The Flaming Lips are putting out an album of collaborations with everyone from Coldplay’s Chris Martin to Ke$ha to Biz Markie for Record Store Day, April 21. Here, Lips frontman Wayne Coyne reveals, in his own words, what his group of creative weirdos shared (including blood) and talks about the upcoming musical version of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
"I haven’t always been interested in collaborating. It’s a bit stressful sitting down with someone and hoping you each like what the other creates. These sorts of things can bring out the best in people or the worst. But if I ask anyone to make something with me, and they’re willing to take the chance, the project automatically becomes more interesting. When I recorded with some of the artists on The Flaming Lips and Heavy Fwends, I didn’t know what they were going to be like. The worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t go well, but then we can just try again.
Des McAnuff is the amazing Broadway director who’s making a musicalbased on our album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This project started years ago when one of our agents gave the Yoshimi record to Des and he really fell in love with it.
I’m intrigued to see how it will come together onstage. I think there will be actual robots, for sure. Or at least parts of them. We’ve talked about scenes where you see a giant arm and a leg onstage, and a video screen behind with these animated versions of things. Knowing Des, he’s so in command of all the different dimensions, there’ll probably be some robots flying around and others that are hinted at in video and holograms.
Now I know it’s not just what you want the idea to be, but also being open to what other ideas are possible. That’s the way I work all the time now, whether collaborating or doing things myself. I pursue these internal, emotionally driven ideas, but I do so thinking I may hear or see something that can affect everything. It isn’t letting go of the idea--it’s letting the idea lead you into the unknown, and letting the unknown reveal itself. That’s a really hard thing for artists to do. But if you’re lucky, you’re not just making something; you’re listening at the same time. That’s really the secret."