Sally A. Edwards brought out the spontaneous side of Queens of the Stone Age's Joshua Homme and Troy van Leeuwen via some thoughtful questions. Adding the BLAG Word Game, resulted in plenty of golden advice via an array of accents, laughter and sound effects.

 

The original story was first published in BLAG Vol. 2 Nø 9 print edition in 2008.

Interview and Art Direction by Sally A. Edwards
Photography by Sarah J. Edwards

Alright, take a look at these shots. Calm, relaxed? Yes, indeed. Now these were taken after the interview and in no way whatsoever do they show the experience. Sarah has worked her magic; I suppose if she hadn’t, it would give a completely different point of view.

Let’s rewind an hour or so...

It’s a typical afternoon at a typical five star hotel in Mayfair, London. We’re in the lobby, though truthfully at times like these it should have a ‘waiting room’ sign on the door. You have your appointment time, but more often than not the one before you overruns or someone amongst the group is late. It’s no problem, just gives you time to anticipate the scenario:

Will it be the whole band? Will they be hungover? Will they be in a good mood? Is Josh Homme really the scary, overpowering front man not to mess with that we’re lead to believe? Are they going to be up for the way we plan to approach the interview?

Flashback to the ‘waiting room’ setting: Sarah and I sit and wait, look at the clock, have a cup of tea. I play brickbreaker on my phone, look at the clock, have the biscuit that came with the tea, which is now stewed. Look at the clock, ‘nice detail on the hand of the clock. The lift doors open and like a Sergeant in an Army green jacket, publicist Rich heads over. “Alright, come up in three minutes. They’re almost set. Wait outside and I‘ll come and get you.” “OK, thanks.” Back to the waiting room process, take a sip of tea, bad move. Wait. Look at the clock. Wait.

Once three minutes have gone by we head to the lift and make tracks on the upper level in the thick pile carpet as we proceed along various corridors to our destination.

Sarah and I wait outside the suite. Decide to put our things down. Entertain each other with comedic pre-workout stretches to prepare for whatever lurks on the other side.

Eventually we knock on the door and we’re let in by Rich. Troy Van Leeuwen and Josh Homme are seated at a round table by the window. Manager, Kristen works at her laptop. Rich introduces us and Josh greets us by singing our names. He stays seated, writing words in pencil in elaborate handwriting, but dancing in his seat with an air of confidence coming from all directions. Troy is at ease and gentlemanly in a dapper suit.

I take a seat at the table and place the BLAG cards face down with no explanation. You know this now don’t you? No need for the rules this time.

***

Alright, limber up ladies and gents, this one’s a little bit different.

To get you in sync and strapped in for the ride, first some vocal exercises:
a-a-a-ah a-a-a, me-me-me me-me-me, u-u-u- uh u-u-u

Now accents. We’ve got loud American, theatrical projected American. We’ve got American doing a bit of ‘Londin’ and a true Brit with a hint of London.

We’ve got robot voices, dashes of whispering. We’ve got mellow, calm delivery. We’ve got room-filled delivery, flavourful singing and today’s special? Lots of unique laughter.

To add to this Josh and Troy are extremely animated and metaphorical in their answers. They’re hyperactive to say the least, they digress and return to subjects in a matter of flashes.

So with all this in mind, I’ve created some rules. This is purely to guide you through the moments. Explanatory notes have been inserted throughout, these are denoted in italics surrounded by brackets.

Buckle up, baby we’re about to break some speed limits.

***

The first thing is to introduce each other including best traits.
Troy: He’s Josh and his best trait... he’s got the nicest blue eyes in the world.

Josh (Whispers): They’re piercing... I wasn’t going to say that, but I just wanted to jump in there. What’s different is if you whisper something, it’s really more effective. Like if you say, ‘blue eyes’ and I go, ‘piercing’. Haha! Yes. This is Troy Van Leeuwen and he smells terrific. He’s a snappy, snappy dresser.

Nice.
Troy: But it’s the fact that I smell terrific, I think. Right?
Josh (In an extravagant hand held out, theatrical kind of way, with projected, clearly pronounced voice): At all moments of the day or night.

Very good.
Troy: Very good. I like that.

We’ve got your album, ‘Era Vulgaris’, we really like it. Thank you. It’s really good.

Josh: Thank you... for thanking... can I start over?

Yeah! We wanted you to speak about the writing process, because from our perspective – and you might disagree with us; we feel it’s more art-like and more creative. It’s almost edited and honed, would you say? Or how would you describe it?

