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The L: It’s a lot of industry people, but regular people can get tickets, too.
RL: Oh. Industry showcases make me so nervous.
The L: Well, the good news is that most of the industry people are drunk. Even for the day shows. [RL still looks a little worried.] Are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing?
RL: Hopefully we’ll be able to see some bands. I mean, we’re doing two shows a day so I don’t know how much time we’re going to have. I don’t really know who’s playing. I just got a timetable and all the people I want to see seem to be playing at the same time.
The L: That’s always the problem. Who did you have in mind?
RL: Probably Mee-ya, is it? Or Maya? M.I.A.? LCD Sound System is playing at 1am, but I have to be at sound check at 9am tomorrow. I don’t know who’s playing for the rest of the weekend. Does anyone know or do you just find out on the day?
The L: It’s all in this booklet. Would you like to see it?
RL: For the whole weekend? Really? Oh, but we haven’t got wristbands or anything to get us into the shows.
The L: Umm, somebody at your label should have them. Maybe you should ask around. [A film crew shuffles by behind you, and Lissack leans in closer, nearly tucking his head into your shoulder to avoid them.] What made you pick Vice anyway?
RL: We wanted to go with a smaller label because we wanted to come over here [to America] and do this properly — tour and work our way up. We didn’t want to be one of those British bands who comes over and gets their picture on the cover of every magazine before they’ve even played a show. When I was younger and would see things like that — you get put off straightaway. We’ve been getting a little bit of that anyway, but it’s not what we wanted.
The New Zealanders are ready for Lissack. He smiles shyly and says he’ll look for you at the show. Jittery Okereke seems too worked up for another interview, so you just thank him on your way out and ask him if he’s looking forward to any shows while he’s in town.
“Do you know who else is playing?” he asks. Shouldn’t someone have debriefed these kids? Surrounded by Levi’s apparel and
kept in the dark about this very American music fest, this band has a lot more in common with the Soviet Bloc than anyone could have imagined.
Now Okereke’s freaking out over your schedule booklet — he can’t believe that M.I.A., ESG, Death from Above, and LCD Sound System are all in one place. He starts to write up his own schedule when his publicist signals that it’s time to go. He asks if I’ll be at their show and when I say that I will, he smiles for the first time. You can’t figure out why they didn’t choose a happier shot for those posters — the kid lights up the room.