Star Scene: ANDREW W.K

Predictably Andrew W.K‘s scene is “partying”. However, this singer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist, renowned for his hit Party Hard, is not a cliché.  The jubilant lyrics of “when it’s time to party, we will always party hard” hold a deeper, far-reaching, meaning. As W.K states: “by its very definition, it’s hard to define”. He explains: “Part of partying to me is releasing yourself, or the idea of celebration, from the need to be defined. There’s something quite liberating about letting go of that type of understanding in favour of a deeper, more physical encounter with the idea. It’s not even an idea, I guess. It’s more of a phenomenon. Partying can be defined as just being glad you’re alive and expressing gratitude towards that.”

W.K’s philosophy of life is calm and relaxed. Nothing seems to burden him. Currently, he is “travelling”, with a positive spin. He states:  “I kind of live on the road. I suppose wherever I am is home. Wherever I’m touring is home for that day. Home is where the heart is and my heart is in my chest, so wherever I am must be home.” Yet, his cool approach doesn’t equate to coldness nor ungratefulness. W.K expands on touring: “Oh, I love it. Absolutely love it. I love everything about it. It’s one of those rare I suppose gifts of clarity in life, where I’m able to recognize as I’m doing something that not only do I enjoy it, but that this is what I’m meant to be doing. It’s something I’ve grown to love more and more, the longer I’ve done it. Everything about it. The travelling. All the work that leads up to the show. All the work that leads up to the tour itself. All the preparation, much like we’re speaking right now. It’s very satisfying work for me because you’re putting a lot of effort in with a team of people who all believe in the shared goal that you’re all engaged in together. Then you have the delight of immediately experiencing the hard work pay off in the concert itself, with other people there to get immediate feedback. It’s really to me tremendously gratifying work to be able to do. I’m very lucky.”

Touring musically and with spoken word, W.K is now back with “You’re Not Alone”, his first album of new rock songs in nine years. As the upbeat converges with the subdued, this 16 track album, that includes three spoken word tracks, takes the listener on a profound journey of self-doubt towards self-acceptance, of perplexity and confusion towards understanding and acceptance, of fear of life towards joy of living. Ultimately, the album delivers the positive message of W.K’s philosophy of ‘party’, that of gratefulness of existence. This process towards positivity was not always straightforward for W.K. He states: “Well, I’m working at it very hard. It does not come easily to me. First and foremost, I’m sending this positive message to myself. I suppose in the process of sending it to myself, it initially would also leak out to the people around me. I was encouraged by their feedback to let it leak out more and then even begin to intentionally amplify that positivity. That’s when the beginnings of this party quest took shape that we would have a mindset and a holistic action that we could take every day, put all of ourselves into it, have something you could devote all of yourself to that was about feeling amazing. Not amazing in a way that’s one-sided or one-dimensional, but a type of deep amazement that was so transcendent that it allowed even these painful parts of life to be amazing, or at least valuable.”