Josh: We had a chance to like...
Troy: Manipulate stuff.
Josh: We brought in lots of raw marble and you have the chance to shape it, and polish it and really form it a lot more, because we took our sweet time, you know? Which was nice, but also right before that the starting to second guess yourself period happened, we’re like ‘Stop. Stop. Please.’ And my piercing blue eyes looked at his lovely smell and we stopped.
Troy: Ha ha ha, it was a knowing look...
Josh: One of our collective best qualities has always been the ability to not second guess things and let them be what they are. So that came in handy this time, because if you take a long time you’re like, (Slower, drawn out voice, quickened towards the end:) ‘Oh... er... I dunno...Try this on, turn around...’ You know and it’s kind of like, you’re supposed to let it be. As Paul McCartney said, you know that would be what it is.

OK, I wanted to you pick a track each with a beat that you’re most proud of and tell us how you’d dance to it.
Josh: Haha. I’m already dancing to ‘Misfit Love’ I’m sorry, Troy.

Troy: Haha, yeah I know.
Josh:...because that song makes me... It’s kind of this amalgam of stories of like when you’re from a small town and you’re going to go into the big city, and you’re like, ‘Wait ‘til they get a load of me.’ You know? It’s not really what happens when you get there, It’s just like, ‘I’m leaving tonight.’ and the whole time like, ‘ow-ow, chchch, ow-ow (That’s my interpretation of the opening...) and it also feels like it picks up steam where it goes: Urrr- ow, urrr-ow, ‘Hey baby what’s going on?’ It’s sort of like... it’s not in a typical sense, but it’s almost about consuming the road ahead of you until you get to your destination where you’re just like (Harshly inhales.) you know and it’s not in such a drugs or drink manner, but just really feeling like you swallow it all whole, you know?
Troy: Yeah, and the dance move that I saw you do the other day was sort of like the Bowie, ‘Let’s Dance’ / ‘Modern Love’.
Josh: I can’t help it you know. He had the big shoulder [padded jacket] in that video. Do you

remember? Did you see that video? He’s going like that (Moves in Bowie’s trademark style.) the whole time?
Troy: Yeah, it’s so light and airy.

Josh: Yeah and he looks happy because he’s about to do this too. (Clicks fingers.) I love all that stuff. I do all that. I just did, but I do it later too.

Troy: I like to do the one dance that I do to ‘Into The Hollow’, it seems to always bring it out of me. It’s the ‘put the cigarette out.’ Josh: See he doesn’t smoke so I’m always like, ‘Troy.’ (Throws – what would be, a cigarette down and treads on it.) Bang! ‘Troy.’Bang!

Troy (sings): Doo doo, do-do-do-do (Another attempt to spell the opening chords.) (Stamps out cigarette.) Doo doo, do-do-do-do (Stamps out cigarette.)

Josh: And I’m not into fringe. I just never really have been... But that song just makes me think... So you can actually throw it, like vum...vum...vum...

Troy: Hahaha!

Hold on. You’re going to have to explain this to me a second. Is it fringe like here, (I point to forehead:) like hair-style?
Troy and Josh: No.

Josh: Fringe like on clothing.

Oh! Oh! I beg your pardon, I see!
Sarah: I don’t know who is into fringe.
Josh: No, because it’s lame. That’s why I wanted to... There’s a certain type of person into fringe... or what do you call it?

Are you talking about on the sleeves?
Josh: Yeah.
Troy: Fringe (hair-wise) is bangs.
Sarah: I hadn’t heard of that for so long, I’d blocked it out of my mind.

 

I’d forgotten that existed to be honest! Haha!

Josh: Yeah, no I have too, but in America there’s people who are like, 50 and they’re lawyers and they buy Harley Davidson’s and then they have fringe jackets and they’re like, (Points with arm extended.) ‘It’s over there!’ and you’re like, ‘I can’t see because you’re blocking.’

Sarah: Are they leather cut, or a shimmery material stitched on?
Troy: They’re little pieces of leather that are all cut together and it swings.

Josh: Yeah. It’s terrible news, but Jesse Hughes from the Eagles of Death Metal started to get into fringe and I’m always like, ‘God dammit, dude!’

Troy: He would too. Totally!
Josh: And he roller blades too in what I call German Jean shorts. And I’m always like, ‘....(long exhale)... Will you please roller blade over there in your German Jean shorts, please?’ And sure enough he does circles around me. What he’s trying to do is just confuse me.

Did you hear about the Astoria show?

Josh: Yeah, I’m so jealous.

