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Eric Wareheim on How the New LCD Soundsystem Holiday Special Came Together

He shares his favorite LCD Soundsystem shows as well
Eric Wareheim LCD Soundsystem
(Credit Amazon Music)

A little over a week ago, LCD Soundsystem announced they’d be the subject of a new holiday special. Not just that, but it was to be released on December 22. The project is shepherded by Eric Wareheim, who is playing LCD frontman James Murphy and directing. The cast features a murderer’s row of who’s who, with Macaulay Culkin, Christine Ko, and Aparna Nancherla as the band. As for the special itself (titled All My Friends after the LCD song), it’s a ’90s-styled sitcom, which, if you grew up in the era of TGIF, teeters between the fun and the corny. According to Wareheim, that was the intent.

Backing up for a second, All My Friends came together at a lightning speed that’s pretty uncommon for Hollywood productions. “James [Murphy] gave me a call less than a month ago, he had this idea to do a holiday special, but to do it very special and unique,” Wareheim explains. “He had this idea, the sitcom element to it, and since I just made a sitcom called Beef House for Adult Swim, I was like, “I got this.'”

That he did.

We spoke with Wareheim in more detail about the special, what it was like working with Culkin and his favorite LCD Soundsystem concerts. Tune in to tonight on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch or Prime Video at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST.

SPIN: What were some of the initial talks with James like for this?
Eric Wareheim: After he told me about the sitcom element, we proceeded to talk about the different band members and characters. James was really particular about he wanted this heartwarming kind of holiday special, like a sitcom that wasn’t too good. Most sitcoms aren’t very good but he was very down the middle, which I thought was so funny.

This came together in just a month?
It was really quick, but I could be wrong about this. Amazon and the band probably were planning a little bit before that. But it was one of the fastest things I ever made. I flew out to New York shot the show came back to L.A. And then in two days, we shot the sitcom. And that was like last week. So we’ve been working around the clock to get it out.

Is this the fastest you’ve ever worked on a project like this before?
I’ve made some commercial projects, like Super Bowl commercials that need to be turned off super quickly. So it felt like that. I have my team and my production company, a staff of people that I know and trust, and they just knew how to execute my vision perfectly. So without all those people, it would have been impossible.

How long have you known James?
I would say almost 15 years now. It’s been a long time. And we really bonded over a love for wine. When I lived in New York shooting Master of None, we would hang out a lot drink wine and hang out at the Four Horsemen. We actually shot at the Four Horsemen because we love James. And then I’ve been a fan of LCD Soundsystem forever. I’ve seen them a gazillion times and in many cities. We’re also in a movie called The Comedy, which I kind of roped him into doing, which I thought was really cool. So we’ve been friends. But this is the largest project we’ve ever done together officially.

How involved was James with the making of this?
He was very involved. I mean, if you know, his music, or his record label, he’s a genius. When I make stuff, it’s usually that people give me a lot of creative freedom, and I do whatever I want. But with someone you respect, like James, I really took his feedback. He went through all of the bandmembers and described them. Tyler is this kind of person and Al was this kind of a person and let’s find people that look like them or kind of act like them. So I wrote the script by myself and I kind of came up with these really silly ideas of self-competence.

All My Friends LCD Soundsystem
(Credit Amazon Music)

What is the show like?
Playing James was the highlight of my career. I stayed up the entire time just working on his look, mannerisms. I’m kidding, but it was fun that some of the characters who looked like the band some didn’t. I think it’s a great time capsule of how everyone looks right now. He [Murphy] said, “James should be the boring character.” He’s like the dad, but doesn’t really have any jokes. It was really fun to play someone like that.

What was it like working with the king of Christmas, Macaulay Culkin?
I didn’t know him before this project. And he just got it. Like, we got it and he was so willing to play the emotional character that has a lot of drama. And he plays it so well. He doesn’t play gaggy. He played it very real. It comes out so authentic and awesome, and sloppy at the same time. It had all the elements of the perfect character.

So is the title,All My Friends, your favorite LCD song?
“Someone Great” is my all-time favorite song. But then they opened with the song “On Repeat,” which is an older song and that’s kind of… because I’ve been editing this thing day and night for the last week, but that song really hits me hard. I really like that one.

What are your favorite LCD Soundsystem shows you’ve seen?
I saw them at Terminal 5 I think when they were going to break up [in 2011], which was unbelievably moving. Then I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of times and Hot Chip opened. Just an insane venue to see anything. hose three were like, very powerful. And I saw them just a couple of weeks ago at Brooklyn Steel and they shredded. There’s not many bands that I’m dancing to the entire time. I can’t think of many bands that kind of get me moving like that. They’re just the masters.