As troublesome as it might be to consider, The Flaming Lips have been a going concern within the wooly, wild world of indie/psych rock for over 35 years at this level. That’s 17 official studio albums, over a dozen EPs, reside data and compilations and actually a whole lot of songs. That’s a whole lot of materials for anyone to attempt to parse via, which is why it ought to come as no shock that the Lips’ upcoming best hits album runs a jaw-dropping 53-songs lengthy, unfold over three separate CDs.
For Wayne Coyne, the band’s mercurial frontman, there was an admitted little bit of hesitation concerning the concept of making a best hits album at this level within the band’s profession, however the extra he considered it, the extra he bought into the thought.
“I’m at all times relieved if somebody goes to all the trouble to say, ‘Right here’s a working playlist,’ he stated. “In that form of method, I began to assume, ‘Oh, that is gonna be nice.’ As a substitute of it feeling prefer it’s this large essential factor. It’s actually only a method of placing a whole lot of your music collectively… curating it so informal listener, or somebody that doesn’t need to spend an excessive amount of time can simply go from track to track and it flows alongside and so they don’t have to consider it an excessive amount of.”
One of many causes it took so lengthy for the Flaming Lips to roll out a best hits album, and one of many greater issues Coyne needed to recover from, was their very own view of themselves as an “albums band.” Over time, the band has gone to nice lengths to create gorgeous, cohesive visions, designed to be heard without delay in sequence, like their 2002 masterpiece Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robotics or the sooner effort Zaireeka, which was designed to be heard concurrently on 4 separate audio methods. How would the songs work exterior of their preliminary context?
“We get so entangled in the entire nuances of what makes one file thematically this manner, or this different file is so drastically completely different and typically to the surface listener it’s not so entrenched in its which means,” he admitted. “I believe that stuff is perpetually hooked up to the explanations we made it and why you picked this factor as a substitute of that factor and that coloring and that temper or no matter. However in time, I believe we’ll be taught to regulate to, ‘Race For The Prize’ being adopted ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.’ In some world that’s going to work.”
Regardless of not enthusiastic about making a best hits album earlier than, the band had one thing of a blueprint, due to a working checklist that had been put collectively and curated by their supervisor over the span of a long time. “I imply, his philosophy was to say, ‘Look, you bought to attempt to embody at the very least one from each album, and in the event you did that, you’d have already got too many songs already.’ I believe he made a great calculated checklist that he thought nicely this isn’t gonna please all people, but it surely’s gonna please most individuals.” Coyne added, “We don’t actually have hits. We’re form of choosing and selecting what we predict is a success to someone.”
One of the crucial fascinating picks within the assortment is a track known as “The Captain,” a long-time fan-favorite that was left off the official model of The Comfortable Bulletin, however has popped up elsewhere via the years. “I believe we might at all times go to the largest most dramatic factor and say, ‘Let’s get to that as a result of we need to get the large stuff, the large themes, and the large dramas and the large pleasure,’ he defined. “I believe ‘The Captain’ is a superb instance of that [as] an excessive amount of. It’s like drama inside a drama inside drama. It’s simply too many heightened issues. I believe it’s nice. I believe it’s enjoyable, however I believe by the top of it, you’re not fairly positive you need to ever take heed to it once more as a result of it’s simply too epic, it’s too biblical, it’s too saturated with this one factor, which we completely cherished… we’ve been in a position to take a look at it and say, possibly that’s not what the album of Comfortable Bulletin wants, however definitely it’s enjoyable to listen to exterior that context like the best way it’s on the best hits album.”
When requested which of their songs most informal followers consider once they contemplate the Flaming Lips, Coyne’s reply isn’t too stunning. “I form of assume ‘Do You Understand??’ so far as recognition goes,” he stated. “There’s that unusual little nuance of which means in that lyric, ‘The place everybody sometime will die.’ That may pop up in little quotations that you simply see on the market subsequent to different cosmically hippie, philosophical lyrics… I believe it has the opposite facet of it that it may be form of heavy. It seems like we’re speaking about life and love and happiness and loss of life and all of the issues. I believe ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots,’ has a bit of little bit of that in it, but it surely’s a bit of bit extra of a cartoon.”
As a lot as expertise and inspiration feed into the act of making an important track, typically it’s as a lot a serendipitous course of as the rest. That was the case for “Do You Understand??” anyway, at the very least to an extent. “I believe one of many causes that it’s so impactful is as a result of we didn’t have time to mess with it. It form of bought made on the finish of the session in barely a rush figuring out that we form of knew the place it was gonna go and we had some concepts of what it was gonna do,” Coyne defined. “We needed to get the start of the track going. And we did it fairly shortly. I didn’t even have all of the lyrics, however, I imply, sufficient of them, and also you simply make some up as you go and it’s what it’s.”
For a band just like the Flaming Lips, nevertheless, the act of recording and writing music is just half the equation, and as soon as once more this summer season, the band will hit the street for an intensive tour of the US and past. For Coyne, a born showman, the expertise of performing and embracing the vitality of the group has misplaced none of its luster.
“I believe with out with the ability to file as a lot as we do, we in all probability would really feel fairly embarrassed about performing,” he stated. “However as soon as we get into the circulate of performing and it’s not likely simply the performing, it’s that the viewers is there with you and that rush that you simply get. It’s not each night time, however if you play usually and sometimes you get that rush and that love from the viewers and that seems like an addictive form of drug. And in the event you do it usually sufficient, you don’t need to not do it.”
The Flaming Lips Biggest Hits Vol. 1 is about to drop on June 1 by way of Warner Bros. Pre-order it right here.
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