Andrew W.K. returns to Des Moines Oct. 17, bringing both his collection of party-hard songs and a positive mindset back to Iowa.
W.K.'s the keynote speaker at Music University, an annual music conference made possible by the Des Moines Music Coalition aimed at sharing ideas, art and resources to harness professional growth in music.
This year's conference features an array of classes and speakers from all facets of the music world, including sessions titled "How Are You Promoting Yourself?," "Getting Booked At The Next Level," "How to Sell Something People Don’t Know They Want" and more. Sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. with showcases at Vaudeville Mews and the Des Moines Social Club slated for after the conference wraps.
"This is something very special," W.K. said. "It means a lot to me not just to be asked to speak at a school, but a music school specifically, because that's been the center of everything I've gotten to do in life. It all started with piano lessons."
Andrew W.K.'s career has evolved quite a bit from those childhood piano lessons. W.K. found mainstream success with his 2001 LP "I Get Wet," which included popular tracks such as "Party Hard" and "She Is Beautiful." Since establishing a name for himself in music, he's also branched out to public speaking, writing a column for Village Voice, appearing on shows hosted by Larry King and more.
He carries a self-described "energized enthusiasm about life itself." He said everything he does is a means to an end to feel excited about life. This idea to which he's referring is described often on his social media accounts and by followers as "partying." W.K. often sends out tweets engaging his followers in what partying can be.
"PARTY HARD SUNDAY TIP: Reach out to an old, long-lost friend, and tell them you love them and wish them joy," an Andrew W.K. tweet from Oct. 11 read.
He said how each individual parties is up to that person.
"[It's] a kind of power that comes from within yourself, but also seems to come from outside yourself," W.K. said. "It's sort of the feeling of being alive. The best thing that I can do is remind someone that they have this feeling in them, too. We can help each other remember that. It's all happening inside us."
What's to be expected from W.K.'s lecture? That's unclear.
"For better or worse, I don't usually prepare at all unless I've been asked to very specifically talk on a certain topic in detail," he said. "I've found I tend to do better, personally, going in with as little preparation as possible. And that goes for pretty much everything I do. There's definitely downfalls that come from that, but it's usually worth the risk. What may seem like a downfall, or awkward moment or a mistake from not preparing is sometimes a window in another area — an accident that pulls something out you might not have found if you were sticking to a script."
W.K. will headline one of two showcases happening in Des Moines the evening after the conference. He'll play with Lipstick Homicide at Vaudeville Mews. The Des Moines Social Club showcase, set to take place in the Basement after the Mews show, will feature Green Death, Jack Lion and MarKaus.
When asked, he showed enthusiasm to return to Vaudeville Mews, where he just played last May and also visited in 2013.
"There's just something very special about that place," he said of Vaudeville Mews. "I like the up-close, raw quality of that place and I think people really love that venue for what it is. I'm really excited to come back there again."
Registration for the conference is open at music-university.org.