I made it pretty clear that I wouldn’t like my voice to be in there or anybody else’s voice in there, which is why it’s at a church. Not because it’s some sort of a fault line or something, but because I just felt like this space was more than it could really manage. I’m the first one in, obviously, so the rehearsal space is what’s there. After that, I have to put in another room, a full studio. They still have to take down a section of wall, but I’ve gotten rid of most of it. I’ve worked with them a lot, so if there’s any change, it’s more for me. I might not even think about that with them. That’s what I was always doing, literally for a record or another record. When I started making music, I was thinking about other things. I wouldn’t have wanted to do something when I was just a kid and also a boy.
In a blog post, you refer to your mentor Andy Warhol and say he’s “the total artist – the original expressionist. He gave himself for free and so to ‘give something back’ he came up with a system for having his work distributed – you know, prints, photographs. Which seems so stupid in retrospect, but he had a vision that just seemed completely logical.”
I have been inspired by him in many ways. He was one of my first teachers, probably. He was my mentor. I was seven or eight. He worked at the gallery Magic Light Pictures, which is now the C.W. Post School of Art.
He was also very ambitious as an artist. He always wanted to be the artist everybody wanted to be. He never saw himself as not being an artist. He was very true to himself. He was the total artist, but he’s the total artist that was never able to see the bigger picture.
The artists in my loft, I work with them because we work together on my production company in Los Angeles, and a lot of these guys work in a different way, which is very collaborative, so my production company helps them get work done. I think my life feels a little bit like a dream, or the center of my universe.
In that building next door is Julie Rinaldi, an artist who I respect and I admire a lot and who’s very smart and she’s working on a lot of other projects besides that. She and my wife helped her to get her space in this building, which is where she lives. I don’t live in that building, although my wife does. When Julie and I first started talking about this situation, I kept saying, “Why the hell not do it with her and with a different artist?”
The building is up in the East Village where Robert Rauschenberg did [his] graffiti exhibition and Andy Warhol did his [famous print] “The Index of the Kino Society.” I’m kind of obsessed with that place. I lived here for two and a half years of my childhood. It was a huge part of my life. I remember having parties there at my grandmother’s place and I remember the feeling of the space and the barber shop and the ferris wheel, all these things that were in this building. I’m proud to be able to give this space to people to celebrate their art and start their careers.
I’ve also become very close with my real-estate agent Paul, who is amazing at that. You know, we went to Limelight Studios, which had been the default headquarters for New York nightclubs for 35 years. [Now] it’s just his office. He gave me that space. It was crazy and ridiculous and funny and great at the same time.