Andrew WK: Why music is worth living for and what it really means to party
Talking to Andrew WK about higher powers, his purpose in life, and what partying really means
This week we released a feature-length podcast with Andrew WK, in which Online Editor Luke Morton gets deep with the Party King himself on topics of destiny, the power of music and what it actually means to be Andrew WK in 2018.
Below is an excerpt from the interview in handy Q&A form, in which Andrew discusses the meaning of his song Music Is Worth Living For plus the idea of a higher power.
One of the singles you released from the new album is Music Is Worth Living For. What does that title mean to you?
“I wanted to put it quite bluntly, that for me personally, and I think for many people, there needs to be some type of completely, absolute, reliable goodness in their life. A type of real, unconditional love. And for me, music has been that. Not to discount the love of my closest family or other great things I’ve enjoyed, but music, for as long as I can remember, has been like a being. An entity. Some kind of thing that’s even more incredible than a being. It doesn’t have the limitations of an entity or a person.
"It’s completely mysterious [and] makes me, as I say in the song, feel good about staying alive and wanting to stay alive... I feel like it cares about me, it cares about everybody, [it's] an unselfish kind of love that’s proof of some higher, undeniable goodness that I don’t need to understand or explain other than the way it makes me feel."
Do you believe in a higher power?
“Absolutely, and I can say that for exactly what it is – an absolute truth. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if I have any ability to, but it goes beyond belief. I don’t see how anything could exist unless there was something that made it exist. I don’t know if you could describe that thing, whatever it is. Even music. I didn’t invent music, no-one did, it’s a phenomenon that emerged out of something. It’s bigger than any one person, it’s better than any one thing a person could make, and yet we’re all able to engage with it, and in a way it feels like it’s coming out of us and from a place far beyond us. Music’s a higher power.
"I’m very interesting in doubt and questioning and confusion, and the benefits of that, but there’s also a time for acceptance and humility, and I’ve made that decision to accept the reality of an absolute fact of all things. Whether you call it a higher power, whether you call it spirit, whether you call it god, or Truth, I think I have to accept that it exists or I’m fighting a losing battle for no reason.”
Do you see yourself as more than just a musician?
“Ideally. Or less than a musician; that’s more accurate. I think, for my purpose, music is a means to an end and I got into a lot of disagreements with people who told me all that matters is the song. First of all, there’s lots of great music that has no lyrics or singing, that aren’t songs, that are pieces of music and they matter too. Secondly, even that is a means to an end, a means to experiencing that glory and I’m focussed on that glory. If you want to call it secondary or removed from the music, the music is the way to get there, talking to you now is a way to get there, some ways are more effective for different people. Some people don’t even like rock music, I want to be able to have a chance of generating that feeling for them as well. That’s the key to the whole endeavour and if I focussed on any particular means in getting there more than the goal itself, it would be very unpleasant.”
It feels like the word party has changed meaning throughout your career.
“I never told people how to party – if you’re going to party, party hard – but I feel like it’s been consistent in a beautifully ambiguous way. Right form the beginning, one of the things I really focussed on, was not telling people how to party because I was really bothered by that as a younger person, by my peer group telling everybody what to do all the time. And the people who claimed they most despised being told what to do by adults for example, were the ones that were most passionate about telling their friends what to do. That you were doing it wrong, that you were partying the wrong way, that’s not really partying, you should do this, why are you wearing that, that’s not the right kind of music… just bad vibes all over the place, so I wanted to make something that was completely beyond that, that had room for all those people doing everything in the opposite way, a real party where everyone was invited and all those unnecessary rules could be obliterated, if only for that one moment. I’ve been able to articulate better over the years, but it’s always been celebrating the fact that you exist and trying to decide that existing is good. One way to make it feel good is by celebrating it.”
Listen to the full interview podcast with Andrew WK on iTunes now.
Andrew WK's new album You're Not Alone is out March 2, via Sony Music. Pre-order it from Amazon now.