Unknown Mortal Orchestra on Drugs, Monkeys and Courtney Love Tweets

FUSE TV - Unknown Mortal Orchestra on Drugs, Monkeys and Courtney Love Tweets

It's been a weird 18 months for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the psych-pop trio that anonymously released tracks from their 2011 eponymous debut before widespread critical acclaim thrust them in the indie spotlight. Portland, OR-via-New Zealand frontman Ruban Nielson had already released three albums with the shambolic noise-rock group the Mint Chicks. But with UMO, Nielson traded in abrasiveness for pop trippiness, absorbing the Beatles and early Pink Floyd and refracting them through his own lo-fi lens.

We've already gushed over UMO's SXSW set. Now, Nielson speaks to Fuse about monkey obsessions, celebrity Twitter endorsements and why he's done fighting with "drunken idiots."

It says in your bio that you wrote the new album while “fearing for both your sanity and health.” How hyperbolic is your publicist?

[Laughs] I just wore myself out.  Me and [UMO member] Jakob [Portrait] have been in the band since the beginning and we went into it with this thing like, “Everybody likes these songs. Let’s start a band and go out on the road and say ‘Yes’ to everything and see what happens.” So we did that and it was really fun and then it got too much fun and then it got just too heavy.

Can you define “too much fun”?

We’d take three days off and then go out for another two months and then come home for four days and go back out. We never got off the thing. There’s a thing that happens to you on tour; your metabolism changes. Your thinking changes. Really weird stuff starts to seem really normal. People think that with musicians, the whole sex and drugs thing is something like, “Oh, let’s get this going!” But it’s something that becomes normal; it’s something you need to do to make it all make sense. Otherwise, you’re like, “I’m just playing music out here and sitting in a van. None of this makes sense." It’s a weird lifestyle.

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