Did you hear about the decibels? The crowd got it to 120, 130...
Josh: Oh yeah, the Eagles of Death Metal audience is the gnarliest audience in the world. It’s crazy. I love the Queens audience too, but the Eagles audience... it’s such a dance party. The Eagles of Death Metal was designed to be a guilt-free party music from the word go and that someone with the wrong attitude would actually hate Eagles of Death Metal. It’s supposed to really divide and conquer you know? I was so jealous I wasn’t on that tour. We were finishing the record and I’d worked so hard on that. I played drums for hours you know, just to keep improving to make the record sound that way and I got to this point and it’s so much fun and just... Sarah: It was really good. Especially for a London show.

Did you hear about all the underwear that got thrown?
Josh: Yeah, oh that happens at every show.

The white, Y-fronts?
Troy: The big granny pants.
Josh: Because Mum’s take their daughters to the Eagles of Death Metal shows, that’s what’s so beautiful and nothing brings a mother and a daughter together than both throwing their panties at Jesse.

Haha! This was boy’s white y-fronts.

Josh: Oh really, well that’s kind of weird.

Loads of brand new ones.
Josh: Well, the navy has always had that certain impact from Jesse. Old Navy!

Can you tell us about the guests on ‘Era Vulgaris’?
Troy: Julia Casablancas.
Josh: Julia. Julia? (Sings) His drag queen other side!

Troy: I’m like, ‘that sounded right coming out...’

Josh: Julia! Get over here!
Troy: Pick up that digital guitar and rock!

Josh: Although, I call him Jules and many people close to him call him Jules.

Troy: Because I wanted to say Jules, but I didn’t know if you guys knew who Jules is.

Josh: Yeah, Julian came up and it was awesome.

Tory: Yeah, he was singing some stuff and playing some stuff.

Josh: He’s very cool. I mean I think Julian’s really cool. I really like him, and I like his music. He’s on ‘Sick, Sick, Sick’ and plays the most uncool instrument on it. It’s a guitar, keyboard. It’s actually guitar strings, but they’re rubber and it’s like a robot, like, (In robot voice:) ‘I make guitars’.

Troy: It’s really bad, the worst shape too. Josh: And Julian’s so cool, yet it looks terrible on everyone – it’s like fringe, but an instrument.

Is it headless?
Troy and Josh: Yes.

Ooohhh!
Troy: It’s uuuuggglllyy!
Josh: The headless horseman of lame, but it’s very cool. It falls in line with our using the wrong stuff incorrectly makes good music. Yeah.(Voice over style:) Which is the seminar we’re teaching at the learning annex next week.

Sarah: A bit like running a magazine.
Josh: Indeed. You need to separate yourself, you need to be willing to go in places where other people find either opérant or are fearful of. (The infamous American ‘English accent’:) Don’t touch it, but do.

Can you pick a track that each of you have played something on that you think's really great.
Sarah: Josh, already knows that, Sal.

Troy: I was going to say...
Josh: So you’re asking us to go like this...‘Wellllllllll’ (Claps hands and sings:) ‘Don’t you want to know what I’ve done?’
Troy: Well, the thing about meeee....

Haha! I was talking about vice versa!

Josh: Oh. I’d say what Troy did...

Yes. I didn’t know quite how to word it, but you got it.
Josh: I pretty much got it right away. Haha! Troy on this record... Well, actually ‘Battery Acid’ to me... There’s a number of things, and talking about robots, and the devices they make and stuff. So on ‘Battery Acid’ Troy and everything goes ‘bwow um bwow um bwow’. It sounds like a robot that’s wasted on oil, that’s like, ‘Ow! Bleep blop, bleep blop! I don’t have to listen to you!’ You know? And also the guitar lead is so galloping, like exciting that it actually ended up making me go ‘Whoo!’ with the mic on and I’m like ‘Oops.’

Sarah: I can’t wait to read this interview with all the sound effects!
Josh: Yeah, sorry about that! Expletive, expletive, whoo! Lots of vowels. Yeah.

Troy: I was going to say there’s one in specific: ‘I’m Designer’. There’s a couple of magical and sometimes, you’re boisterous and sometimes you’re all these different elements. So, I think for music, or for songs, or for playing live, these are moments when you display only certain elements of your character of what makes you up; you leave the rest behind, you know? I think for playing live, I only display the looser side of my character because that’s where I really love it you know? I love to feel like (Does a head flick, body wriggle.) all wiry and wiggly you know, when I play, because I think it should be like a party and I like to get loose.

Troy: I would say that, you know especially Josh likes to give nicknames...
Josh: Oh, ha ha.
Troy: And I somehow got one during the making of this record. His name is Leon. I was wearing these two tone purple shoes and... Josh: They’re very pimp like.

