The Black Keys | Audacy Check In | 4.5.24

Audacy Check-In

04-04-2024 • 23 minutos

The Black Keys joined host Kevan Kenney at the Hard Rock Hotel New York, as we celebrate the release of their 2024 album Ohio Players, getting into some details and inspiration behind the release, including some of their favorite collabs.

Getting straight into The Black Keys’ new album, Ohio Players, which features a number of collaborators, Dan admits, “it took us until this point to really be able to feel comfortable with ourselves, to get into a room and to be able to really collaborate. I think when we started, we were just kind of insecure, that was part of it. The other part was there was no one around us, really very few musicians that were interested in the same thing.”

“Now that we got to this place,” he continues, “we reached out to a couple of people on the last album, some friends of ours, Greg Cartwright from the Oblivions, and our friend Angelo, and it went so well that we just decided to look into the Rolodex a little deeper. The first person we thought of was Beck and we invited him to the studio with us. The very first day we cut ‘This is Nowhere,’ and that just set it going… it took us 20 years to get to the point where we could really collaborate truly. This is the first time we've really dipped our toes in it… and we did those actually right before ‘Dropout Boogie’ came out… and then we went on tour. When that wrapped in the fall of 2022 we worked on the record kind of nonstop from November through June of 2023.”

OasisNoel Gallagher also makes an appearance on the new record, a “surreal” experience says Patrick after meeting only briefly in a small studio with very minimal equipment. “We wrote a song with him in a couple hours, and then we went back two days in a row. We end up getting three songs with him… We were writing songs from scratch with him… we could have made complete fools of ourselves and if anybody would let the world know what bozos we are, it would be Noel Gallagher.”

“We've had a lot of practice [working with other artists], we just never really applied it too much to The Keys for whatever reason,” Patrick explains. “Once we started doing it, he had opened up this whole new world. Because it's an exciting thing when you bring someone into the fold, you can get, more than the sum of its parts, which I think on some of these tracks that we did with Noel [Gallagher] and Beck and Dan the Automator, and Greg Cartwright and Angelo and Lil Noid and Juicy J… I think that happened. Which is what you're looking for; which is why music is so cool, because it is a collaborative art form.”

Their track with Juicy J for example stems from being “lifelong Hip Hop fans. We grew up in the era where Hip Hop was ‘top of the pops’ in America,” says Dan. “We played The Ghetto Boys at our middle school dance. I mean, it's like a part of us. And you know, we did do that ‘BlakRoc’ album with Damon Dash which was really amazing and influenced us hugely, especially going into ‘Brothers,’ which we did right after that. But over the last year, while we were making the record, I was really getting heavily into Memphis underground rap… it was only sold on cassette and it was like old school, like ‘90s… And Juicy J was a big part of that. Three Six Mafia is a big part of that, Lil Noid who Juicy J found when he was 16 was a big part of that.”

Switching lanes abruptly, shock rocker Alice Cooper was also part of their latest sessions. “We made a lot of songs,” says Patrick. “We finished maybe 29 and we made a decision to hold a couple of the songs back, like that Alice Cooper song. It's called ‘Stay In Your Grave,’ we wrote it with Greg Cartwright and it's just kind of like a perfect Halloween song.”

“There's a character in it who's essentially the devil,” Dan adds. “So, we're like, ‘Wow, wouldn't it be amazing if we get Alice Cooper to voice this character?’”

“I think we're gonna hold it until closer to the season of the witch.”

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The Black Keys’ new album, Ohio Players, featuring the previously released single "Beautiful People (Stay High)" and more, is out now via Nonesuch Records. Their upcoming North American trek will officially kick off in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 17, with stops planned in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Nashville, New York, Boston, Chicago, and more before wrapping in Detroit in early November. The Head and the Heart will join them as support on most dates. Tickets are on sale now.

Words by Joe Cingrana Interview by Kevan Kenney