Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on making songs for movies, working with Moby and Halloween costumes

The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins, Jake Ingalls

The Flaming Lips have been constantly occupied lately. “We’re in the just in the last phase of doing a final mix on this little six-song that is being released with the ‘Ender’s Game’ movie at the beginning of November,” singer and frontman Wayne Coyne said. “Just got back from playing a bunch of shows with the Tame Impala boys.”

The new EP was one of the things we spoke about, and Coyne also told me about the band’s plans for the Halloween Blood Bath at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Oct. 31, as well as his recent collaboration with Moby on “The Perfect Life.”

How did the Moby collaboration come about? When did you start talking and working together?

Wayne Coyne: I think Moby has been making a new record for a couple of years now. He sent me that track… quite a while back. It may have been a year ago. I did some singing on it. I don’t believe I wrote any words for it. I did a couple of simple things, some overdubs. I could tell right away that it was something that he liked because of the way that he responded. Moby’s got quite a few different singers – not on all of his records, but on quite a few. We met up as far back as 1993 or ‘94, something like that. I was always aware of him, and we liked each other and respected each other, and we keep tabs on what the other is doing.

You have an EP inspired by “Ender’s Game” coming out for Record Store Day this fall. How does that differ in material from “The Terror?”

Wayne Coyne: In the beginning, you don’t know what type of songs they are wanting. They approached lots of groups and said “Write a song for this,” and I’m always trying to just giving them a song we already have and say, “I hope you like this.” Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, I sent them a couple of songs, and I could tell that they were liking the sort of ballad approach. But they needed something that was very specific to the lyrics of not just the book but the movie as well. Once we sat down and wrote the song, it sort of took on a different trip. We didn’t know what they would… like. So you just throw in stuff that you like.

What inspired you to go beyond the one song that was asked of you?

Wayne Coyne: You end up liking these things that you’re working on, and you don’t want to just say, “Oh, you don’t need that, you don’t need this.” And I didn’t know for a little while what all they were going to need, so I just worked on it as though it was all important to me. We really liked this vibe. It’s kind of epic, and it’s kind of sci-fi. The kid in the movie has a lot of regrets about the way that he is … tricked into using his aggression and his skills … he thinks it’s a video game or a replica of a war scene. This part we really related to, this idea of the childlike sort of guilt and regret. And some of it was just we were discovering some new gadgets to play with, and it was a good excuse to have a new batch of songs. Once you get a couple of themes going, it’s fun to play around with them.

Do you know how they’re going to use it?

Wayne Coyne: I think it’s just in the very end as it breaks from the end of the movie into the credits.

Gawker had a quote from you describing the perfect Halloween costume. You’re actually playing in San Francisco on Halloween. So what kind of costumes or themes would you like to see in the audience?

Wayne Coyne: We were trying to decide that ourselves. We always think the weirder and the sicker the better, but it becomes a little bit of a contraption. You don’t know: Is this something you’re going to get ready at your house, or are you going to fix it up when you’re at the show? … Make it disturbing, but it depends on how much people want to look like themselves so their friends can recognize them or … like some bloody blob that’s sitting in the corner.

On what the Halloween Blood Bath will NOT include. (Read the story in the Examiner about what the Lips plan to do at the show, but rest easy that it does not include spraying the crowd with fake blood).

Wayne Coyne: Well, we don’t really want to get everybody that sticky. I mean, we’ve done that in the past, and it’s kind of fun in the beginning, but we still have to play music, and we don’t want our instruments and everything to be completely covered. I don’t really want to get it all over people either.

Follow Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.

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