The Dandy Warhols – Across The Ocean

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols are seasoned veterans when it comes to touring Australia and they return this October to celebrate the release of the fantabulous Distortland. Distortland is based on front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s view of his hometown Portland and how much it has changed going from cool to watching it get erased. Courtney speaks to Across The Ocean about bong rips, music, making music and the decline of architecture.


“What I really need right now is a big fat bong rip, hang on! What shall we talk about?”

Another Australian tour, we should adopt you as one of our own. Is Australia by far your favourite place to tour?

Always is, we love it, we love Australia! It’s like an island getaway, just a really fucking huge island.

Adelaide awaits you, Big Day Out many moons ago you opened with the statement “nice grass man!”

Yeah, we were given a lot of urban Adelaide, Radelaide and it’s like wow this is like Oregon bud. Oregon always has killer bud and you can always buy it in Amsterdam.

Distortland is a killer album, did you think you were on a winner when you wrote it? 

Of course! You always do, you don’t finish them if you’re not.

Was the process fairly easy going as it seems like The Dandies are like a well oiled machine these days?

It always is, it’s an ongoing continuation since the beginning. We don’t set out to make a record, we have done that a couple of times too, now we’re going to make a record. This one, of course, didn’t happen that way. We’ve owned a studio now for ten of our years, so we’re always recording stuff. It’s hey you guys, if we go back to this song and we take every song from this song up to now and we include this and this that’s a whole record. We do that and call it a record! It’s like hey that goes together great and that’s the last three years of our lives so of course it kind of happens. We write sonically and all that, what feels like, we can’t include that one because that feels like such a different thing, a different part of our lives, don’t include that one or maybe as a b-side later. Those are the sorts of decisions, well this was how this one was made.

Is it hard when there is no focused effort towards making a record?

I don’t know! We’re always making music, that’s what we do. When you get addicted to that when we were young, I’d been recording by myself since I was thirteen years old which is what I do as therapy for myself. It just goes on and on and keep making shit because you have to deal with being an emotionally kind of fucked up person.

Therapy? Really? You always seem fairly well together?

No, no! That would be great though, that would be fucking awesome! To be the fucking cool guy all of the time, wow! I’m pretty well convinced that anyone who is any fucking good at this job is probably a mess. You can go ahead and assume that, anyone with any mileage with this job would be a pretty messy emotionally fucked up person.

Hold on! Hold on! Dare I go outside and site, holy shit! Hold on while I get a cushion for my seat, I’m thinking about getting more outrageous with happiness!

Had the whole idea or concept of Distortland been kicking around for a while?

The city that we’re from is gone, it really has ran away. In the last five years it has just been erased completely because Portland was famous for being really cool about five years ago, the coolest city of Earth. San Francisco to the sixties is like Portland was to hipsters five years ago. It was the hottest city on Earth and so the population has gone from four hundred thousand at the end of the eighties to two point two million now. It was declining population through the seventies and eighties too. It was a real depressed town, there was never really traffic at any time, they were constantly moving out, trickling away and it always rains. That was a great place! There was a downside too.

What has contributed to this?

Portlandia the TV show! That’s the one that advertised this kitschy, hipster town for white people. It just become one point four million mall shoppers moved here and turned it in to pretty normal, over populated California town. There’s traffic all day long and they tear down all the old buildings and put up these tacky little condominiums, it’s a condo world! It has just completely changed and we’ve just watched Portland get fucking erased.

Is that happening everywhere with so called modern architecture?

There is no architecture, it’s just people trying to make the cheapest thing and get the most tax breaks they can and get whatever they can squeeze out if it. “Hey, let’s make a condo and move on to the next city, what’s the next boom time, we gotta make money!” Roll on through and tear down as much old shit as you can for cheap, house as many people you can bill for top dollar in tacky two bedroom Ikea looking condos. There’s no architecture, there is no design, no visionary architects coming in here and building anything – I can tell you that! The gentrification is not happening from visionary designers, just fucking goofballs.

Is this album been the most satisfied you have been musically?

This is absolutely the first record in my entire life that the minute it was done I couldn’t stop smoking pot and listening to it on my headphones. I couldn’t just stop! I just love it! Now we’re making a video for Catcher In The Rye and it is so fucking beautiful. I listen to that ten times a day just staring at this beautiful film, incredible!

Will the b-sides and leftovers for this album surface at some point?

Yeah, let me think here… Yeah, there are a couple of odd ball recordings like we were put in a studio in Spain for a week. There are little projects we have done in other people’s studios and back in ours. There are probably five songs that feel like part of this record. The Spainish EP which we just made are just random single, four of them, we might put together a four or five song thing after Christmas because we’ll want to go back to Europe in February so we’ll put something together of all our little bits of shit. We covered a Stones song for a movie trailer that never got used, we’ll just put together all the other stuff that isn’t Distortland.

Is it too early to start thinking about the next record?

Yeah, I don’t know if we’ll actually think about making a record in that way ever again. It is just too digital now, we just file share shit, come over and get these I just got loaded in to the Odditorium computer and we laid down drums on them and vocal harmonies, take those to Pete’s house then he works on them then bring it back to the studio, plug in this, do that and whatever. It is so loose now and however we make it, we make it. It doesn’t matter whose basement it comes out of. I don’t think we’ll think ever think about a record like old school ever again. I think it will be, hey we have eleven songs, this is pretty cohesive, almost always the way we have always done it.

Do you get frustrated with the industry, where it’s at and where it is going?

There are a lot of great bands right now, there’s a lot of awesome bands since that first wave of MTV like The Clash, Adam & The Ants, The Go Gos, The Pretenders and all these fucking great bands with cool style which were just great. Right now there are a lot of great bands, tonnes of them so I’m not that frustrated by it. Whatever it takes to have bands just be cooler, I want to be like woah that’s a fucking cool tune!

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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