Troy: And between you and Goss you’re like... Leon! Like ‘Leon, there he is!’ And I guess that’s right around the time I started carrying a knife too. ‘Cause, I’ll cut’cha!

Josh: I gave him a sweet-ass knife too. It says Wild Fox on it and there’s a fox, that’s like ...(Poses. Very upright.) Yeah, the fox is being photographed in the wild and at the last minute it went... (Poses again.) Like it totally knew. It was like... ‘What the fuck?’ So the way I think of characters is [that] you get to reveal a part of your character and it’s not necessarily someone you play as in displaying – like I said, an aspect solely of your character, you know? Good question. Next. I’m glad this seminar is going well.

Troy: It will be available on DVD and VHS.

I’ve got to the live section of my questions, so that was good. You said you wanted to aim for a 50/50 split of boys and girls attending your shows, did you achieve that?

Josh: OK, 60/40 girls, but that’s not the point.

The point is?
Josh: I just think the girls could really show the boys a thing or two. I think what’s important is not to display how macho you are and peacock around because well, that’s not important to me. I don’t really care so much for that, you know? I’m uninterested by it, but I like people, I like mingling and talking, and hanging out and doing stuff. So I think the girls really control that better, and do a better job of it and have more panache. Like these cards and stuff like that. It’s like, just more style and so I respect it more and I’ve always thought of women as the more powerful of the two sexes. Hence why men are always like, ‘Stay down!’ ‘Stay in there!’ ‘Shiiit!’ You know, it’s from panic, but I like strong women. 
Troy: Hahahahaha! I like that character.
Josh: Haha! I’m sorry. Goofy...
Kristen (manager): You are so fucking weird.

Troy: See. Woman. ‘You’re so fucking weird.’

Josh: See. Strong woman, I’m like, (Mopey voice:) ‘OK.’
Troy (in similar voice): ‘You’re right. I’m weird.’

Kristen: Hahahaha!

Josh: But I like that. When women don’t feel that about themselves, I always feel like going, ‘I’m going set you free girl’ (clicks fingers) ‘...of those shackles.’ You know? ‘Take that fringe jacket off. Let’s...’

Troy: Haha! And those fringe boots!
Josh: End scene! You know?
Sarah: Right it’s a pound per ‘fringe’ now.

Josh: What weighs more, a pound of fringe, or a pound of fur?

A quid a ‘fringe’ for everytime you mention it.

Josh: A quid? Hmmmm.... interesting.
Sarah: Like a fringe box, rather than a swear box.

Josh: You pick it up and you like, ‘Euuurraaarrghhh! That’s fuckin’ lame!’
Troy: Do you have that lame soap that washes all the lame off?

Josh: Nope, that stuff stains.

What’s been the best crowd reaction to you so far?
Troy: Hmmm, this one right here.
Josh: Ha ha yeah. We’re holding court right now. You know, I’ve been playing for a decade on tour and there’s too many shows to pick one.

Troy: Next question.

Josh: I think each country has its own character too and like the Spanish are more mellow and like, ‘Yeah, well, that was cool.’ And then...

Troy: Japan is like (Straight face, upright body breaks into:) ‘Yay!’ (Quick burst of hands clapping, big grin and sudden return to the former.)

All: Hahaha!
Josh: Yeah, exactly! ‘Yay!’ (Claps hands frantically for a split second.)
Troy: Good stuff.
Josh: It’s a very difficult question actually.

OK, no problem.
Josh (in child’s voice): ‘Hard for Josh.’
Sarah: You spoke about yourself in the third person?
Josh: I’m going to actually do myself in the fourth pershon. Pershon? Shometimes. (In sad child’s tone:) Hard for Josh to do. At least I did it like that. My inner child was like, ‘Josh doesn‘t want to play this game.’
(I point to a card and say in the style of a kindergarten teacher): Ah, does Josh want to pick another card?
Josh (in same voice): ‘It’s not easy being Josh.’ I’m not gonna just pick the one you put in front of me! (Throws his pencil down.)‘Cause, I’m very reactionary! (Picks a card and whispers:) Story. Um... the word story is almost like Troys if you mix it up. Let’s see... In your story, Troy. What do you hope the ending is like?
Troy: Well, um... Yeah, yeah...
Josh: Well, what are you at least going moments that always make me laugh. When you say ‘I’m Designer’ especially, it’s the voice. I can’t even picture like what the guy would look like, but it’s just this announcement to the world!

