Estrella: For the purpose of the interview, could you please state your name?
Andrew WK: This is Andrew WK.
Estrella: This is your first North American rock tour since 2005 and you’re on Warped Tour, so how’s that been treating been you?
Andrew WK: Well it’s quite a way to come back, I gotta say. The last 5 years have been fantastic but I certainly have missed being on the road with my full band. To come back on the Warped Tour, you couldn’t ask for a better situation. You get to play for over half a million people by the whole time. This is the only thing like this in the world. A whole North American tour where the atmosphere is so happy, so fun loving, so open minded, so friendly, so celebratory. It’s perfect for us. We play party music, very very literally, that’s what I’m here to do – spread the cause of partying and there’s no better place to do it.
Estrella: Do you have any favorite cities that you’ve picked up on this tour?
Andrew WK: That’s what I’m saying, it’s good to be back on the North East. I live and work out of New York City. Of course, I feel an energy there because it’s my home but I wonder sometimes if it spreads around the surrounding areas. I have certainly been in Pennsylvania, been in Maryland (here), in New Jersey, more than I have a lot of other towns over the last few years, maybe it really does mean something. I’ve got to say, it’s just really great to be in the US, I have traveled all of over the world and of course, it’s easy for me to say because it’s where I’m from, it’s just so much fun. The little things, like going to truck stop, that to me is one the great joys in life, to be on a tour bus with your best friends in the world going into a truck stop and buying beef jerky, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
Estrella: When you did your motivational speech tours, how were those?
Andrew WK: Motivational speaking was very fun, the self help lectures and speaking is a way to promote partying without music. I want to use every method of performance or entertainment or show business or expression, whatever. I want to get this idea out there and the idea is to feel good, that’s what I’m here to promote in whatever way I can. So whether it’s TV or playing songs at a festival like today or just talking to you or going up onto a stage and talking in a lecture situation, I have a cause that I’m here in support of.
Estrella: In 2008, you opened Santo’s Party House, what’s the best part about owning a club?
Andrew WK: I’m one of the owners of Santo’s Party House along with Ronald Castellano, Spencer Sweeney, Larry Golden… This is a two floor night club and concert hall in Manhattan, New York City, brand new space that we built from scratch, downtown, right in the heart of it. A block away from the Subway station and Canal St. Lafayette St and Canal. Santo’s Party House is the biggest project I’ve ever been involved in besides Andrew WK and in a lot of ways, in terms in the amount of work and the scales and the numnber of people involved, the terms of all of our supporters, our investors, our staff, our crew, it’s massive, but to give back something to the trade of a venue. I mean, think of all of the venues I’ve played that have given me what I have today that provided a place for me and my friends and my audience to celebrate and party and to do what we do. It was time I wanted to build a place like that to give to other people, where I could also perform and other people to perform and coming from New York City, the city that gave me everything, I wanted to give something back to New York City as well, so this is our great contribution to the performing arts and the culture of New York City, which also of course is the city of the world. Santo’s Party House is for the whole world.
Estrella: You did the remix for 3OH3’s “House Party”, how was it to work with them?
Andrew WK: The funny thing is I met them at a house party, which I didn’t take lightly, I thought that was more than a coincidence. It was in Memphis and it was a beautiful young girl’s sweet 16 party. I wasn’t expecting them to be there and I was invited by someone totally different, who I guess I realized worked with them at Atlantic Records but it wasn’t until I got there that I actually finally met them and we talked and they told me about how they had this new song that we’re writing that’s inspired by a night just like this and we would like to do a rock and roll remix and would I be interested in it and they were very kind to me and so nice. They were very supportive of the work I’ve been doing. We have a similar cause of spreading fun around the world to people of all ages, who enjoy celebrating life, and that’s really what that song’s about, whether you’re out at a club or at a festival like today or you’re at your home. You can party and you can have fun.
Estrella: You have a London based record label, Skyscraper Music Maker. Why is it based in London and not here?
