It's a beautiful summer Friday afternoon, and Andrew W.K. looks tired. This is not his first interview of the day, and there's more work to be done once it's over. The "Party Hard" singer is dressed head-to-toe in white and wears sunglasses despite the fact that he's sitting on an old couch in a windowless MTV studio, in the depths of Viacom's Times Square building. This is not a very party atmosphere. But the second Andrew starts talking, the energy of his voice fills the room and it's easy to get wrapped up in his passion for life and can-do attitude.
The unique musician's next project is what has brought us here today. After finding out he was up for the O Music Award for Must-Follow Artist on Twitter, Andrew reached out to the Awards Show and said he would love to participate in person. They came back to him with a challenge no one could have expected: drumming for 24-hours straight, setting a world record in the process. Andrew's answer was simple: yes.
"I said, "I'm there, I am your guy," and then I quickly realized the ramifications of what I had just agreed to: that I actually was going to have to drum for 24 hours. And I realized it was a lot more intense and challenging and intimidating than I had first thought. But that's the best kind of experience -- how often do you get to be pushed in this sort of way? This is the kind of stuff that you never forget and if you have these kind of once in a lifetime opportunities come your way you gotta take 'em and give it the best you have."
Receiving his first drum set at age 13, Andrew focused on an intense drumming style, which he refers to as "grindcore beats" or "blast beats". But recently he hasn't been spending much time behind the skins, and that's making him nervous.
"I definitely used to have a lot of stamina -- I could play those very demanding drum beats for an hour long show. That was many years ago, and recently, when I asked the drummer in my band to let me play his kit ... I can barely even play one of my own songs. That's why I'm getting nervous going into this... I think my endurance in general is good, but you can be a marathon runner, but that doesn't mean you've played drums, even for an hour, let alone 24."
Andrew is taking a note from such athletes by practicing by air drumming with weights on his wrists. While he may be confident in his abilities, his longest session was a little over an hour -- even if it was rapid fire, it's difficult to imagine that translating into a full day and night.
Outside of the O Music Awards, Andrew has been taking a break from his own music to tour with Ramones drummer Martin Ramone, playing their songs, which he calls "one of the joys of my life." Yet he's not stopping there.
"There's about 4 huge announcements ... coming up over hopefully the next 2 months," hints W.K. "I can't believe that I can do this stuff. I mean, that's sort of how my life has become -- I don't feel in control of it in the best way. I could never have said "Ok, what I want to do next month is, I want to do a 24 hour drum competition in New York City, for the O Music Awards". Those things, they just come to you and I feel like destiny is at this point just pulling me along my path and all have to do is just show up and give all my efforts. So I guess if you want to see what's gonna happen, I do too! I don't really have plans in my life anymore, I just party all the time and things happen."
For a guy whose debut album cover features himself with an extremely gory, bloody nose, the last place you might expect to find his music is in a kids' movie. So even Andrew was surprised when Disney and Pixar's Monsters University featured adorable animated characters rocking out to his song "Party Hard" in a trailer for the film. A big fan of Disney, this unusual experience was "One of the greatest things that's ever happened to me, ever."
"It's something I could have I never could have anticipated or planned. I mean just that Disney and Pixar would use "Party Hard" for this movie is pretty mind-blowing to me... People tell me all the time, how they were in the theater or they were watching TV, and they couldn't believe it either. It's one of those very bizarre moments where you say, "Is this real life?" And I'm actually not sure that it is -- I may have crossed over into a dream zone."
Even with everything Andrew has going on, the self-proclaimed "Party King" simply feels he goes with the flow. His advice to others is to put in the work to live as seemingly carefree as he does.
"It takes effort -- it's one of the easiest hard things to do though, because it's so rewarding and it's so pleasurable. First, realize that you deserve to be in a state of joy, you deserve to celebrate your own life, and that there is nothing trivial or irresponsible about that celebration. In fact, it's perhaps not only important, but perhaps the whole point of our existence. What are we working towards, anyway, except to get to those places of euphoric happiness? Partying, celebrating the fact that you're not dead is a great respectful tribute to your life and the lives of everyone in general."
The O Music Awards "Live Music Day Festival" kicks off with a performance by the Jonas Brothers this Wednesday, June 19th and lasts for 24 hours, during which award-nominee Andrew W.K. will be constantly drumming in an Oakley store in the hopes of setting a record for the "Longest Drum Session in a Retail Store." The entire event will be available for viewing on OMusicAwards.com.