Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe on Beck, living in Germany and Bright Channel
On "Panic in Babylon," it sounds like there's a sample of some kind of primate.
That's a kookaburra from Australia. It's kind of a woodpecker and very loud. If you're in Australia, even in the cities, you hear that. The thing I brought to the table with that is that I'm possibly the first person in history that ever ran one of those though digital delay, so they're echoing. So it's some kind of quasi-Dreamtime thing.
Did you use two different delays with differing time settings?
Yes, exactly. So it's echoing in this weird way. Not just grabbing stuff off of YouTube randomly. Originally I called the song "Crazy Farm." Like Animal Farm, but everyone's insane. Just a totalitarian government with this crazy ambition like in Animal Farm, but it's more like they're just fucking out of their head with hubris kind of thing.
Maybe this title isn't supposed to be funny, but it's at least interesting: "Stairway to the Best Party in the Universe"?
"Stairway to Heaven" -- that's funny for a Crowley-worshipping-full-on-Illuminist-Satanist, right? Bought Crowley's house and everything. Wrote this song called "Stairway to Heaven." I'm like, "[Life is more like] 'Stairway to Prison.'" Because even me articulating my belief system, what I really think, is dangerous these days. I don't live in America for several reasons. When every single police force has a tank and everybody is dressed up like stormtroopers and Darth Vader for anything, and this isn't for Afghanis that are gonna sneak on a donkey across the border. This is for something else, and I don't like its style.
I can't vote here in Germany, but every perspective that I want is represented in spades, and people really stand up for it. So all my political aspirations are fulfilled by politically active people. Even down to when that Fukushima stuff happened, they shut down all their atomic plants. There's nothing like that on a state or national level that exists in the United States. The interests of the people aren't represented. It's the interests of finance and the military industrial complex that's represented there.
And I know that. And I know where it went wrong, too. They should never have allowed the former head of the CIA to become the president of the United States. It blurs the illusion that you're telling the truth. The CIA, I'm not bitching at them, but check this out: The CIA's concept of democracy -- look at Chilean history -- it's taking you up in a helicopter at 1,000 feet and kicking your ass out for being a dissenting voice. That's a fact.
So with three hundred million people, having some guy that was in the Navy -- I don't know if there's evidence for it, but I hear he was a hero in the war -- became a congressman, and then the ambassador to China, and then he became the head of the CIA, then the vice president and then the president. Then his two sons were governors, and one of them became president. Boy, I want to go Vegas with that family; they are so lucky.
Berlin seems like an interesting place to explore. What have you found culturally and artistically that maybe has inspired you and that you find interesting?
At this point in my life, as an artist, I don't speak German fluently, so I'm oblivious to the advertising. All of it. Or even idle, if there were some, on the subway. People are pretty quiet. As a culture, they won't intrude into you. If you're at a party in America, some guy is going to say, "Hey, my name is Jim. I work for Bright Channel. How do you know Sue?" All this crap. Everybody's telling each other their lives all the time, and all that stuff.
These cultures over here, you can be around people at a party, and they're not going to offer up all that information, and neither are you. It's possible to develop a relationship at its own speed instead of this verbal calling card, selling yourself, just talking because you're nervous, breaking the ice -- whatever you call it. I like Berlin because it leaves me alone. It has everything, and it works.
Women and children are safe here, and that's more than I can say for any city in America. I mean really safe. These people get the job done. They invented that whole spying thing, and, of course, technology has brought it to a whole new level, but it just isn't in your face. You get the feeling they're going to take care of business and do what they've got to do, but they're not going to threaten you on TV, saying they're going to look up your butt every time you get pulled over, which is outrageous!
Every person on Facebook should say, "No, isn't appropriate to strip everyone who doesn't maybe even have their insurance in their car naked and look up their butt just because some fuckin' judge says it." So it's disgusting and shame on all of you. I can't believe anyone would be talking anything else, because that's mom and it's human dignity, and that's why we fought these guys that treated people like North Koreans and deny your freedom.
I'm not even Alex Jones or some saying some crazy stuff, but come on. It's one thing to be searched before going on an airplane, but it's another thing [to have that happen in everyday situations]. We've seen what the police are capable of sometimes. I'm not mad at you when I say, "Shame on you"; I'm saying "Shame on myself." I've done nothing but fight the good fight, you know.
