Admittedly feeling not so much prolific as just more ambitious, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tells Billboard.com his alternative-psychedelic band is planning a late summer street date for its first double album, which is a follow-up to 2006 effort "At War with the Mystics."
"Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that we should do a double album," Coyne says. "Just this idea that you can kind of weave a couple of themes into there and you can sort of sprawl a little bit. Our past couple of records we've always had this little dilemma, like how many songs do you put on? How many instruments do you put on? What's the focus?
"And some of my favorite records – thinking Beatles 'White Album,' Zeppelin's 'Physical Graffiti' and even some of the longer things that the Clash have done – part of the reason I like them is that they're not focused. They're kind of like a free-for-all and go everywhere. It's not necessarily because we're prolific, I think we always stay in a sort of perpetual panic of like we never have more songs than we need and we always wonder if any of them are any good to begin with. I do think we probably work best in a panic, so maybe it's best that I planned it this way."
So far the band has written 13 tracks, with eight or nine to go before the currently untitled Warner Bros. double-disc release is completed. Coyne discloses the new material's vibe is different from previous studio polished albums such as 2002's "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" and "At War with the Mystics."
"I think with this there was an element of accidentally stumbling upon more spontaneous sort of freak-out stuff," Coyne says. "We were sitting at (drummer) Steven's house and we just started out having these freak-out jam sessions where he'd play drums and I'd play bass and we just would sort of do freaky stuff. Some of those recordings, even though they're not recorded very well, really had a spontaneity about them that we probably wouldn't have purposely done.
"So we just went with some of that and use those as sort of the bedrock of what we'd do later on with overdubs and lyrics and stuff like that. It sounds very exciting."
Among the new songs currently in the mix are the Joy Division-meets-Miles Davis Group (John McLaughlin era)-sounding "Convinced of the Hex" and the John Lennon-inspired "I Don't Understand Karma," which Coyne describes as his response to "Instant Karma."
The band plans on finishing up the lion's share of the recording before it heads out in June for a little more than a handful of summer concert dates in Europe, Australia and stateside. In addition to playing its version of Madonna's "Borderline," which is found on the new covers album "A Revolution In Sound," Coyne says fans can expect to hear the aforementioned unreleased tracks.
"I would never want to think that we'd want to play too much new material that the audience doesn't know," Coyne says. "We have so many requests all of the time to play old stuff, and we're kind of up for anything, really."