Pharrell Williams, the host of ARTST TLK, has recently conducted a very educational 45-minute interview with Daniel Lanois, the three-time Grammy Award recipient and man who Rolling Stone dubbed “the most important record producer to emerge from the 80’s”, that we at Freshnessmag.com highly suggest checking out.
(There’s even a nude lady thrown into the interview, just for good measure. Check out frame 30:00.)
As both musicians share a sublime, synesthetic relationship with sound, the conversation that transpires proves itself to be a fascinating study of how Lanois interprets the projection of sound within different spaces. For Lanois, music is tangible, needing the right energy and ambiance to be released and recorded properly from the subject musician. Theories of how to reach “the moment of strike”, how to compartmentalize beats from his “beat orphanage”, and how to combine advances in technology with older sound modulation machines in his “laboratory” are all discussed in euphonic, intelligent colloquy.
According to Lanois, he trained his ear to become sensitive to the aspects of recorded sound by experimenting in an old library, devoting each room to a different sound production. Such an unconventional method of learning thus lead Lanois to work with such talents as U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lou Harris, and Willy Nelson.
When conversing about music production, it’s as if Lanois’ passion for music is fixed into his genetic being.
“I visualize sound. I can never get away from it,” he says.
Lanois’ influence on the behind-the-scenes production has proved indispensable in creating that lush, ambient sound that fill our ears everyday. Williams puts it best when he says to Lanois at one point, “Imagine how many lives you’ve changed from that laboratory [in which you’ve created music].” Mos def. Lanois is a source of cultural inspiration that the world is lucky to have.