The Dandy Warhols have cemented themselves as modern rock legends. They’ve made it through many fads and phases of music throughout their careers and somehow came out the other side with their signature sound in tact. Their new album Distortland is no exception and one of their strongest releases proving that they have no reason to slow down. We chatted with front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor about the new record and what kind of fire it takes to record and tour like the Dandy Warhols.
Congrats on the new record. It’s a killer.
Thanks, yeah I love it.
Do you still get the same rush from finishing a record these days?
Yeah. I would say more so. I seem to be slightly better at ironing out stuff. I think our records just get better and more amazing. You don’t ever really seem to learn how to do it right, which is nice. So we have this, sort of, splatter gun approach.
You party, you record a lot, you show up hung-over with your heart on your sleeve all sensitive and shit and then you go, “wait, wait, wait, get rid of that… no. Oh, that’s beautiful, right there. That’s fucking incredible!” So if you live with it as part of your life you’re more able to adapt to have it be powerful and real. A real redemption, a real act of salvation on an emotional level and a psycho-sexual level.
Is that the catalyst that keeps you going back? The hunger for that feeling?
Yeah. You need it. You need it as a person and then you can achieve it in the studio, that high, that absolute elation. When you record a song and run into glitches, you approach it like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I didn’t like it when that came in. Ok, just maybe have it slowly fade in and try it again. Ok, phase in the beginning again. And then it’s just like, ‘fuck, this is incredible!’” and you lose the rest of the world and your problems and your real world is in perspective again.
Music can make you feel so right and in tune. It feels so okay and makes you able to deal with the world. I feel like it reprioritises and should be powerful enough to reprioritise your head and try not to worry and set about getting shit done. I get hung up a lot with worry and stress and anger, music is sort of my thing, and it’s the way I cope.
I’ve read in other interviews that you don’t give a shit about what people think about this record. Has that been true of past records.
Yeah, that’s always the case. I mean, a record isn’t done until you feel that way. It’s just not done yet. You need to get to that point where you listen to the record and go, “I need to listen to that again right now!”
For me, it’s when I turn my phone off, take a fucking huge bong rip, lay on my bed, stare at the ceiling and just fucking rock that hour or however long the record is. But this record is the shit for me right now. It’s the one that makes me feel better.
— The Dandy Warhols (@TheDandyWarhols) August 11, 2016
Do you think it’s easier now that you have a massive career behind you to make a record?
Yeah, somehow we have some more skills but not too many skills. We’re definitely convinced that we’re more in control than we used to be and then we’re constantly reminded that, no, we’re just fucking winging it still. It’s scary but it’s a good sign, I think.
Do you think anybody gets to that point?
Where they think they’re the fucking master? No! You do for a minute sometimes but, you know how it is, the world just spanks you so hard when you get cocky.
The last song on Distortland, ‘The Grow Up Song’ finishes with the line, “I’m too old for this shit.” Is that a sentiment you feel about any part of the recording or tour process.
No. That’s how I feel at about 7:30 in the morning when I’m tired and coked out of my fucking mind. And the dudes left at the party are just… urgh, oh god. That’s just a bad feeling. That drunk, end of the night, ‘why am I still here, I’m too drunk to leave,’ feeling.
But I don’t feel like that all the time. I avoid that. I like to party but I like to drink lots of old French wine, eat food, smoke pot, listen to music with friends and talk real smart. Or think we’re talking smart and about the world. You know, just laugh and be an idiot and have a great time. But the time commitment of hard drugs is just something I don’t care about anymore, I guess.
You’re about to head out on tour. Is that something that’s still part of touring life for you?
Well, yeah. Socialising is part of it. And I just love to be drunk. A fucking a good vintage wine, a nice poet’s high. It’s so good. It’s fucking great. I mean, I wouldn’t be adverse to dropping acid and hiking all day. If I’m going to trip or do mushrooms or something I don’t want to go bar hopping or anything like that. I used to do that but I think it might be a little too dark, a little too dismal for me now.
Check out the tour dates for The Dandy’s below and grab your tickets here.