Wednesday, May 16, 2012

INTERVIEW: Peter Holmström of The Dandy Warhols

Photo by Destiny Dawson

In anticipation of the upcoming Dandy Warhols (with 1776) show at Emo's East next week, I was given the opportunity to interview guitarist Peter Holmström, which I obviously leapt at. Before embarking on a month-long US/Canada tour, I got to chat him up on the phone and ask him about their newest album, The Machine, and more.

How does The Machine differ from previous albums for you?
Peter Holmström: You know, for us, the big difference is it's a really stripped down record. We kind of approached it trying to limit ourselves in the amount of tracks we recorded, because what with digital recording, you can record millions of tracks or songs if you really wanted. And in the past, we've gotten carried away, and I think it kind of affected adversely with some of the songs, so we definitely tried to make that happen. And I think it worked well.

Where does the inspiration come from for this one?
Peter: I don't know that it came from one place at all, I think it comes from everywhere.

What music were you listening to?
Peter: Prior to making the record, I was listening to a lot of early rock n roll, rockabilly stuff, and more modern variations of that. And I think that kind of helped inspire the stripped down approach. But besides that, we listen to everything. I don't really know that any one thing is more inspiring than another.

And usually, actually, it's what we're not hearing, which is the biggest influence  on what we're doing.

So you want The Dandy Warhols to separate themselves from anything you are currently hearing?
Peter: Yeah, it's not necessarily a conscious thing. It kind of started after we started working on Welcome To The Monkey House. There was a big resurgence of guitar rock at that time; The Strokes had come out, Black Rebel, White Stripes. And since there was a lot of guitar music around, we didn't feel the need to make guitar music. So we kind of took a different approach. 

And then for us, the next record - we hadn't been playing much guitar and the songs were very concise on Monkey House - we ended up doing Odditorium [Or Warlords Of Mars], which was a very meandering, kind of free-form more experimental guitar record. It just goes back and forth from what we're doing. So, I guess it's not just doing what we're not hearing, as well as doing something new that we hadn't been doing already.

I don't know if that makes any sense at all.

I think so, yeah, just keep the sound changing all the time and not stagnant.
Peter: Yeah, we tend to have not super short attention spans, but we definitely feel like we need to keep either progressing, or if not progressing, at least changing, even song to song sometimes.

When was the last time you were in Austin?
Peter: It might have been about two years ago, two and a half years ago, when were kind of touring on the Capitol years.

Did you get to hang out at all?
Peter: I think that time we went to, and I don't know the name of the bar, but we went to a bar and saw a band of old-time country players. I forget what they were called. Some of the most amazing musicians I think I've ever seen in my life, kind of made me want to stop calling myself a guitar-player.

Actually, I was in Austin a year ago for Psych Fest for my side project, Pete International Airport.  

Pete International Airport | Photo by Destiny Dawson
Did you get to see the city that time?
Peter: I was there for three days, but I was at Psych Fest all three days. 

I wondered what you like about Austin and what you like about Portland.
Peter: They always say there's similarities, but I think it's more just similarities of people's attitudes about things, a little more artistic, I guess, than other places. I don't know how to describe Portland. It's weird.

What makes you want to stay in Portland?
Peter: We didn't want to move. This is home. 

I have one serious question: Where did Courtney's second Taylor come from?
Peter: I don't know. I never quite understood that. I think it had a lot to do with the time his parents were still together, so he wanted to hyphenate… no, nevermind, I can't explain it. I have no clue. I used to remember what his explanation was, but that was years ago. It never really made sense to me. Sorry, can't help you.

And one last question: Should we expect any nudity from the live show these days?
Peter: No, there hasn't been nudity for years. 


Don't forget to get tickets for the show!
Tuesday May 22 | doors at 8 p.m.
Emo's East, 2015 East Riverside Dr.
Tickets: $16-18

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