with the proceedings in the main room, you can go off and just do your own thing. So I was off in another room just kind of recording sounds. I didn’t really have an agenda, I wasn’t thinking of a new record, I wasn’t thinking of any specific project. In fact, it was the opposite. It was like, for me personally, I was just fucking burnt out. We’d done the 24-hour song, we’d done the 6-hour song, we’d been touring like crazy, we’d done all these re-releases throughout 2011 and mixing Heady Fwends, and I just didn’t really have any musical ideas even. I was just kind of working in this void of just recording sounds that I thought sounded cool. But I guess there was something there because I kept going back to this one song called “You Are Alone” on the new record, and then Wayne heard I was working on it and he just really responded. If he likes something I’m doing, he’ll respond and want to work on it, but this was like a whole other thing. He kept asking me about what it was. He was just like, “What is this you’re doing? It just sounds so sad and terrifying,” or whatever, you know?
But he was really curious about it and he wanted to work on it with me, so then we started working on that and just kept listening to it just for enjoyment not thinking it was for any project or anything. It was almost just so much fun to do this just for… I mean, we get to make records we want to make anyway but a lot of times you have deadlines and there’s things you have to do at a certain time, and you need material for this or that, and not having any of those things to worry about, this song was just kind of floating there in its own little world.
Then we just talked about trying to do a few more songs kind of like that in the same realm where there wouldn’t be any rock guitars, there wouldn’t be necessarily a pop song or anything, it could just be some sounds and harboring that realm. So we did a few songs like that and after three or four, that’s when we started talking about it being a record. Like, what if we made a whole record that was of this ilk, of this kind of trip that stay focused or stayed in the same kind of sound, the same kind of whatever feeling or emotions this music is evoking? And after four or five songs it seemed like it was going to work, and I have to say it’s one of the easiest Lips records I’ve ever made. It’s funny this far down the line and the record sounds so bleak and stuff, but for me it was one of our easiest records we’ve ever made. So that’s kind of how it happened. — Steven Drozd, on what led to The Terror
It just couldn’t have happened if we hadn’t done those other things first. For me personally, when we got done with the 24-hour song specifically, I just had no more musical ideas. I always have stuff that I record at home that I’ll bring in and we’ll work on together, by the end of the 24-hour song, I just had nothing. There was nothing I wanted to do, there were no songs I had that I wished we would have done.
So when I started “You Are Alone,” it was really almost just starting from a blank canvas. And then when Wayne jumped in there with me and we started working together, it’s almost as if we were discovering music together for the first time or something. [Laughs.] We didn’t have to write songs for a record, and we had these old synthesizers that we would just record a sound on and start a song from instead of him bringing in a song or me bringing in a song. — Steven Drozd talking about The Terror
Even though a lot got recorded between Embryonic and The Terror, The Terror to me is a perfect record after Embryonic. It’s like Embryonic is the wild, acid LSD freak-out party that goes through the night, and then The Terror is the next morning when the sun’s coming up and you’re thinking, “Oh my God, what am I going to do?” That to me is the sound of The Terror, which is a perfect sort of parallel to our career too. We had this big freak-out and now we’re coming down from the freak-out and what are we going to do? But back to your question, I don’t know what would have happened after Embryonic if we hadn’t had two years of just exhaustive recording and writing and stuff. — Steven Drozd talking about The Terror
But that “You Are Alone” song, more than anything ever, I think, he was just like, “What is that?” He wanted to know what it was and what it was all about and why did I make that combination of sounds and why was it that way, and he just felt so strongly about wanting to do something with it that that told me that he must be on some similar wavelength about how he feels in his own personal life or something. I think maybe another reason why it was so easy for us to make the record is that we were kind of on the same page. I mean, usually we agree musically on things, but definitely the beginning of The Terror was just an effortless thing. So I think it says something about the band’s career path, our timeline, I think it also says something about us personally that we wanted to make that kind of music. I think some people don’t hear it as being as depressing as I think it sounds. But when I say depressing, I mean it in a really good way. To me it just expresses something that I wanted to hear and I like when I hear other bands do that. — Steven Drozd talking about The Terror
5.4.13 - The Flaming Lips live @ Track 29 in Chattanooga, TN
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