During the Flaming Lips‘ Guinness World Record-breaking tour, Wayne Coyne held an impromptu press conference on his tour bus. During it, the singer talked at length about making music on computers, his Twitter etiquette and troubleshooting with technology.
“Kids can record nowadays just right on their laptops, in their bedrooms and figure out how to make a billion different sounds,” Coyne told reporters. “That’s exactly why we were so drawn to punk rock in the late Seventies and early Eighties. You didn’t have to wait for anybody to give you money. Who has a tape machine? Dave Grohl does,” he said, referring to Grohl’s acceptance speech at the latest Grammy Awards, during which the Foo Fighters frontman hailed music-making on traditional analog machines.
Coyne contradicted the idea that elaborate and expensive analog recording sessions follow in line with authentic rock roots. “We work in studios like that, but that’s not punk rock,” he said. “Punk rock is: get your laptop, go to GarageBand and in five minutes, you have song.”
The Lips singer also confessed to being uninterested in the process of recording. “People probably think that I’m spending all day messing around (in the studio),” he said. “I’m really not. It may take a year, but I’m always trying to get my idea done and get on with the next thing.”
According to Coyne, using computers enabled Chris Martin and Ke$ha to be a part of the Lips’ Heady Fwends in a fraction of the time it would have taken to get them in the studio. The collaboration album, previously sold as part of Record Store Day, was released widely last week.
“Half of the collaborators on Heady Fwends, we’ve never met. We still haven’t met Justin Vernon from Bon Iver,” Coyne said. “All this stuff was done from Twitter, texting and sending files back and forth, through the air.”
Though he never records on a computer, Coyne does rely on his smartphone to streamline the recording process and enact last-minute solutions. When Ariel Pink’s collaboration didn’t come through due to a technical file error, Coyne texted Jim James of My Morning Jacket, whom he’d also never met, to step in.
Some recording industry details, however, can’t be resolved via a text message. Coyne explained that negotiations to include Chris Martin in the iTunes version of Fwends had not been successful. Despite this, Coyne spoke highly in person of Martin, Grohl and even Erykah Badu, as he has done online.
“My Twitter is a lot like me,” he said. “Sometimes it’s utterly ridiculous, but I never use it as a format to say, ‘Fuck these people.’ The only people I ever put down are Republicans.”