Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd discuss their new collaboration, touring possibilities and Miley Cyrus.
Wayne Coyne says the Electric Wurms is "mostly Steven's group," referring to his Flaming Lips compatriot Steven Drozd. But Drozd insists that Coyne get his due credit for the proggy Lips offshoot, too.
"We started talking about it a couple years ago," Drozd says of the Wurms, which will release the six-song Musik Die Shwer zu Twerk, featuring a cover of Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise," on Aug. 19. Listen to new song "The Bat" exclusively on Billboard.com:
"I think Wayne and I were talking about some idea of some fantastical prog-rock kind of a jam band, Miles Davis, electric, crazy music ensemble thing," Drozd continues. "We started one of those kind of conversations: 'Wouldn't it be great if we did that…?' We do it all time and Wayne always wants to actually do it for real, where I'm content to say, 'Wouldn't it be fun if someone did that…,' He'll actually do it."
Coyne concurs, calling himself "kind of the Brian Eno character of this group -- the weirdo motivator and noisemaker guy. I think Steven and I often longed for this side of the Flaming Lips that didn't always have to be Wayne's singing and a reflection of Wayne's world and all that. This is not full of Wayne-isms or anything like that. It's a whole other part of the Lips universe."
Drozd and Coyne are joined in Electric Wurms by the members of the Nashville group Linear Downfall, who Drozd calls "kids, because they're so young." Nevertheless, he says they're well-versed in the kind of musical mix he and Coyne wanted for Electric Wurms.
"They're like punk rock, 1970 Miles Davis, prog rock, Kim Crimson, called mixed together," he says. "They know hip-hop. they know so much music. They're perfect for this."
The Wurms will play two shows in the U.K. -- Aug. 31 at the End of the Road Festival in Larmer Tree Gardens and Sept. 1 at the Village Underground in London -- and, depending on how those go, Drozd predicts that "we'll try to do some touring of the States, maybe a couple weeks of shows. But I know we're going to do some more recording."
The Wurms, of course, are just one of several projects Coyne and Drozd have in motion now. They recently announced an Oct. 28 release for With a Little Help From My Fwends, the group's re-imagining of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with Miley Cyrus and other guests, as well as the Electric Wurms on "Fixing a Hole."
"We just love having weird records like that," Coyne explains. "We did the Pink Floyd record (The Dark Side of the Moon in 2009), which was kind of an accident that we did for an iTunes bonus thing, and I think we wound up liking doing stuff like that 'cause it leads to so many things. We started working on the 'Sgt. Pepper's' record a couple years but never got going anywhere, but we said, 'Let's finally do this' and people started hopping on it, and here we are."
It's not all Coyne and the Lips have been doing with Cyrus, either. Coyne says they've worked on more music together, which could wind up appearing on her next album or being a full-blown collaborative project. "She's just cool, and she really loves music and loves doing interesting things," he says. "I compare her to someone like Damien Hirst -- you can't be around someone like Damien and not do some art. The same would be true of me, and the same of Miley. When we're around each other, that's just what we do. Mostly we like being around each other and having fun, and we're interested in the way each other does things."