Andrew WK: It’s a very long story that I won’t bore you or myself with, it just had to do with the contracts. Business, relationships, contracts, situations that I got myself into years ago that I only recently resolved and earlier before they were resolved, when I started the record label – Skyscraper Music Maker – I actually thought it was a loophole, I thought it was a way to get around some of the obligations or the restrictions that I had put on me. But again, I chose all those restrictions early on in my career in 1999 when I first signed up and moved to New York and got all of this going and started doing Andrew WK. I made decisions to work with certain people and to work with certain kinds of agreements in place that resulted in all kinds of craziness, really ever since 2005 things got really intense. But fourtunately, just a few months ago, we were able to straighten everything out and get it all sewn back up, that’s actually why we’re able to even be here on the Warped Tour today. So everything’s worked out and Skyscraper Music Maker, that record label doesn’t really exist anymore under that name, part of the resolution that we recently reached. The compromise was that they had to change the name of that label to reflect their interests into whatever it is that I’m doing, so it all worked out though, that’s what matters.
Estrella: You’re recording a new album, that’s the recent rumor…
Andrew WK: It’s not a rumor, it’s true! We’ve got a new album, we’ve been working on it the last few years, there’s a lot of new material too that’s just been bubbling up since even the Warped Tour’s begun. I’ll begin recording in full speed mode as soon as Warped Tour’s done. So this full there will be new album recording, more touring I believe, then of course the eventual album release, the new official rock and roll Andrew WK album for 2011, that’s the main goal right now and to just keep my band on the road and partying and playing with as many people as possible.
Estrella: You produced Lee “Scratch” Perry’s recent albums, how was it to work with him? Do you plan on producing anymore albums?
Andrew WK: I love the oppportunities to work with other musicians, I used to hate it, I swore I would never work with another musician again once I started Andrew WK which was kind of part of the agreement that I wasn’t allowed to work with anybody else, I couldn’t use my name with anybody else. But again 2005, when things really got crazy, I just started doing different stuff, that I never would have done before, never did do before, one of those things was working with other musicians and contributing my energy or whatever skillls I have to their vision, instead of just Andrew WK. Who better to serve or to work for other then Lee “Scratch” Perry, the living legend, the pioneer producer, the master of dub, and a reggae genius, who is the definition of a master, the definitely of an artist who has dedicated their lives to persuing their creative vision. The album we made together is called Repentence and it was nominated for a Grammy and he’s a phenomenal man and it was a humbling and eye opening experience that I’ll think about everyday for the rest of my life, I was thinking about it earlier today. It was a big one. And yeah, I want to keep doing a lot more because it gives me more experience in life, to work with other people, to learn from other people, to see how other people do their work and live and exist. The new album I’m working on for another artist is an artist named Baby Dee. It’s a new album that we’ve been recording over the last few months, look her up, she’s probably as good as I could ever imagine a musician being.
Estrella: If you had to strip away everything you did and could only be one thing of the many things you do – night club owner, producer, performer, and a motivational speaking tours and everything else you do. What would you do?
Andrew WK: Entertainment. Yes, I just want to work in show business and entertainment industry, I feel very certain about that. It allows me to pursue all sorts of different avenues but they all fit under one very tight umbrella. It’s not like I’m interested in pursuing science necessarily or literature, I would like to write a book but I want it to be an entertaining book, as long as I’m working in show business I feel good.
Estrella: What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Andrew WK: I don’t know, I went as a lot of weird stuff. One time, I just took a bunch of wax putty that looked like fake skin and it was waxy, fuzzy putty and I stuck it all over my cheeks and added some blood in there and some cuts and bruises into the make up. Just a mess but that was the most memorable one.
Estrella: What’s the best advice that’s been given to you?
Andrew WK: My dad’s given me a lot of advice in these very passive, casual moment, where we’ll be talking about something and he’ll just say something that really blows my mind, I’ll never forget. There’s a been a lot of them, it’s hard to pick a favorite. One of the ones that’s most recent, that really changes things is my dad asks what have I been up to these days and I say, well I’m trying to do this, I’m working on that, hopefully this will happen, I’m trying to get this thing going on, whatever I was working on, he said, “Andrew, I think it’s time for you to stop trying now and now you’re at that point in your life where you’re just doing, you just do things.” That was a mindset shift for me.
Estrella: What’s the best advice you could ever give to someone?
Andrew WK: To listen to that small but persistent voice inside you whether you hear it in your head or your heart or your soul and do what it’s telling you to do, even if it feels crazy, even if it feels wrong, even if it feels impossible. As long as it feels right to you and even if it’s wrong but it’s somehow right to you, just follow it and have some fun.