Outstanding musicians Dan and Patrick chat about life and other worlds.
You were both college dropouts; do you think that qualifications are essential in achieving what you want?
P: No. You can make your own way if you work for it.
So you mean you’ve got to have a long hard slog beforehand.
P: Yeah. Well, we can’t condone that but we won’t condemn it.
Back in the day, when you passed your hours at the helm of a lawnmower, was all that manual work de-motivational to you in getting where you are?
D:Yeah I hate work.
P:I hate having to show up at a job, like wash dishes for hours or just shit that you don’t really want to do. I don’t think anyone likes it.
D: Although that lawnmower job was pretty sweet, because we didn’t actually have a boss around, no one telling you what to do necessarily.
And you got to be out in the open…
D: Yeah! Although I found out I was allergic to freshly cut grass, which sucked.…
And you still carried on? How allergic?
D:My whole nose started to itch, and my eyes would get red. Kind of like hay fever, but wet grass as a trigger, not pollen.
Based in Akron, You’re still quite feet on the ground; do you think that’s an important factor to success?
P:No, I think lots of people are successful and have no family life whatsoever.
D: I think in order to be a normal person you’ve got to have the family stuff.
What if you had the ultimate choice of family or a completely separate life?
P:Definitely family. That’s important.
The name the Black Keys came from a schizophrenic artist in Akron, things he thought were abnormal he named the Black Keys. Would you like to see that as a widespread view of the band?
D:Yeah, I’d like that as a widespread view of the band.
Is that why it became the band name?
Magic Potion is your heaviest, grittiest album yet, do you see yourself taking more of that direction in the future or doing something completely different?
P:I have no idea. I think, it’s hard to…When we start recording the next record something will just come out and that’s what it will be.
Is that how you’ve worked things in the past? Obviously you’re influenced by the blues, but is there anything else that influences you to change, as you go along, like think oh I really like that, and try to fit it into the music?
P:I think whenever you play an instrument you always want to learn how to do it better. Start wanting to do different things
Do you have lots of American influences, or is it worldwide?
D:Everything, all kinds of stuff
Who are you favourite artists at the moment?
P:Current? I don’t know any current artists…
Doesn’t have to be current.
D: Every time we come to England there are musicians in the media that we never hear.
We just see pictures of them. Like Amy Winehouse.
Do you think downloading is a good window for bands, or should it go back to the old ways of vinyl and tapes?
P:Well I remember before downloading if I wanted to find good new bands, which were current bands, I’d have to rely on my friends to give me mix tapes. So it’s kind of the same deal. I think if you like something you should buy it.
Well, on iTunes and sites like that you have to pay, but I think a lot is lost on the internet. If you look at the old cds/vinlys, they’ve got the original artwork, free posters, etc. And obviously you’ve got great artwork on your albums too. And you don’t get that if you download.
D:Well, I mean we both use our ipods all the time. But I love having vinyls, the record... Looking at the liner notes.
There’s’ always secret bits to find. New realisations of what things mean.
P:I think ipods are good for convenience, but most people who really love music will go out and buy it.
Who does the artwork for your records?
Was that a choice made from the beginning?
D:He did the work on our first record, and our demo before that. So he’s just always done it.
Do you do any art?
D:Just like backstage wall scrawls.
What brought you to Norwich, after only really playing huge arenas?
P:Well, the only reason we really came here was Alan Partridge…
You been to Bono’s house yet?
P:Does he live here?
Umm…no the episode where ….wants to see Bono’s house...so Alan takes her to Blickling Hall. Norfolk has a lot to offer.
D:There’s a lot of UFO sightings here isn't there?
Do you believe in all that?
D:I believe people saw it.
What do you think of Roosevelt? Ever seen the alien autopsy video?
D: It’s real.
It’s a bit of an odd thought to think that the universe is so huge and then there’s just us, on a tiny ball of revolving lava. Making great music.
Interview & Words- Ali Hewson