Foo Fest headliner Andrew W.K.

By JIM MACNIE  |  August 10, 2011

GIRL TALK'S MUSIC WORKS BECAUSE OF FAMILIARITY. All mashups, even the earliest ones that DJ Z-Trip were doing, succeed when the two songs become a new song, when you've heard the old and familiar becoming new and fresh.

YOU'VE PREVIOUSLY DESCRIBED THE SENSATIONS OF THE FIRST SHOW YOU WENT TO IN ANN ARBOR AS A KID, IN THE BASEMENT OF A UNITARIAN CHURCH. WHY WAS IT SO VIVID? It was the beginning of me starting to understand that people can do this themselves, a real feeling of possibility. I didn't go to arena or rock club shows. It wasn't until years and years later than I went to a big show. Intimacy was part of it. These people went to my school, lived in my town. It was accessible and close. The atmosphere was crazy. It was a cross between really radical anarchist punks, freaky hippies with an almost Burning Man slant, and some truly disturbing fringe elements, dark and terrifying. I was on edge and scared, but I was drawn to the flame.

THE SPACE YOU'RE PLAYING IN PROVIDENCE HAS A DEEP INTIMACY AND INDIE AESTHETIC. I'm very familiar with AS220. I spent huge portions of time in Providence; basically it's where I launched Andrew W.K. The first label to put out my records was Bulb Records. They formed in Ann Arbor, but relocated to Providence. Actually Providence was the other scene that I saw that rivaled the Ann Arbor craziness. Fort Thunder, Load Records, Brown and RISD — all relatable to me. When I first moved to New York, I didn't have many friends, so I'd go to Providence on the bus or train work on my record with Pete Larson. We became friends in Michigan. He taught a class in my high school, and we wound up being in a band together. One of the first and greatest Andrew W.K. shows was at Fort Thunder. I'm so grateful; they supported me and inspired me. That Olneyville scene — I still see tons of people these days referencing that music. I won't say they're ripping it off, but a part me does think that a bit. It's had a deep influence.

I'VE BEEN DIGGINGDESTROY BUILD DESTROY, YOUR BLOW-'EM-UP SHOW ON CARTOON NETWORK. IF YOU'RE FRUSTRATED BY THE ECONOMY OR POLITICS OR DOWNSIZING, TUNE IN AND EXPLODE A BIT. Yeah, you can downsize a car! I'm glad you bring up that aspect. Besides being able to be around smart young people, the explosions are what take the show to the next level. Young people and explosions aren't usually mixed, but the good people at Cartoon Network are brave enough and trusting enough to know their viewers will understand that blowing things up will be cool.

THERE'S A LEVEL OF SCIENCE AND CRAFT IN THE AIR BEFORE THE BIG BANGS TAKE PLACE. The kids are the best of the best. Smart, fun, confident — it's very challenging and rewarding. At the end of the day, all that work goes into the fact that we've made something beautifully disposable. We're destroying stuff we worked on for eight hours. What we're really building is the experience to remember and enjoy.

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