Andrew WK is Uncomfortably Joyful
Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 9, 2012 16:03
Before LMFAO, there was Andrew WK. He was the go-to guy for pumped up jams that got the party going. It has been 10 years since Andrew WK released his debut album, I Get Wet, which brought us the classic jams "Party Hard," "She Is Beautiful," and "Party Till You Puke." These days Andrew still loves to party, almost as much as he loves Soulja Boy, Taco Bell and feeling uncomfortable.
He's stopping by Phoenix on his 10 Years Of Partying tour where he will play I Get Wet in its entirety.
College Times: What was life like before you released I Get Wet?
Andrew WK:Well, I was in high school and that was interesting. Before, life wasn't a party and it wasn't as fun or cheerful. It was a bit more dark and part of the reason I wanted to start doing Andrew WK was to cheer myself up and to spend time focused on things that made me happy.
When you released the album did everything change for you?
Yeah, it really did. Things were already changing before the album came out. Certainly the actual release of the album was a huge turning point. Once it started, there was no turning back. I kept kind of thinking in the back of my mind, "Oh, maybe life will go back to normal," which I don't really know what I thought it would be. I guess normal would be high school or having every day be the same. Over these last 10 years, I've realized more and more, maybe life will never go back to normal or maybe this is now what life is.
You mentioned that you wanted to become a more positive person. Where do you find the inspiration to maintain your positivity?
Being alive is like the definition of a positive experience so focusing on being grateful has really helped a lot. I try not to think of things in terms of positive or not but just work at my very best and take it one day at a time. I want the full spectrum of life's experiences – all the emotions from light to dark – there's a place for it all.
How is it for you when you perform? What is it like when you first step onstage, and what is it like when you step off?
Well, when I step onstage, I usually feel full of life and energy and power, ideally. I've definitely gotten better and better about getting myself into that stage more reliably, and when I step offstage I feel like I'm going to die. It's one of the most uncomfortable physical feelings that you could possibly have, but it's also very exhilarating. The only real bad feeling at the end of the show is feeling like you have energy left over and that you didn't give everything you had. Otherwise, if I don't feel completely physically exhausted then I didn't do the right kind of show. That's just the way that I perform. I also have a lot of respect and almost envy for performers who don't make their shows as physical because they get to put more effort and energy into the actual musicianship or the playing or just being relaxed. I've seen all kinds of amazing musicians who don't even break a sweat when they play a concert, and there's a place for that, but when it comes to an Andrew WK [shows] it's really about trying to kill yourself through excursion. I definitely don't want to die because then I wouldn't get to do this anymore.
You've become more than a musician but was it a conscious choice to expand as a performer?
Yeah, but not at first. When I first began doing Andrew WK I was very convinced that I would never try to expand my horizons, but then I realized that sometimes doing the opposite of what you promised yourself is also really thrilling and exhilarating. It ends up making your world a better world, but it's also a personal thing because I have to entertain myself as much as I want to entertain others.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable going certain directions in your life?
Always. I'm very, very uncomfortable most of the time. [Andrew and I share mutual glorious laughter.] It's true, but that's just something I've learned to find pleasure in. I may be masochistic in that way. I'm so used to feeling uncomfortable that I had to find a way to make it work for me. My earliest memories as a young child were of being really uncomfortable and frightened and overwhelmed by the world around me. You've got to figure out a way to use that rather than try and avoid it. Most of the stuff I do makes me very uncomfortable but the other option would be sitting at home inside all day, and I've tried that and it's not as fun.
What are some of your favorite projects that you've been a part of these past 10 years?
One of the most satisfying and magical aspects of the work I do is to have a dream – a very specific goal, or wish, or desire – and actually see it come true. For example, I had a dream of working with Soulja Boy since I first heard his music and I never really imagined how that would come true. But thanks to amazing people like Matt and Kim who invited me to record this special song "I'm A Goner," I got to work with Soulja Boy. That was a very real dream that then came true. It was just so unbelievable and so fantastic. Another dream I had was to somehow work with Taco Bell because I really love Taco Bell in all these different ways, but how do you even go about trying to work with a company as big and powerful as Taco Bell? Next thing you know, I've been working with them and we've gotten to be friends and make special projects that will be released to the public in the next couple months. It's really incredible just to see something so specific and so clear actually manifest into reality.