You've learned to play numerous musical instruments over the years. Did you bring anything on board for the new record?
I try and push myself, and sometimes it's technically something that hasn't occurred to me. On this one, the reason I included the more disco-y beat on the last track, I'm playing the mellotron, and I'm bending those sounds. I've been listening to the mellotron since 1967, when I was born. "I Am the Walrus" was bitchin' -- The Moody Blues had it going on for a while. All those people. But I'd never heard anybody use the instrument that way in the whole world, and I have thousands of records. It's not something you can copy, because it's not something that comes out of a can. I created it that way. There's that.
But what I'm really interested in is this soundtrack thing. Ideally, in America, all I could think of was someone along the lines of Quentin Tarantino. Except his stuff, I dig quite often, is lifting a song from another movie. I think that's a real shame, considering how many musicians of merit there are on the planet, let alone in your country, let alone in your city. I think that's a poverty of the imagination. That doesn't help anything.
That's big business now. They think there's enough stuff to distract people a la Brave New World.
There's enough goodies to pass around to make sure no one gets paid. It's all on Spotify. The only people getting paid are the advertisers and the people doing the analytics, which is bullshit. So I want to do soundtracks and hit up people I respect in the world. I'll figure that out when the time comes, and that could be genre-spanning and mix that all together. That would be so cool. Make a storyboard and a script. Loop in everybody. Not just tracks. I have no problem when Martin Scorsese and those fellas from Boardwalk Empire called and said, "How do you feel about us using this song?" I was like, "Thank you, because you guys are great."
I taught Pete [Hayes] from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club how to play guitar. He's got the Twilight people and their publishers going, "Hey we want you in this movie, Twilight!" "Great, here's a song called 'Black Twilight.'" "Cool." You know, they just collect this stuff, and it's all part of the 360 deal. That shit can blow me, except it has a dirty mouth, you know what I'm saying? That's just a "zinger," as they say. That's just what I was doing.
The way Ennio Morricone had that trust set in on some stuff -- I'm not talking about spaghetti Westerns specifically. I'm talking about something where I could bring in the likes of Flying Lotus from the West Coast. Somebody with some mad skills. I also look at a generation. I was born in '67, and maybe coming of age in the '80s or whatever and making my name as an artist in the '90s and my legacy into the thousands or whatever. I'm thinking about in your awareness in an art movement with this technology, this interaction that we have internationally with what can be done.
With surround sound and all this fidelity, I've yet to see this ass-kicking music. I have yet to see a movie where you're like, "What the hell was that?" And you can't get it out of your head. I want to be a part of that. And I want to blow anything out of the water, like if you could imagine Dark Side of the Moon being a movie not in a movie. Or something. I want to take it to the next level somehow and be a part of that. Unfortunately, Hollywood is not in the movie business. It's in the Billion-Dollars-of-Anything business. If it's in the millions-of-dollars business, it's a failure.
You can't blame them, because you've got fake CIA agents going, "Hey, I just made a hundred billion. I'm Fuckface Facefuck." For your job, that's not that great. You've got to jack it up so you feel important. "Boy, it's great being an investment profile mutual fund manager." Because those guys are doing that, it's not good enough -- like after World War II and everybody owned a house in Detroit, where I make twenty times the salary of the labor on the line. I've got to make one thousand, two hundred and twenty times of that guy.
And we've got to compete with the Chinese. We just opened a new factory in a prison. The whole "fuck you all" kind of thing. That's why I'm an artist. And that's why I don't sell the rights to my stuff, because it's obvious to me that when somebody's laying off ten thousand people and I'm hiring people, they destroyed the music business. They wrecked it.
The governments now, when they tell us about this stuff, their hubris has gotten in the way. They're not good at governing. They're not good at planning society or any of those things -- the infrastructure and paying their bills. What they are good at is the police state. Let's run with that. It's so weird. I know the big picture, so this isn't about Arabs; this is about China.
We're only as strong as the weak among us. When you care about someone that you don't know and don't have to, that's one of the most beautiful things that humans can do that animals don't. I was promised a lot of really wild-ass daydreams being a little kid growing up. And I feel like I was fucking ripped off, so I'm going to do my best to live up to some of that promise. From H.R. Puff'n'stuff -- they looked like they were having a good time.