A "shitty teachers' lounge" photo James sent us of LCD on tour.

Hear Ye Hear Ye: An Interview with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem

BY Daria Radlinski | Wed. December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM | Culture Club
Between scoring a film soundtrack (for Greenberg), managing his record label (DFA, duh) and recording his third and final LCD Soundsystem album in a Los Angeles mansion (This is Happening, double duh,) James Murphy has had a year to write home about. The power of James’ successful multitasking has produced an album (and video) that is perhaps LCD’s best. At the same time this allows for us to toast to him bowing out while on top, and yet also leaves us a bit depressed about something we like very much coming to an end. I'd call it Arrested Development syndrome, except LCD's current popularity and following has nothing to do with it coming to an end. People are just equally as bummed.

In fact, fans are surely ready to get behind This is Happening, as popular demand has led them to schedule four nights at Terminal 5 this week alone. I mean, what’s next, MSG? James does muse upon his similarity to Jay-Z after all, and a lot of other things you probably don't know but will soon find out in our interview. As we were sure that friends of OC and fans of LCD were not entirely mutually exclusive, a few weeks ago we called upon our Facebook and Twitter friends to pose questions for James – and that you did! You asked, he answered. Without further ado, James Murphy.

Get This is Happening TODAY! The term “buyers remorse” is not even in the same language as this purchase. Truly, this album is wonderful. We would not lie to you.

What the people want to know:
Tara from Toronto, OT Canada: I really love your soundtrack for Greenberg. If someone were to score a movie about your life and times with LCD, what might it sound like? Who would you would want to score it?
Jeez, I don't know.  I don't really like soundtracks, typically, so I'd hope the director would just choose existing songs that captured the time, like Peaches' "Lovertits" or The Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers."  I like that kind of soundtrack more.  In fact, my "score" of Greenberg was kind of an attempt at making songs that sounded like they existed outside of the film.

Max from New York, NY:
At the Paper Mag awards you were pretty adamant to say that Justine D had the best DJ year of 2009. Who do you think takes that title so far in 2010?

Ha ha ha!  You mean when I was drunk and being ridiculous?  I just went there with Justine, so I thought it would be funny to pretend I was incensed.  So far in 2010 (didn't it just start?), I'd give it to us, LCD. Gavin Russom, Tyler Pope... I mean, Nancy and Pat and Matt Thornley.  I don't even have to DJ anymore. Watching them play records at our afterparties has been so much fun.  They rool.

Or, well, Optimo.

Stephanie from New York, NY: Do you have a go-to karaoke song?

"You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" by Lou Rawls. That song kills. Really hard to sing, but it's a barnburner.

Michael from Portland, ME: If you could interview anyone, who would it be?

Stefano Pilati.

Brian from New York, NY: I heard that you interviewed Morrissey once. How did that come about and what was it like?
Index asked Tim and me to interview--someone--I don't remember, but it was someone boring, but we had been in this conversation about how important The Smiths were to us, so we requested that we interview him [Morrissey]. Shockingly, he agreed.  He hadn't really done interviews for a long time.  Needless to say, it was terrifying and weird.  He was one of my biggest heroes, and now he was trying to take fault with my grammar (I still hold that my usage of "proudest," though clumsy, was just as acceptable as "most proud," which he preferred and I thought sounded like an anachronism.)

Nicole from New York, NY: Were you in New York during the blackout of 2002? If so, what did you do during that time?
No--I was out of town for just that day.  I missed it.  I missed everything. But my friends did luckily take my flashlight from my apartment and promptly lose it.

Nick from New York, NY: What is your favorite movie that takes place in New York?

I can't even think like that.  Squid and the Whale?  Hannah and Her Sisters, or just about any classic Woody Allen?  Mean Streets?  Fuck, Big?  Don't all movies take place in New York?  I guess LA Story doesn't.

Jamie from New York, NY: Who makes the best coffee in NY?

