Is it your dream to work with the likes of The Flaming Lips? Well, if you’re anything like Los Angeles band HOTT MT, that reverie could very well become reality — if you’re blessed with the right attributes.
Ever since The Flaming Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne first expressed his desire to release one song per month in 2011 (a goal that hasn’t quite been made manifest), the band has descended into a deep, dark realm of wonderful musical weirdness populated with music-packed human skulls and flashing Strobo Light Trip Toys.
A main theme, however, that has run throughout the jamboree of oddness is collaboration. Coyne and the Lips have worked with a slew of artists over the last year, including Neon Indian, Bon Iver, Ke$ha, Erykah Badu, and, most recently a tenacious up-and-coming act called HOTT MT (Hour of the Time, Majesty Twelve).
The band — which comprises Nick Logie of the band Telegram, his girlfriend Ashleigh Allard and their friend Adam Ashe — decided to visit Wayne Coyne at his home in Oklahoma City on his 51st birthday to gift him with their new record.
Coyne’s house is famously easy to find — especially after a picture of the singer taking a bath in his front yard surfaced on Google Street View.
At the time, HOTT MT didn’t even know that The Lips were on a collaboration spree. “We had just finished our record and we felt like we had nothing to lose, so we stopped thinking and just did it,” Allard says, referring to their album, “I Made This.”
“We were Flaming Lips fans and we just figured because of the nature of the Flaming Lips being spontaneous — doing that 24-hour song and eccentric things — maybe they would appreciate something as eccentric as a 22-hour drive to visit the frontman,” Logie says. So the band drove the whole way from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City to meet Coyne.
Without even listening to their entire record, Coyne invited the band into his home to work on tunes, letting them crash in his studio (and use his shower — once) for a couple of days to record a song/music video with him. Pretty crazy, right?
So how did they win the Lips frontman over? Well, we think it was a combination of the following three factors:
1). A Dark Side
Wayne Coyne and The Lips — although famously open folk — are hardly all sweetness and light. We’re talking about dudes who hawked human skulls packed with tunes here. HOTT MT, apparently, possessed just the right levels of guilelessness and creepiness to keep the singer interested.
Upon meeting the trio, Coyne tweeted a snap of the band, as well as the statement: “Some weirdos showed up on my porch … They drove all the way from LA to bring me a birthday gift !!!” He then invited them in on the condition that they didn’t kill him.
Although HOTT MT didn’t actually go all horrorshow on Coyne, they did tap into their dark side when it came to collaborating on a track. “The song kind of explores the idea of us going to Wayne Coyne’s house to kill him, which was kind of a story we created with him,” Logie says. “It kind of evolved from that into this statement of, ‘We’ll never hate again because you collaborated with us and we moved beyond this instinct.’”
The result of said lifesaving truce? The above video and song, which are wonderful in their macabre-ness.
The Lips rarely put out formalized press releases about their off-the-wall endeavors. Coyne and Co. simply come up with an idea, tell a reporter or tweet it out, and suddenly all the blogosphere is buzzing about 6-hour-long songs and gummi genitals. The Lips are a living, breathing art project of a band, so it’s important that if you’re brave enough to work with them, you be prepared to… well… not be prepared.
“I think it was kind of our spontaneous nature that he appreciated,” Logie says. “Our ballsiness and insanity. The fact that we drove out there and didn’t really know what was going to happen. We really didn’t have a plan where we were going to stay that night or anything like that. I think he enjoyed that, because it maybe reminded him of the way the Lips started — just sort of a punk rock band on acid, in a sense.”
3). Work Ethic
The Flaming Lips have been going strong and weird for decades now, with no signs of slowing down. So when you’re a younger, newer band, that whole “I’m tired” jam ain’t gonna fly. HOTT MT certainly didn’t slack in Coyne’s studio.
In addition to recording their own jam with Coyne, the band also contributed to tracks he was working on with Ke$ha and Erykah Badu, slaving up until the last minute of their stay.
“He was texting Ke$ha on his birthday and was really busy and was like, ‘Well, I’ll put these kids to work and see what they can do,’” Allard says. “And he was impressed with our work ethic and that we were actually good. He was very surprised.”
Bonus: HOTT MT now has a collaborative history almost as diverse as the man himself’s.