Daniel Huffman, known better as New Fumes to fans of magnificently messed-up psych rock, could never been accused of being lazy or even predictable. Whether he's opening up for legends such as My Bloody Valentine, hanging out with his buddies in the Flaming Lips or creating all sorts of mind-bending designs for various vinyl record pressings, Huffman is nothing if not intriguingly prolific.
Perhaps a tad more expected, though, is seeing New Fumes appear on the upcoming album by fellow psychedelic oddities Stardeath and White Dwarfs.
Given Huffman's artistic agility, it's only natural to see the New Fumes name pop up in all sort of areas, both odd and fitting. (Perhaps odd is fitting for Huffman, but let us not digress.) Just a few weeks ago, New Fumes opened up a show for banjo-loving roots act the O's, plus there's the prospect of his still-nascent musical project, Birdflower, a collaboration with Brooke Kelty, which will release its first album sometime in the near future.
Coming next Tuesday, however, is Wastoid, the new record from Oklahoma's Stardeath and the band's best effort to date. Huffman most certainly helped in making that the case. New Fumes is featured on one of the record's absolute stand-out tracks, the menacing, entrancing "Hate Me Tomorrow."
Many around this part of the country are familiar with the experimental outfit, thanks not only to the group's close regional proximity but also to the fact that the band's lead singer, Dennis Coyne, is the nephew of Flaming Lips' front man Wayne Coyne. The oddball audio fruit doesn't fall far on that family tree, it seems.
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Huffman caught the ears and imagination of the Lips' Coyne several years ago, and as a result, a friendship bloomed, complete with Huffman touring and recording first with the Lips and now with Stardeath. Huffman says that being featured on this new album was an organic development, due to his friendship with the psychedelic family Coyne.
"I spend a lot of time in Oklahoma hanging out with the Stardeath and Flaming Lips people," Huffman explains. "We end up at Wayne's Pink Floor studio more times than not, working on a variety of projects. One day I was there with Dennis and Matt [Duckworth] from Stardeath and one of them said, 'Hey, we have this song and you should play something on it.' I just plugged in my stuff and started playing. It went really quick, and I think Wayne was there too."
Stardeath and White Dwarfs will be touring extensively to promote their enjoyable new album and though Huffman's featured on the record and a friend of the group, it's not a given that he'll be squaring off months of calendar space to head well past the Red River with his friends. At least not yet, anyway. Remember, Huffman has plenty of multi-colored irons in his own fire, regardless of what his talented friends may have going on, which is great news in and of itself.
"I don't know if I'll be touring with them or not for the new record," he says. "They have asked my other project, Birdflower, to open up for them at their record release party in August. I'm sure I'll open up some shows for them at some point, but I don't have any solid plans at the moment. I'm trying to finish up my records."