Josh: I always feel in drag whenever I sing that song, you know. The first time I sang it I swear to God I almost poured a glass of white wine – which I never drink. Even when we sing it live, I almost have to go like, (flicks head, takes drag of cigarette, flicks head and reveals:) ‘Hiiiii.’ It almost has to be sung a certain way where you’re James Brown’ed where you’re feet are moving, but you’re body is all stiff you know?

Sarah: Have you got a name for that alter ego?

Josh: I don’t know what my name would be for that alter ego, it’s very campy though.

Troy: How about Auto, maybe?

Josh: It’s just maybe Baby Duck, I don’t know...

Troy: Yeah? OK.
Josh: ...because I almost poured white wine and instead I just poured a little bit of everything else, because you know when people play the glasses, they’re like. ‘Wooo doooo neoooo’ (Licks finger, runs around the rim of his glass.) I had (sings each per note:) Vodka, Beer, Red Wine, Sambuca, What? You know the ashtray one’s like ‘ppooorrrruughhh’ ‘Ooh doo doo urgh’ you know? I’m a smoker by the way.

Troy: Also that’s actually the opposite of the guitar solo that I did in ‘Battery Acid’, the one that you do in that song is the totally-like- making-fun-of-a-guitar-solo and how stupid it can be. It’s extremely rad and stupid. It’s the best kind of stupid out there.

Josh: It’s kind of like a ‘Whoo! Hey, alright... oh shit. La la la la... blululululululu’. That’s not going to read well. To all those readers: That was awesome!

Troy: It’s actually like you went ‘blululululululu’with your tongue instead of your fingers on the guitar.
Josh: I went to Liam’s house to lip-sync a video of three takes of me singing the song, like ‘Heeey, how you doing?’ You know, however I was feeling... and that’s what I did in each take without the guitar, because you’re just standing there being filmed and so I was like ‘Ohhhhhhhh...?’

I’m going to go onto the cards for a second. On the other side of each is a word and I want each of you to pick one and create a question using that word.

Josh: Create a question to ask the other guy using the word.

Yes.
Troy: In what way did you think that collaboration was done in the last time we recorded...

Josh: What the fuck?
Troy: ...with us doing a video?
Josh: I thought collaboration was a really small country next to Tunisia.
Troy: That’s what I thought too.
Josh: What was it again? She is so much better at this than yoooou are. No.
Troy: OK. Use the word collaboration in describing this record.
Josh: Hahahaha!

Now you’re passing the buck!
Troy: I am! I’m terrible at this.
Josh: I love people and I’m not a huge collector of stuff. Although now I’ve been getting musical gear and stuff, but other than that I really love people. I’m not into things and so collaboration is important to me, Troy.

Troy: Thank you, I was just hoping you would use my name in that.
Josh: Because, I really love to be around people that are into making things and creating stuff and I’m fascinated. I’m kind of a voyeur so I just watch while being there. So it’s kind of sexy – which you have to whisper. [Whispers] Piercing in terms of the collaboration.

I’m glad you said that, because I wanted to ask you about working with so many musicians. Do you run more like a company, would you say?

Josh (In London accent): ‘We’re a company! A company.’ Have you ever... That’s what John Lydon told this interviewer in America once for Pil, years ago. Alright, sorry... You know what I actually think in a weird way, that’s a good description of it you know, because we always have company over for tea basically.

Troy: Ha ha for tea.
Josh: And also we’re trying to make a situation. So we’re a company that tries to create moment after moment, you know all these moments and we’re always hard at work doing it you know? We have a sweatshop full of young teenagers that are working over time to write the hits. No, um... No it really is... Yeah, in all forms of that word I think actually it doesn’t sound the greatest, but yeah, I think it is. It’s about having company over, trying to be good company to be with and trying to continuously crank out great moments, you know? I mean if you’re going to do something classic, you’ve got to do something classic and collaborations are a chance to start good friction.
Troy: Word.

(To Josh:) Do you want to pick a card?
Josh: Oh, well I’m not going to pick this one because I’m scared. (Picks one up, reads it... moves hand past face in mine artist way:) ‘Aaaannnnd scene!’
All: Hahahaha!

Josh: Do you ever feel, ob... scene? No, um... Well, I already know the answer to this question, but I’ll ask it anyway. Troy, do you think it’s important to be part of a scene?

Troy: How about if I just say, ‘Nooo’?

Josh: Well... Damn, I asked a Yes / No question.

Troy: OK, I’ll elaborate. I don’t know a scene... It doesn’t seem like it’s something that really applies to...

(Josh interjects ready with a new question):Oh!

Troy: Joshua!
Josh: What do you think our scene is? Pheewwww.

