Portland’s Dandy Warhols have just released a second remix collection, Earth to the Remix: Vol II. Frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor talks to Radar Online about what’s new in Dandyland.
Hi Courtney, congrats on the remix album. You you guys have become quite the remixers—how and why did this happen?
Well I guess it became too frustrating having to decide on just one approach to the mix of each song or jam and have that be the only one to get released. Songs can be done in so many different ways and bands are made up of creative people so it only follows, really. Well, that and then having our own studio but nowadays everyone kind of has their own studio.
The first Earth to Remix you gave away for free whereas this one is being sold. What’s the difference?
We need the dough now is the difference. We made enough on the new record Earth to the Dandy Warhols to survive for a while and do all the arts and crafts stuff like this that we wanted to do. Earth to the Remix: Vol I we gave away as a CD only in record stores because we love record stores. We’re old school in a lot of that sentimentality shit. Shopping at record stores, playing dive bars and all the rock clichés, like smoking and drinking at the same time.
What was your vision for this album and did you stay true to that or veer off in another direction along the way?
We wanted a shimmering wall of mush and we got it. It’s really the classic Warhols’ sound although a few of the songs demanded more spartan mixes like “And Then I Dreamt of Yes” and “Welcome to the Third World”.
Per usual, you guys mix up a lot sounds and genres on this album, and seem to be having a ton of fun. What were you inspired by?
Nothing I can think of right off hand. I guess we just like and feel a lot of different genres of music and, yeah, we just love being in our studio making cool sounding shit pretty much all the time.
How did the collaborations with Mark Knopfler and Mike Campbell come about?
For “Love Song” I wanted the best banjo player in America so I called Mike Campbell. He said he was. Um, sweet! I had also put in a call to Mark Knopfler under the false impression that he would be a banjo megamonster. When he told me he didn’t play banjo I asked him to play the antique Dobro from the cover of Brothers In Arms, so that’s the big warm guitar in the right speaker on that song. It really took some work to get my guitar to fit in there with two legends like that and not feel like I’m sticking out.
Tell us about the whole self-releasing approach, how did that come about and has it served you well in the current music climate?
Yeah, it’s nice to work hard on what we’re good at. I think we’ve always been pretty bad at the PR end of things so we just make a lot more music now instead. It seems to be working just barely.
Tell us what else is going on in Dandyland – what other bands are you producing?
We’re slowly working on three hours of dinner music. There really hasn’t been great tafelmusik, as they say, for about 350 years. Current music that might work is a real crap shoot of “chill out” or “acid jazz” over-programming so we’re working on the problem and will of course devote ourselves to exhausting months of research.
Any other projects?
Another thing is we’re putting together a pitch for a reality show involving the newish bands of the Portland area. We give them 48 hours in the Odditorium and all of our stuff with a to-do list that is way too long. There’s such genius in Portland that all we have had to do so far is roll cameras and amazing stuff happens. I have nostalgia for when MTV was music oriented so we’ll try to offer it to them first.
What bands out there right now do you feel a musical kinship with?
I dunno. We feel unlike any band we’ve ever met but as far as music goes, the CDs in my car right now are Blitzentrapper, Band of Horses, The Bravery and Fleet Foxes.
What are your tour plans in the US, and are you doing any of the European festivals?
Yeah we’ll do some touring in the States but we really f**ked up in Europe somehow and our record never really got “released.” I think it just went up for sale and no one really did any advertising of this fact. This is just what happens when we try to have a record label I guess. We’re learning slowly, but really us running a record label has been a bit like Mickey Mouse running a machine shop.