James Murphy was on the fence about re-forming his dance rock band LCD Soundsystem. After performing what Murphy called their final shows in 2011, a conversation with late rock icon David Bowie convinced the band leader that perhaps he’d pulled the plug too early.
“I spent a good amount of time with David Bowie, and I was talking about getting the band back together,” Murphy told Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio’s 6 Music. “He said ‘does it make you uncomfortable?’ I said ‘yeah’, and he said ‘good, it should, you should be uncomfortable’.” Murphy had good reason to listen to Bowie, with whom he’d collaborated several times over the years, including on a remix of the song “Love is Lost” from Bowie’s 2013 album The Next Day, as well as adding percussion to songs on Bowie’s final album, 2016’s Black Star.
“The first thing that popped into my head was ‘what do you know? You don’t know what it’s like to be uncomfortable’. I was imagining that if I was David Bowie, I’d just be walking around flipping everybody off – unless maybe Lou Reed is there,” said Murphy. “There are literally one or two people where nothing can be said about them. But that’s not who he was ever in his life, he was always making himself uncomfortable. There was such a great feeling of ‘you just don’t know what you are to anybody else’.”
As noted by NME, Murphy also told Laverne that he was “overwhelmed” when Bowie and Black Star producer Tony Visconti asked him to co-produce the album, a position he didn’t think he “belonged” in, though he and Bowie did discuss recording an album together. “I reached out to David and said, ‘I’d love to do a record just me and you’,” Murphy said. “He said, ‘It’s funny you mention that, please look me up when you get back to New York.'” They did end up getting together, but by that point Bowie had already begun work on his final album.
LCD Soundsystem’s fourth album, American Dream, is due out on Sept. 1.
Listen to Murphy’s 6 Music interview: