Courtney Taylor-Taylor recently Tweeted “Wow I’ve bann swamped. Didn’t think I’d do a lot of interviews for a band that ended in ’78.” The Dandy Warhols frontman recently “resurrected” the work of One Model Nation, a band that existed between the years 1969 and 1977… or really more like existed in his head for the past decade. One Model Nation are Ralf X, Karl Arte, Wolfgang, and Sebastian Schell, four hyper-fashionable German revolutionaries in the form of a Post-Punk, Proto-Industrial band set on undermining, terrorizing, and dismantling Western capitalism, which had recently set up shop at the epicenter of German popular culture.
Out this coming Tuesday, January 31st, is One Model Nation’s first-ever compilation album, Totalwerks Vol 1 (1969 – 1977) on The End Records. Along with the album, a graphic novel, drawn by Jim Rugg, illustrating the band’s final days, will hit shelves the same day. Until then, you can check out the Dan-Berry-animated music video. I recently chatted with Courtney about the past, present, and future of One Model Nation.
Izzy Cihak: What was the initial inspiration for a project of this nature and what attracted you to the medium of the graphic novel?
Courtney Taylor-Taylor: Well the nature came afterwards in this case. We first wrote a truly bad screenplay that was like a Hip-Hop movie but with a German band set in 70s Germany. I tend to make things that I wish other people would make and hopefully people who are way better at it than me but, as usual, I had to do it myself. Anyhoo, I ended up writing on a screenwriting program that I did not understand so it ended up being more like a play. I asked Mike Allred to give it a read and it was his idea, of course, to make a GN version.
IC: How do you think fans of the Dandys will respond (or have responded) to One Model Army. There are definitely certain sounds found on Totalwerks that aren’t a million miles from the Dandys.
CT: I’m not sure which sounds are not a million miles from the Dandy Warhols. To me they have nothing in common and this may be mainly because I had very little to do with the OMN music. I hit some bicycle frames and an old iron chair that could produce three distinct notes but, at the end of the day, “Transmission” is my only song on the record.
IC: Have any of the real-life characters that find themselves in the story given you their thoughts on the project?
CT: Constantly. The band is the band and it functions almost exactly like the book. Sebastian is in charge but his name is Elliott (Barnes).
IC: What was your inspiration for the characters? I find the relationship between Florian and his father to be quite interesting and well-developed.
CT: Thank you. A lot of their character is just what my friends are, whom I modeled them after. The Sebastian’s father character came from a need for him to escape the madness and meet with a mentor character. The history came from a lot of stories I heard during my decade of going to Germany and asking about those times.
IC: You worked on this project with Donovan Leitch. How did that relationship arise?
CT: When he was playing Hedwig off-Broadway in New York I ran into him on the street, having had just seen it, coincidentally, the night before. He was jaw-droppingly brilliant and I told him so. Well apparently that’s a good way to make friends, cuz we spent a lot of time hanging out for a few years and came up with this idea somewhere in the middle of it.
IC: Are there any plans to do some sort of a live incarnation of the band, or is that why you set them as having existed several decades ago?
CT: Exactly. I’m pretty busy and tour is a huge wind-up, so we’re thinkin’ that we may just do DJ gigs and see how much paid vacation that route might provide.
IC: Are there any contemporary, non-fictional bands that you would consider to be protégés of One Model Nation? Atari Teenage Riot and Refused come to mind.
CT: Wow, how do you know about the Refused? The ATR reference is pretty spot on, although wanting OMN to be somehow vaguely 70sish kept us from going as far as they do with the noise and general “full on-ness” sonically. I do tend to want to like Electronica, but I am disappointed more often than not these days. We’re gonna do a test DJ gig at a local record store (Music Millenium) in a couple weeks and that should give us a chance to really dig into Jon’s (Fell) and Elliott’s music collections. They’re the guys who are deep into it.