“You’re Not Alone” drives hopefulness further with the inclusion of the three spoken word tracks. W.K was aware that the tracks would have impact yet with new ventures come doubt and uncertainties. He states: “The motivational speeches were an attempt to connect some of the work I had done as a speaker, as a writer, and to I suppose show how all these various efforts were still directed towards one end goal of generating this type of euphoric optimism. This kind of transcendent positivity. I never had thought to do that before. It was suggested by one of my managers to have a brief motivational speech in between two of the songs. I thought it was a great idea, but one that I was terrified to do. It never would have occurred to me to do that, but it was one of those ideas I could tell was right and I just had to muster up the courage to go through with it.”
With the songs on the new album, W.K states: “They’re all rewarding and challenging. My feelings about them, like any song I’ve had the good fortune to make, my feelings are always changing. Sometimes I’ll really like one. Then I won’t like it. Sometimes one that I really had conflicted feelings about will unexpectedly become one of my favourite songs. It’s so all over the place that I’ve learned to … I don’t know. Not think about it too much once it’s done. Now before it’s done, as you’re asking, it could be quite intense and a great struggle. Part of the joy of releasing it is once it’s out, there’s nothing I can do at that point. It’s over. The best thing I can do is to move on and to almost have no opinion about it at all.”
With lyrics, W.K states: “There’s never been a formula I’ve been able to rely upon personally. Most of the time, even now looking back at the lyrics just from that album, I can’t believe that I was able to get them together. Not that they’re so great or mind-blowing that I’m so impressed with myself. It’s so difficult for me personally to come up with words in the first place and then be satisfied or confident in them enough to commit to those words out of all the words that could be sung. At some point, something very odd seems to occur. Countless other people that work in the creative field will describe a similar experience. Something takes over. It could be your fire mind. It could be a more primal point of view. It could be an outside force. There’s many ways to interpret it. When you go into a type of hypnotic detachment, which is quite necessary because that detachment is what again frees you from your own doubts. Frees you from your own insecurities and allows … Turns off the critical portion of your mind enough for this song to sing itself to you. The next thing you know, the lyrics are just done. It’s a really enthralling high to go through that experience, where you just felt this … It felt easier than effortless. It’s a real ecstatic kind of sensation. Then it’s gone and you wish you could come up with some method that would allow that to occur on command, but for me it’s remained very elusive. I’m amazed that I’ve been able to write even one song at all, let alone several dozen over the years.”
Music composition holds a more personal connection for W.K. He explains: “The music part is very different for me from the words. The music for me is actually the personal side of it. In a strange sense. I feel like many people might write where the words are personal expression, but for me, the music is the part that’s much more close to me in terms of the core changes and the melodies and how those emerge. It’s coming out of the deepest part of what I would call my true self. The self that is this particular little window that each of us has, looking out into the world. The lens that we view the world through. That music is coming through my lens. Then the words, it’s almost like the words attach themselves to that. I looked at last night when I was trying to fall asleep about the lyrics to the song Devil’s On Your Side. I just couldn’t believe that I got to write those lyrics. I very much had no problem coming up with the core changes and was really excited about the music. I really enjoyed putting together all the music part. Then once all that is done, there’s this slight dread of ‘Oh, no. Now I have to come up with words’. I think I don’t even attempt to make the songs personal in a conscious way because of that. A lot of the lyrics for me are aspirational, meaning that I’m not singing about how I feel or expressing an experience I had or using the lyrics as a therapeutic tool to discuss my inner experience. They’re more a desire of how I wish I felt in trying to use music and the words to describe an idealized state of mind or idealized way of life that I’m striving towards. I can use the music as a means to get there.”

Next week W.K will once again be driving his party philosophy through Melbourne and Sydney. He states: “My band and I are just extremely excited to get to play these two concerts. We’re very thankful we were invited by the promoter and given the chance. We weren’t sure we were going to get to come to Australia this year. We had been really working at it. Finally, someone came through with these two show offers and we were really excited. I think this is the best my band has ever been. I’m extremely grateful to these musicians for playing with me and bringing the music up to a level that it’s never been before. That’s not to say that we haven’t had amazing band members in the past. It’s really the result of this existing now for almost, closing in on, 20 years. All that practice has paid off and made it partier. We’re really excited to bring this to Australia.”

Andrew W. K’s tour starts next week. Join the party!

Destroy All Lines present: Andrew W.K.

THE PARTY NEVER DIES 

AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018

with very special guests THE BENNIES + BARE BONES

It’s safe to say, nobody has partied harder, longer or more fervently than the undisputed King of Partying himself, ANDREW W.K.

ANDREW W.K. is a one-man music machine possessed of a single-minded, monomaniacal focus to spread a singular message: That to party is to exist. And to exist is to party. Fans in Sydney and Melbourne will get to experience this life-affirming and overwhelming show in August because ANDREW W.K. is coming to Australia this August and he’s coming in hard!

An ANDREW W.K. live show is backed by a six-piece band of hard-driving musicians, became a collective celebration of unbridled joy that often turns entire dance floors into a giant, whirling circle pit of jostling bodies, with sweat and hair flying, and generally ends in a mass stage invasion that tears down the boundary between artist and audience.

The party lives on!

Assisting festivities, THE BENNIES join the Andrew W.K ‘Party Never Dies’ Australian Tour. The lads will be bringing their Technicolor spandex, tie-dye tank tops and stoner-ska-punk to the party making this one absolute banging tour to remember!

Joining the out of control good times will be Sydney 5-piece BARE BONES who are set to deliver a sweat-drenched serve of hardcore rock’n’roll that is not for the faint-hearted.

Tickets on sale now. Selling fast!

TOUR DATES:

SATURDAY 25 AUGUST – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE 18+

SUNDAY 26 AUGUST – MANNING BAR, SYDNEY 18+

www.tickets.destroyalllines.com

About Mary Boukouvalas 915 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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