In Depth With Japandroids' Brian King: "Nothing Is Off the Record"
Yeah, I mean, that's exactly what it sounds like. One of the coolest things about the band is that, with few exceptions, it's hard to imagine these songs being played in any other arrangement than one guitar and drums, with both of you singing. Do you get scared at all of not being able to break out of that someday?
Not really. Our concerns are incredibly immediate. Our concerns are really, really, ridiculously primal. Like, I really, really want to eat between now and this time tomorrow. I'd really like to have a shower at some point today. And like, I really, really, really don't want to lose my voice before we play right now. Very, very immediate. That's more of a philosophical kind of question. My concerns are so overwhelmingly immediate that I thought about that more in the last two minutes since you asked me that than I have in the last two years.
Maybe we'll be a big arena-rock band someday where we can do what the Black Keys did, like, 'We don't want to be just two people anymore. Now we're gonna be five people. And there's still gonna be two of us in the promo photos, but when you go see us play, there will be five of us.' You seen the Black Keys play live recently? There's like five guys up there.
What would be the first instrument you think you guys would add?
Umm ... our own Bez. You know Bez from the Happy Mondays? He just does drugs and dances? He doesn't contribute anything musically to the band at all. But he's in the band. He's in the photo, he's in the record, he's there. But he contributes musically nothing. He just does drugs and dances while they play. He's just like his own light show, that kind of thing.
Wasn't there a guy in the Mighty Mighty Bosstones like that?
Uhhh ... good question. I don't know. Possibly? Because there's a lot of people in that band. I don't really know them besides that one big song that everyone knows. But there are a lot of people in that band, you could be right.
I just remember their scene in Clueless where there's one guy who seems to be just dancing...
Ohhhh ... there you go. Good reference. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, they're kind of like the Arcade Fire of ska, because they have a lot of people, and they have a lot of crazy instruments, they have their own kind of schtick. And they're pretty famous! Not a lot of ska bands you say their name and everybody knows who they are. Are they the Arcade Fire of ska?
I assume they are.
I think when you said they were the Arcade Fire of ska, you were right. You said it, not me.
I've read that you and David [Prowse, drummer] have very different tastes in music. What music do you fight over the most?
I'm more into everything and a lot of stuff. There's lots of stuff I don't know, but not a lot of stuff I can't get into where I don't like something about it. I can find something to like in almost anything. David's a bit more like, he likes this and doesn't like that. And then he has bands where he's like, 'I hate this band, I never want to listen to one of their songs again in my life.'
He hates the Smiths, hates Morrissey, hates Morrissey's solo stuff, won't let the Smiths or Morrissey be played for more than one song in the van, acts like he's doing a big favor when he does. Fucking hates the Smiths, hates Morrissey, doesn't even like hearing about them in conversation. And I love Moz, seen him play live, I'm a big fan, I love all the songs, know all the lyrics. So they're a very obvious contrast. Nine times out of 10, we like most of the same bands. But if you look at our iPods, you'd find really different records. I can listen without shame to stuff he'd be embarrassed to be caught listening to. I don't give a fuck.
So is this the best year you've ever had?
That's a good question. I can understand how people on the Internet who view the band would think that. But the first year that we toured, 2009, playing in shitholes to no one half the time, I still loved every second of that. We played 200-something shows, just the two of us, touring in a Ford Explorer. That was the best. Since we've started doing this, the last few years, I've loved every second of it. I wouldn't trade this for anything. So yeah, it's the best year, but not at the expense of the previous few years. I can definitely say this is better than any of the years I was in high school. Those years of my life can fuck off. But I don't want to undermine the last few years of the band. I can collectively say the best few years have been the best years of my life and I know David would say the same thing too. But it's not necessarily better than the last two years because the record's doing better and we're playing bigger shows.
And have you guys finally gotten to French kiss some French girls?
I can't answer that question, use your imagination. See? That was pretty professional.