Peer 2 Peer: The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Nell Smith on Creating Their Nick Cave Covers Album

Coyne also hilariously recounts the time he told Coldplay that their unreleased song "Yellow" was "kinda boring"


The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Nell Smith

    Everyone loves an unlikely friendship. Wayne Coyne, frontman of The Flaming Lips, has been working for some time with newcomer Nell Smith, a singer-songwriter, vocalist, and longtime fan of the band. The two joined Consequence recently for an installment of our creator-to-creator interview series, Peer 2 Peer.

    The two know each other quite well, as Smith has been working with the rock group both in a mentor-mentee capacity, as well as on a project of Nick Cave covers. The final result, Where the Viaduct Looms, will arrive this Friday, November 26th.

    In this episode of Peer 2 Peer, the two chat about the origins of their creative partnership, their upcoming joint album, and navigating the recording process. Watch the video above; a transcription of their conversation follows.


    Nell Smith: What’s up!

    Wayne Coyne: Here we are, I know! It’s weird to know that someone is listening and watching…

    Smith: Yeah, it’s kinda awkward, but it’s okay.

    Coyne: So — how do you feel about it now? I haven’t looked at what the reaction to “The Ship Song” has been, we’ve just been doing stuff and all that. But what’s your feeling?

    Smith: So I got a lot of positive feedback from it, I’ve heard lots and lots of people really like it, and I know that with the Bella Union thing, they’ve made a cassette and a digital release that you can buy on their website.


    Coyne: Perfect, yeah! Those seem like the things that we wanted to be like… we can put some of these things in place, and then we’d know we’ve got some cool stuff happening. I guess for me I thought it was gonna take a little bit longer.

    Smith: Yeah, it’s just kinda been like… right after, we talked about it on a Zoom call, so we were thinking we could make a cassette and a couple weeks later we were like oh, this is your whole website! And there’s a cassette on there! And people can buy it, they can pre-order!

    Coyne: I’m the same way, I always think it’s gonna take like… you know it’s like the stuff with you and I, it takes a while to set it up. But we’ve got the music and the videos and everything done. Ya know? All the hard stuff is done.

    Smith: Yeah, it already is, but it just needs to fall into place, sort of.

    Coyne: And you know, we’ve done Bella Union forever, so I’m so glad we’re connected and doing stuff. They’re great, they know what they’re doing.

    Smith: Yeah, I’ve been talking to some of the people that work on the social media side, so they’ve been helping me decide what my image on social media is gonna be more like, so they’re helping me with posts and stuff.


    Coyne: Those sort of things are just… what do you do? I know, it’s like…

    Smith: Yeah, you obviously wanna post if something cool happens, but it’s just like, if I’m not posting enough…

    Coyne: It’s so awkward, I know, I hate those sort of things. It’s like you have to sit there all day and you’re monitoring your own stuff, which is…

    Smith: Yeah.

    Coyne: But you seem to be doing pretty good at that! I imagine there’s probably 10,000 people that are gonna say, “I think this is the best thing ever,” but there’s 10 people that say, “Oh I hate this.”


    Smith: That’s sort of what it’s been like. I went on YouTube the other day looking through the comments and the views and stuff on The Ship Song video, and there was bunches and bunches of nice and comments and only two that were a little bit like “We don’t like this” but I think the people that comment bad things, it’s like… why don’t you just leave it? It’s such a waste of time.

    Coyne: And those stick with you! They do. It’s like, you can hear a hundred, “Yay this is great,” and the one boo, it’s like, “Who was that?”

    Smith: Yeah, let’s investigate, I need to check who this is. No…

    Coyne: I think that’s a good thing, ya know, I think you’d have to be a very egotistical, crazy person to not wonder what negative things are being said. It does mess with you, it does stick in your mind and you wish it didn’t happen but it’s like, who cares?


    Smith: They’re just sitting behind the keyboard. I don’t really mind what they think. It’s not my problem.

    Coyne: When I hear the song and I watch the video, I’m completely blown away! You look like you really know what you’re doing!