Flaming Lips Nearly Done With New Studio Album

Unplanned sessions 'took us by surprise,' says Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips performs in Cornwall, England.
Caitlin Mogridge/Redferns
June 21, 2012 5:00 PM ET

Wayne Coyne says the Flaming Lips are nearly finished recording their new studio album, a collection of brand-new material the Oklahoma psych rockers have been touching up at a studio in Buffalo, New York and hope to release this fall. "We did a session last week, and when we get a free couple weeks at the end of July we'll finish it up," the bandleader tells Rolling Stone. "I honestly think it might be the best Flaming Lips record that we've ever made.

"It really took us by surprise," Coyne says of the new material. "We were kind of making it like we were sleepwalking." Many of the tracks on the new album, Coyne explains, were composed "subconsciously" during the various sessions for the Lips' recent collaborative work, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. Given a limited release in April for Record Store Day, that album – which found them partnering with a diverse array of artists from Bon Iver and Ke$ha to Coldplay's Chris Martin – will receive a proper release on June 26th.

Coyne says the band hadn't intended on releasing new material so soon after Heady Fwends, but after recording six or seven tracks – all composed in "strange, different spheres" –  the bandmembers began to realize they'd made significant headway on a cohesive set of music. "Things happen when you're making lots and lots of music and working with lots of freaky people," Coyne explains. "It sends you off in directions that you would not think of. That's the magic of music."

One project that Coyne and his Lips cohorts are well aware of is one of the notoriously daring band's most outrageous and mind-boggling ideas yet. On June 27th and 28th, the Lips will attempt to break Jay-Z 's Guinness Book record for the most live concerts during a 24-hour timespan. The Lips will embark on a 24-hour tour, beginning in Memphis and ending in New Orleans, and hitting eight cities in the process. The entire trek will be live-streamed to coincide with MTV's O Music Awards. Coyne expects a few hundred "Flaming Lips freaks" to come along for the ride, and he says this could be the start of a new method of touring for his band.

"It could be a way that we might do tours from now on," he says. "It's strange on a lot of levels, which intrigued us the most." The world's record aside, Coyne is just excited for the adventure. "Even if we screw it up and aren't able to get the actual record," he says,  "it will still be an insanely marvelous 24 hours of Flaming Lips music."

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