Favored for his production and guitar playing in TV on the Radio as well as his deliciously warped mind, David Sitek is once again churning out more musical snacks. Only this time he’s included a melting pot of solid singers to his funk glitter party. Ushering in pals like TVOTR’s Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Theophilus London, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, and David Byrne, Sitek will drop his mulit-artist collaboration Maximum Balloon Sept. 21 via DGC/Interscope. Here he talks landscaping, shifting from the east coast to the west, and Dr. Laura.
URB: Have your days been typical or extraordinary lately?
DAVID SITEK: Well my days are 18 hours long, but if I do for some freaky reason have spare time I usually motorcycle through the canyon or something like that or my homeboy Earl and I will just spin records and throw each other off by throwing the weirdest songs we can into a mix.
What’s been the latest odd mix?
The song from Radiohead that goes drrrn drrrn drrrrn da drrnn drrrn drrrn…I forget the name of it (could have been “Optimistic”) and “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith. It just got bananas from there.
The king of odd pairings, which brings me to your album Maximum Balloon. Let’s start with the name. How did you come up with this?
It was just kind of like ‘I need a name’ and as usual the ones I usually come up with are just terrible.
What were some of the terrible ones?
It was mostly like animal noises and things that wildly misrepresent the music.
So no albums titled Grrrr?
I’m actually totally into that and whatever sound a donkey makes because I’m a jackass.
Were any of the tracks or sounds on this project picked up from the chopping block of other projects like TVOTR or Yeah Yeah Yeahs?
Not so much. When Tunde and I were younger we did a song called “Dream” and recorded the kick drum and the snare on this shitty microphone. I had about three percent of the equipment I have now. I didn’t even have a mic stand so I held it over the drum and hit it. We recorded it on a cassette and every album that I’ve recorded on, at some point, I will bring up those sounds. It’s like this giant gumbo of drum pieces that I’ve used.
Do you still use those cassettes?
No, I’ve recorded them to something else. My cassette four track bit the dust when I moved out here. I had it since I was a kid. It was like my punk rock four track. It wasn’t strong enough to withstand a Vespa. I went up a ramp too fast.
If I remember correctly you had a pink Miley Cyrus CD player at your listening session at the Soho House back in June. Is that still in one piece?
Yep. I still have it. That’s my vibe. I have two sets of turntables set up right now. We have four technics 1200s and two mixers and that CD player and bunch of other corny shit. We even have a DJ laser light.
The folks on the record, is this your current dream team?
This sounds real hippie, but I feel like earth is my current dream team. These are the people who are around me the most and had been hearing all of this music that I was working on. Mostly people came over for dinner and then I played them shit that I did for other people and they were like ‘I’ll do something.’
Then you’d record on the spot?
Yeah. Like the rest of my life there was not a whole lot of advanced thought.