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You, I'm sure, have been to see a movie at a movie theater where people are talking on their cellphones behind you during the movie. As much as the screen is big and you can tell what's going on, you just don't like this distraction of them not being into the same thing that you're into. You want them to shut up. I think that's what we're doing. We're just gonna create something that if you're not paying attention to it, you're probably gonna want to leave. And when we play a place like Liberty Hall, it should be about as overwhelming as it can get, which I think is pretty fun.
Changing gears a bit: Heady Fwends is one of the most random collaborative albums maybe ever. How did you assemble the group for it? Was it all through Twitter?
Well, I like this word random. It's the first time someone has said it, and it's exactly fucking right. I could have never, even in a ridiculous imagination, thought that I could have gotten Chris Martin, Ke$ha, Lightning Bolt and Neon Indian all together within fuckin' 12 minutes of each other. I would say some of it was because of Twitter, but all of it is based on [the idea that] you kind of reach out to people and hope that they're already aware of, and like, what you're doing. I don't think it would work, regardless of Twitter or anything, if you reached out and asked, "Would you like to do a song with the Flaming Lips?" And they said, "No, I hate you guys. I don't want to." It just wouldn't work.
Like, Justin Vernon, from Bon Iver — that was definitely a connection through Twitter. But the minute that we were able to connect with each other, I realized that he was a big fan of the Flaming Lips, and he realized I was a big fan of what he was doing. So that, I think, is mostly what it is, liking each other's work and liking being around each other and to be around their energy and creativity and their way of being. I know these things sound hokey, but they're very true. It's really amazing being around people who do cool music.
And then others would be based around friendship. ... Most of the people I'm working with are pretty busy, and I'm here interrupting them, saying, "Here, do this thing with me." So it's probably mostly that people like each other's music, and then, secondly, convenient schedules. Mostly I'm texting people, and am relentless in that way. When I say I care about something, I don't just care about it once. I care in every way that I can. And if I want something to happen, I let people know that I really want it to happen. I'll do everything that I can. It's not anything other than sheer will, and it's important that we try. I'm getting more out of it than they are. I love the energy and unpredictableness of this type of work.
The results of this were very interesting. It's a surprisingly cohesive album, considering how different all of the artists are.
Thank you, that's a great compliment. Some of it, I think, we just got lucky that there were some Flaming Lips-type themes running through this — you know, insects, this idea of living in a world that is separate from this other world. It's everybody being so like-minded that we can sing one of my songs that sounds very much like one of my songs, and Justin Vernon can sing one of his songs, and it sounds very much like one of his songs, and yet they sort of sound like they belong together.