Andrew W.K. 'God Is Partying' interview
[Photo by Herb Maximo]

ANDREW W.K. established a place for himself in the music world on the strength of his anthemic track “Party Hard.” Twenty years later, the prophet of party shows no sign of stopping. He’s back with a new album, ‘God Is Partying.’ While the sound has evolved, the message of positivity and inclusivity—perfectly encapsulated by his mantra of partying—remains the same.

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On the eve of the 20th anniversary of his beloved album I Get Wet, Andrew W.K. returns to form. His latest album, God Is Partying, revisits the artist’s love of all things partying. But don’t just expect the status quo. The record pushes Andrew W.K.’s sound into new territory, preserving the power and energy while embracing metal and other sonic textures. Ahead of the new album, the artist took us behind the scenes of the project. He contextualized his new sound, the significance of his early hit “Party Hard” and his enduring commitment to bettering the world through partying.

Your new album, God Is Partying, is due in September. Can you tell us about the record?

I’ve been very fortunate to have the chance to be part of making this new collection of recordings and surf this sacred shuttle of celebratory joy. This zone has the potential to transcend and sublimate the most brutal dimensions of life. This zone, in my belief, also transcends itself. That was the basic headspace during the finishing of the album. It took a long time to make.

The record has a very heavy, anthemic metal sound. Can you talk about some of your musical goals for the album and why you pushed in this direction?

About 24 years ago, I attempted to purify the putrid palace of my personhood with the power of positive partying. It largely failed. So now the paradoxical approach is being applied, I guess.

You played all of the instruments on the record. What was it like working on the album under those conditions?

I mean, that’s basically how all the stuff was usually recorded, at least from what I understand. I think it always comes down to what works best for a specific moment in the recording process, and I suppose if one person can do it instead of another, then one of them will end up doing it, and one way will take longer.

Can you take us behind the scenes of the new album? What was the process for recording it?

The recordings on God Is Partying were actually recorded over a few different sessions over a few different years. Most of the music was recorded in 2018, but also some in 2005-2006 and 2016. And we did some additional mixing in 2019 and 2020 to finish it up. It always seems to take such a long time.

The title of the album calls to mind partying, which is a classic theme associated with your career. What made you revisit that idea for this album?

Trying to encourage more partying. It sometimes seems like a rather futile effort, even to me. And sometimes it seems egotistical and silly to think partying could actually change someone’s life in a positive way, but even if one person out there saw things from a different perspective—even for only a brief moment, and that made for a partier world, or at least a partier few minutes—I think it could be worth something. I don’t know. Sometimes it feels quite disillusioning and even pointless to try doing anything at all. But I’m not willing to give in to pure hopelessness—we mustn’t succumb to the allure of nihilism, even though it’s a valuable and natural phase.

Can you talk about “Everybody Sins” and the visual for the track? What were you going for with that project?

Well, the entertainment industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You end up being around all sorts of different people, many of whom are very decent, but some of whom are quite depraved and disturbing. It’s not surprising that some people have ideas and behaviors that are unsavory, crass and downright criminal. I’ve also done my fair share of raising hell. Each of us is immersed and enmeshed in the world, and no matter how hard we try to isolate ourselves, we remain surrounded and entangled. It’s intense.

It’s hard for me to believe, but I Get Wet is turning 20 this year. I was a teenager at the time “Party Hard” dropped, and I was totally blown away. How does it feel to look back on that project and celebrate this anniversary?

I’ll never forget where I was the day that first album came out. I was working at a department store called Bergdorf Goodman, and on my lunch break, I used to sometimes walk to the Virgin Megastore record shop, which used to be in Times Square. And one day I went in and saw that huge bloody nose photo at a listening station display, and I was hooked instantly on the entire experience. Just hearing that music playing in that store at that moment—it was magical. I’m sure that’s how it is for a lot of people when your dreams end up coming true but in a way you didn’t expect.

You’ll be launching a tour in September. Can you give fans a sense of what to expect from the run?

I really have no idea. All I can do is go as hard as I possibly can and hope that others join me at the party.