Troy: It’s basically... I would say our scene is a collection of individuals, a mob of individuals.

Josh: The fringe.
Troy: Haha! The fringe, totally! Which doesn’t sound OK...hahahaha!

Josh: Even like that where you’re like,

(Donning imaginary fringe jacket with hand on hip.) ‘Uuhhh! Now I can’t see your arm hole.’ I’m sorry that was terribly rude.
Troy: That’s cool... whatever.

Josh: No, but I agree.
Troy: I’m a man of few words, so get used to it.

Josh: But many dance moves.
Troy: Do we have to do this exercise again?

Why, do you not like it?
Troy: I don’t know, it’s kind of challenging.

Maybe, I’ll ask some more questions and get you a bit more warmed up.
Sarah: I can help you if you like?
Troy: Can you?

Josh: Yeah, go ahead. Pick one. They’re your cards. They’re really stylish too.

Sarah: You were talking about alter egos; do you think you adopt a certain kind of character when you’re on stage?
Sally: Oooohh...

Josh (whispers): Bitch. Haha!
Troy: Good one.
Sarah: Right, I’m going to call The Sun, ‘Josh Homme just called me a bitch.’
Josh: But, no, you know in a catty way. I’ll scratch your eyes out. (Whispers:) Bitch!
Troy: I don’t know for me, I’d say I try to be all I can be. I try to be the best version of myself. Well, you know when we’re recording that’s different because you’re trying to spread your wings and do something you haven’t done before. So you can find strange characters, I guess.
Josh: I definitely... Like, ‘I’m Designer’ is a character inside me though. It’s almost like displaying you know... There’s a lot of things that make somebody up. That make up their personality. Sometimes you know, you’re shy for... ouch!
Troy: Well, I try to think of my story as a day- to-day thing. At the end of my day I like cognac and pyjamas.

Leon’s!

Josh: Leon’s pimped out pyjamas.

Troy: And some purple slippers. Right?

Josh: Anything fuzzy.
Troy: Something comfortable.

With embroidery on?
Troy: I could get that worked out.
Josh (Pointing at Troy): Well, this is a Vivienne Westwood suit.
Troy: Did you say Vivienne Westwood?
Josh (pulls at his top): This is a sweatshirt I’ve had since I was in high school. I just love the colour, and it’s like a blanky that I love! And (In projected theatre-style voice:) he sleeps in fine jammys made of fabrics from around the globe.

Troy: Egyptian polyester.
Josh: And I just wake up in stuff, you know I don’t go to sleep in anything, I just wake up in some like, ‘What?’ You know, a card stuck to my head that says, ‘Scene!’ and nothing else.

Troy: Dreaming of a fringe bathrobe.
Josh: Naked with silver cards all over me like, ‘What the fuck?’

Right, I wanted to speak about film. Have either of you ever been invited to star in a film?

Troy: Mmmm, no I haven’t personally.
Josh: I’ve been asked to do a couple of little things, but I feel like...Umm, just not so good at that. Or, I like that when we make something, we know what it’s going to turn out like. Movies seem to be one great idea delivered by 350 people. It’s like a series of filtration devices, you know, and the idea just trickles through it all until it’s distilled water.

OK, so, I wanted to speak to you about scoring a film.
Josh: That, I love.

I wanted you to ad lib a plot and describe the music you would create for it.
Troy: Ad lib a plot. Well....
Josh: We need one of these cards in order to start the plot. This one’s upside down, I can’t read it. ‘Beat’.

Troy: Well, it’s a character that’s upside down. Definitely, a young boy...
Josh: Beats himself...
Troy: Hahahaha!

Josh (in loud, confident fully pronounced voice): I beat my inner child... No.
Troy: Small town. Heart of gold. Loves to dance. Fringe.

Josh: A stylist with a love for fringe tries to put it back into action.
Troy: Ha! And has a passion for fringe, for bringing it back!
Josh: And the music would be... No, let’s start over. Young boy, small town, tube of chapstick, dance belt and a dream. You know? And the music goes, doom sst doom sst doom sst doom sst, Iiiiii, der-der-der-der- der-der-derrrrr...
Troy: Haha! You can write this down right?

Josh: Yeah, sorry. But it starts with ‘I’ because it’s a super self-absorbed story, because it’s all (sings) ‘I’m gonna find... der-der-der-der- der’... Everything’s like: ‘Iiiiii’ (Thumps table.)

That sounds kind of like a musical. No? Yes?