Me.  Or Abraço.  Though I've heard that Blue Bottle is making people weep all over Williamsburg.  Haven't been there yet.
Jamie from Fremont, CA: What’s the first thing you do when you get home from tour?

Get over a bronchial infection and try to remember what it is I DO here.

Martina from Austin, TX: How’d you get so into jujitsu?

I always loved fighting.  It's just one of those things.  But then I was trying to get into "shape" so I didn't get sick all the time on tour, and I met a dude who was a Gracie Baja BJJ guy, and we started training.  I just love it.  We're still friends, and he still trains me, though very rarely, as I'm gone all the time.  Vito from The Rapture is there way more, getting better whilst I get soft.

Nicola from Paris, FR: Have you ever thought about opening your own club or venue? What would your ideal one be like?
I’d love to open one.  My ideal would be a place in the basement of a small hotel (which I'd love to run) that didn't need to be open all the time.  I'd love to build a soundsystem into the walls so that it's just a black box with no visible vents, speakers, or anything (everything behind perforated panels) with a great, classic booth made for happiness and stupid lights. There'd need to be a bar that transitions from the dark dancing room out to a more silly lounge.  You need a silly lounge.  If it's all hi-fi and shit, then it's all bearded dudes hanging around listening to rare records.  You need a lounge and chairs and stuff like that or there will be absolutely no girls, which is only OK if it's a gay bar.  So, on nights when it's gay, then fine.  Otherwise?  No.  Though the ideal is that it's always mixed.

Danny from Chicago, IL: Who came up with the idea for the “Drunk Girls” video? And what’s with the pandas?

Spike and I did.  The more I think about it, the more I realize things were Spike's idea.  But I think that's his genius.  He's just standing there and you think you have an idea, but really he put it into your mind with his mind control computer. Oh, and pandas are nuts.  Talented, but nuts.

Casey from Los Angeles, CA: When you were recording This Is Happening in the mansion, what was with the white-clothing mandate?

No good reason.  I thought it would be funny.  And look awesome.  Both predictions turned out to be totally right.  Plus, I love a shitty idea that you just totally go 100% with.

Anna from Los Angeles, CA: Why did you title the album, This is Happening?
It's what we kept saying all the time.  Like, you walk in and there's this huge mansion with a giant flag on the ceiling, and someone hands you the keys and says, "See you in 3 months."  How do you NOT look at your friend with feigned calm and say, "Well, I guess THIS is happening."

Alex from Wayne, NJ: Is this really the last LCD album, or are you on some Jay-Z lies?
Jay-Z and I have so, so much in common, except for this.  I'm getting out of the business of being a professional rock dude in a professional rock band. We'll keep doing things as LCD here and there, but I need to hang out more.


What we’d like to know:

What was the first album, cassette, CD, or iTunes song you purchased?

Yes, The Yes Album

What was the name of your first band and, if applicable, their first record?
First band: "The Mystery Meats." No record.  Though there was a tape called "Bug in My Beer."  I was 12.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Ramones at City Gardens in Trenton in something like 1983 or 84.

What's your favorite band T-shirt?

The Smiths "Meat Is Murder" shirt I had.
What is your favorite album cover?

That's too hard.  I love so many for such different reasons.  Concert by The Cure?  The first Suicidal Tendencies record?  The first Suicide record?

What song makes you dance?

“Give It Up/Turn It Loose.”
What song is your guilty pleasure?

I don't feel guilt about pleasure, really, but some people might frown on how much I like The Sisters of Mercy.

If you could meet any musician dead or alive, who would it be?

Jarvis Cocker.  He seems nice and lives in Paris sometimes.  Maybe I could use his apartment there when I visit.

Have you or any of your band mates ever been a member of a fan club?

Not me, and I seriously doubt any of the others were.

Name 3 bands we should be listening to right now.

OMD, Chrome Hoof, and Planningtorock.
We always ask that you list 10 albums that you’re into and what you like about them. Care to divulge?

Shit.  I hate that question.  I suck at it.  Can I skip it?  I just don't listen to much when I'm on tour!