Freaky, Sexy Lips: 5 Questions With the Flaming Lips

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Since the inception of the Flaming Lips in 1983, frontman Wayne Coyne has been considered somewhat of an enigmatic character, even within the world of psychedelic rock. An oddball musician with a knack for novelty, Coyne has remained faithful to his early rock following while also exploring advancements in the world of music production. This methodology of blending psychedelic rock with experimental electro is one that helped the Lips snag three Grammys in the past 10 years.

In summer 2012 Coyne gave his freak fandom more of the stuff they craved with the release of “Heady Fwends,” a collaborative album that featured tracks with Ke$ha, Bon Iver and Yoko Ono. With their 13th studio album, “The Terror,” released this past April, Coyne is insistent that the band opts out of any kind of formulaic attitude when it comes to producing new records and instead focuses on experimenting with new sounds and methods.

Freaky, Sexy Lips: 5 Questions With the Flaming Lips

5The Terror

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TOP5: What was the creative process like going from “Embryonic” to “The Terror?” Did collaborating with a myriad of different artists on “Heady Fwends” in between the two change the way you approached this new record?

Wayne: We try not to have a way that we do stuff. I think that we work so intensely that you kind of find a way to make records. The middle 90s—1995, 1996—we began working in a kind of more modern way, working in the computer, using Pro Tools and things like that. And that really opened up a whole different world to us. Previous to that, we would’ve been more like a normal rock group where we play some music and then we do a few overdubs on top of that, but it would still be based around a song or something that we would play. As we got into that period, we would sometimes not really ever be playing music together—It would simply just be music that we would be building on the computer. We did that for a couple records. I think we find that if we do something for a couple years, we get pretty sick of it and we’re glad to move on and discover something new. That doesn’t mean that we know what we’re doing. It’s just… I think sometimes when you’re experiencing something that is fresh, it may not be fresh to the world, but it’s fresh to you. That really pushes it along.

The way that we recorded it on “Embryonic” was a more freaky, wide-open kind of sound. We would record things just as primitively as we could, take them into the computer and then add—sometimes elaborately—over these more primitive things. But I think we found that, when we started to do the next record, we did a little bit of that but we got kind of bored with that. We didn’t think we should make another kind of record like that. We have a certain resistance to settling in and doing the same thing over and over… I think we’re always sick of the old way and whatever the new way will be, let’s do that.

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