Josh: Yes, because his walking, like for example (does a seated strut). ‘Nobody ever gonna blaaaaa...’ with a finger like this (puts up the infamous na-ah finger), where I’d be like, ‘Get it out of my face fringe boy!’ You know, ‘Dancing on the Fringe’.

Troy: With German Techno.

Josh: It’s like ‘Putting on the Rich’...
Troy: With the finger pointing, but not the kind of angry finger pointing, the finger pointing like ‘uh-uh’.
Josh: That’s telling you, ‘I ain’t gonna take it!’You’re like, ‘Ffffff... I’m not gonna give it, bro.’ It’s called ‘Dancing on the Ritz’.

All: Hahahaha!
Josh: A story about a kid on the fringe who wants to get in the fold. ‘Iiiii der-der-der derderder...’ It’s sort of like The Love Boat theme. Alright. I think we should probably move onto to another subject!
All: Hahaha!
Josh: I’m starting to actually write this thing.(In bigger, thicker, business man type voice with Southern twang:) ‘I’m going to Paramount tomorrow for a mee-ing!’

You can either pick a card or I can ask you another question.
Troy: Ask another question first! Haha!

 

OK, what’s your ideal day?
Josh: You’re in it. We’re in it. No, I’m super now orientated. I don’t really care about yesterday and I’m not a big idealist, like (Sings, happy over the top way:) ‘I’m gonna change the world!’ That’s in the previous... No. So I just really have always been consumed with now and making the most of it... What was the question and where the hell am I?

It was what’s your ideal day and I’ve also got ideal night, because it was supposed to go with the theme, but you can pass on it if you want?

Josh: Well, I think my answer is more esoteric than like, ‘I go to the Zoo. I have cake everywhere I go.’ you know? I think I just like to focus; too much of the time people focus on what they don’t want as a marker to decide what they do, because it’s easier to tell what you don’t want because you can see it first often. I like to focus on things I’m really into and not let the things I don’t want define my day or my night, you know?

Troy: He’s gonna break it down like: He loves to love and he hates to hate... and breakdance while he’s doing it.
Josh: Yeah, I just want to dance!

Troy: And the night will be filled with dance. The smell of dance.
Josh: You know, like I said, I like people, so I like to be around bubbly, happy people because something bad is always going to happen, but I don’t like to hang onto it, I like to grease it up. Grease the bad and let it slip. So you have to be a massage therapist in that way, you really have to grease it up and let it go, ‘ffffft’.

Hahaha!?
Josh: Fuck. That’s not going to read well.

Troy: He’s basically saying that happiness is fleeting, but you try to keep a steady grip on it, a lot of it’s oily...
Josh: A lot of parenthesis in this interview: ‘grabs, fake, greasy fish.’

Haha! OK, do you want to pick a card? No? Yes?
Josh: Yes. (Sings:) ‘Iiiiii’. Why are you such an ace hole? Maybe you can do a question with this? Maybe you can?

Troy: I’ll give an answer. I don’t even need a question.
Josh: What’s the answer?
Troy: Poker. We’re going to play poker.

Josh: I’m a poker player, but...

Sarah: How many cards are left?
Josh: Oh... that’s a sign... (Picks one up) Joker.
Sarah: Haha! I was hoping you would get that.

Josh: Joker or ace hole, which one?
Troy: Which do I put myself in the category of? I’m just saying that I’m bringing my poker set on tour.
Josh: Are you going to learn to play this time?

Troy: I’m going to do this, this time. I’m going to dive in.
Josh: Yesssss!
Troy: You’re going to get so rich!
Josh: Well, I haven’t been playing long, but out of the two of these I’d rather be the joker. You can be the ace... ‘Cos this one’s got a J in it.

And an O.
Josh: And an O. ‘Ana Ohhhh’ And an OK. I put the OK in joker. It’s OK.
Troy: He’s an OKer. I put the C in ace. ‘Ceee.’ (Pronounced like ‘scene’.)
Josh: I thought you put the Arrr in ace. There’s only one left... (Picks up card, taps side on table.) Club. Do you know the name of the club that I’m opening up?
Troy: Yes.
Josh: What is it?
Troy: Club seal.
Josh: Ar ar ar... It’s like an arctic theme. It looks like a big whaling ship.
Troy: There’s a long, long, long line out front and there’s totally rad security guards and everybody’s going to want to get in just because of that.
Josh: Er... I... I wouldn’t. Who said... Oh God. Who said that ‘I would never be a member of a club, that would have me as a member’?

Sarah: Groucho Marcs.
Josh: That’s right.
Sarah: What do I win?
Troy: You win the club card.
Josh: That’ll get you into any club in the world, starting... now.

