Atlanta’s Black Lips have been dubbed the hardest working band by The New York Times, as well as completely kicked out of India for their raucous live show. In a rock n’ roll band’s hierarchy of achievements, I’m not sure which ranks higher. The self-described flower-punk band has readied its new LP on Vice Records, and 200 Million Thousand hit record stores, online retailers and the like on February 24th. We caught up with the Black Lips to talk about the new LP, how it stands measures up to Kanye West’s swagger of 100 thousand trillion, as well as their now infamous trip to the land of Slumdog Millionaire. Check out the full interview below.
RubyHornet: The Black Lips…It seems that none of you actually have Black Lips. Is this a metaphor, or is there some sort of corrective surgery that we do not know about.
Black Lips: We’re not sure where the name came from, or even really what it means. We were 15 years old and we thought it sounded cool.
RubyHornet: Where does getting kicked out of India rank in your most memorable moments as a band? And how could you ever top it?
Black Lips: We would like to say that we enjoy the experience of being able to travel to a new place and experience a culture which we have not in the past. There were many enjoyable moments while we were India, some of which we will never forget. Having to leave the country early was definitely not part of the plan. Sometimes you gotta think on your feet, and when those coals below get hot, you better start moving. Hopefully we can tour China sometime soon. We might have better luck there.
RubyHornet: You are known for your crazy live shows, I’ve heard tons of stories about things you guys have done. How much of the craziness is true, and do you plan these outrageous things, or do they just happen?
Black Lips: I think it’s best to let the photos, films, and stories speak for themselves. I’m sure there’s truth anywhere you may look. After all, it is the victors who write the history books. If anything does happen, it’s definitely not choreographed.
RubyHornet: Your new album is called 200 Million Thousand, Kanye West’s swagger is self-proclaimed at a 100 Thousand Trillion, where is your swagger at right now on the cusp of the new release?
Black Lips: I’m not sure what “Kanye” knows about math but Cole’s dad is a mathematician. He can clear this up for us. Our swagger is consistent.
RubyHornet: The first single is called “Starting Over” from the perspective of making the new record, what parts of the process did you carry over from the last, what parts did you discard?
Black Lips: We still record with all the same methods and basically all the same machines. The one thing that changed is that we finally have a studio we can call our own in which we can record.
RubyHornet: When you originally signed with Vice Records in 2006, some of your fans were worried it may effect your sound. Has it (negatively/positively)?
Black Lips: VICE has given us complete creative control in everything that we do. I don’t think we compromised our sound at all. It is to be expected that bands (and the people who are in them) change and evolve naturally.
RubyHornet: Who are some of the bands/artists that have the most influence on your own approach to music?
Black Lips: 13th Floor Elevators. Los Saicos. Stooges. Black Flag. Jacques Dutronc. Triple 6 Mafia. Shangri Las. Rolling Stones. BOMP! Records. Crypt Records. Norton Records. Link Wray…Just to name a few…
RubyHornet: Do you still listen to All Things Considered?
Black Lips: Every chance we get. We’re constantly out in the world. It is wise for us to stay abreast of current events and situations.
RubyHornet: Atlanta’s Hip Hop scene is very well-known, are you guys Ludacris or Goodie Mob fans?
Black Lips: I respect both, but I would say we’d lean more towards the Dungeon Family in any argument. All those guys are amazing.
RubyHornet: While you’ve been around for a number of years, I’m sure this will bean introduction for some of our readers. What are three things they should know about the band before they go check out more music.
Black Lips: It’s fun, it’s easy to understand, It’s simple, psychedelic, and if you look hard enough online, you can probably download it somewhere.