What was the first thing that turned you on artistically?
Probably my piano teachers. I was taught by pretty young teachers who themselves were students. They had an intensity and passion for their own artistic journey that was still very fresh.
You’ve talked about Bach as a favourite.
I like the melodic quality of that music, that’s also very rhythmic. If you look at someone like Mozart or Beethoven, they’re constantly changing tempos, whereas with Bach it’s much more like rock music because it’s locked to a beat.
What was the first piece of art you made?
Aged seven or eight I made this big papier‑mâché Easter bunny. It was pretty tall, maybe three foot. We still have it.
Is your on-stage show ‘performance art’?
Playing a show, there are certain physical techniques that result in this feeling of excitement and energy, for me and hopefully everybody else there. I never really like that idea of ‘performance art’ for what I’m doing.
The promo video for your upcoming book, The Party Bible, shows you sharpening knives, pumping iron… Does this reflect your creative process?
Well at times it has been painful. Not so much with writer’s block, but almost the opposite – there’s so much to write about. Sometimes doing sit-ups or something physical will help you focus.
You’ve covered J-Pop and music from the Gundam series. What drew you to them?
The guy I worked with at Universal in Japan, a long-time friend, he’s obsessed with Gundam. He’d see a new Gundam figure at a toy store, or DVD, and tell me about it. So many franchises, like Transformers, were inspired by that early Japanese animation. I’ve always appreciated their entertainment industry’s focus and their ability to amplify ideas to extremes.
Do you serenade your wife?
Oh yeah, I sing her songs. We sing together. A lot of nonsense songs. They’re my favourite songs to sing around the house; making up songs, finding funny words or a phrase that maybe doesn’t mean anything but sounds good and feels good to say.