How am I doing for time, because I have...

Josh: No pressure. Last question, better be a good one after the last few.

No, not last question. Last chapter. This one is ‘Opinions’ and some of it may seem quite serious, but it’s just because of what I’d read in an interview with you before. So I wanted to get your opinions on...

First impressions. Do you find that when you meet someone you often can get a feeling from them and then further into the relationship that feeling comes back. So it’s almost like the first impression creates...

Josh: Yeah, well. I mean I think, you know people say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, but that’s because they have a shitty cover. I mean you put your best foot forward and I really love those moments. We deal so much with first impressions and you get used to it. I love to make a guess and try to read what’s beyond it, you know, because you make a first impression and your own; what you try to put out is trying to say something but it comes from somewhere. So I like to try to look beyond the fringe – ha – and see what’s there, because it’s exciting and I mean, isn’t it exciting to sort of like... everyone’s putting the best –, or what they think is the best, version of themselves first and you get to see that and it’s not definitive... it doesn’t define who you are, but it’s certainly is off to the races, you know? I mean isn’t that exciting? A little bit?

Troy: Yes.
Josh: I’m looking for an Amen there folks. But I think what’s really beautiful is when you spend a lot of time with someone after those first impressions and you get to see that it wasn’t a false step. You know, where that does swing back around again, because it’s really rewarding because it makes you say, ‘Yessssss.’ Those are great moments too and you don’t get that as much as the others. In our situation we deal so much with first impressions and they’re also last impressions too. So when it swings back around again, it’s really nice.

Cool, and the next one is... I don’t know whether it’s because we’re right in the middle of London and everything moves at such a fast pace, but people never seem to be really satisfied. They’re always looking for something better. It seems to be really ruthless at times. I wondered what you thought about that, and how it can slow down, and whether people can appreciate things more. I know you’re more about being in the moment but a lot of people aren’t. A lot of people are always looking for the next best thing.

Josh: A lot of people are in a hurry and I’ve never been in much of a hurry...
Troy: It’s sort of a self-discovery too. You have to be willing and open to smell the flowers, or wear the fringe.

But spend time on it, though.
Troy: Spend some time on it, but it’s like everybody is busy and you know we try to stay busy too but...
Josh: But while I think it’s really a philosophy thing you know because when you’re in too much of a hurry all that you’re doing is looking forward, and you will build a habit of some sort in everything you do. You will reinforce something and it will turn into your habits and I want mine to be like, ‘This was a cool interview’ you know and that’s about as futuristic as I really want to get, you know because I don’t see the point in the rest of it you know?
Or like, ‘Can we talk about yesterday again?’ Like, ‘I really wish that...’ It’s just not going to happen and I think, one of the things that Troy and I have been talking about alone – ha – is that, the past is done and I don’t want to be looking at it walking backwards into my future, you know? Also I’ve got no chance at a future unless I make now worth it, you know because you have to build the right habit. There’s a million clichés of like, ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the drive’ but that’s only because it’s true. You know, I mean if you take a road trip, it’s hardly ever about when you’re there at the actual point, it’s more about getting there. You know... (In child’s voice:) I’m sad now.

The last thing is about the internet and how loads of people use it to socialise now. I don’t think that’s very healthy. I wondered what your option was on that.

Troy: Well... Mmmm, yeah, it’s... I don’t know. It’s hard for me to even stay on the internet nowadays. To me I get... you know it’s such a side track. I’ll read my email and I’ll look at something like some gear, but it’s like I’d rather talk to people in person or...

Josh: Well, the internet is the only chance I’ll ever have to be a 38 year old mother of six.

Hahaha! Yes.
Josh: You know so... and I love reality and so... I’m not so into that conceptually I’d be meeting somebody on the internet – even though that’s not what I do, but even for others it feels like, if you want to do that then you should, but you should be careful, you know because... You can too much be the dream of yourself, instead of just being yourself. You know when people put their best forward – but not person, it’s not just their best foot forward it’s like really far from where they are. It seems like potentially a habit not worth reinforcing to, you know? The habit rabbit’s gonna hop all over that idea.
Troy: He’s gonna pop out of that magical hat!

Josh: I just totally hopped into something great... because for kids, the ‘habit rabbit’? You know, because, ‘Where are you gonna hop to?’ ‘The bad... or the good?’ ‘Because, life is black and white, get in there!’ Don’t you even carrot about your feelings?

Julian Casablancas for BLAG magazine Photography by Sarah J. Edwards Art Direction and Styling by Sally A. Edwards
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Slash for BLAG magazine Photography by Sarah J. Edwards
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