Canadian multi-instrumentalist and “studio rat” Daniel Lanois occupies a place in popular music like no other. He sat at the summit of the music industry in the dizzy heights of the 1980s, producing and mixing for acts like U2 and Peter Gabriel, and has the wealth to show for it: an old Buddhist temple in Toronto, a mansion in L.A. where he “just hangs out”, and a place in Jamaica which is “where I hang my hat”, a ’72 Cadillac that “you can put about twelve people in,” and a collection of studio gear that many would kill for.
But before and after his mainstream success, he was an experimenter, a magician with texture, whose great industry break came when Brian Eno recruited him to help with his ambient excursions. Lanois’s production sheen and haunting pedal steel guitar are all over Eno’s 80s works, and as such have seeped into underground music from multiple directions, feeling as relevant as ever in the current climate. And Lanois is still hungry to see what his studio will do.
We’ll admit it, despite decent press, we slept on his album from last year, Flesh and Machine – but when we finally discovered it, we were hooked, and when a last minute opportunity came to check out his show and grab a few words we jumped at it. As well as happily discussing 808s, Venetian Snares, Lee “Scratch” Perry and the necessity of having the right tablets for the job, Lanois also let us have a couple of tracks from his band’s soundcheck, recorded and mixed by Alex Krispin, which we’re happy to share here.
JOE MUGGS: So…. you’re touring your solo album.
Yes, an album called Flesh and Machine. It’s an instrumental record, and it represents some of my experimental sonics. I wake up every day imagining what the future of music might be, and so I go in the studio thinking that I might come up with part of the formula on a good day.
And how’s it translating to the live stage?
Pretty good. On the live stage, I brought part of the studio to the stage this time, so I have an eight-track on the laptop, and also I have the prepared tracks, and I have my echoes timed already from the studio, so I can do a Jamaican-type dub, time the drum to the echo, and I get a [mimics echo] “pewww pewww pewww”, as you might have heard in the performance there. And then I have a couple of samplers up there, whereby I can catch some of the sounds that go by, and my sampling machine allows me to then overdub on top of a sample, so they can get quite unexpected in result [laughs] – sometimes great, sometimes not. When I don’t get a good one, I just shut it off right away.
But it also leads to some quite complex patterns building up with your echoes and the sequencers and so on, and so you have to have a fairly tight gang of musicians up there to play along to the electronic effects.
Yeah, we have some talented folks up there. We have young Kyle Crane on the drums. I heard him in a local bar around the corner from my studio in Los Angeles. They have a little Sunday night jazz ensemble there, and he was part of that, and I was very taken by him, so I just invited him to come on the road with us.
He looks like he’s not even breaking a sweat on some of those songs we saw you practicing.
Yeah, it’s remarkable. He’s got a very light touch but he’s fast. And he’s very accomplished, so he’s one of these whizzkids that was playing that well as a teenager.
Above: Daniel Lanois and band live in London: a film by Adam CK Vollick
And the other guys onstage are switching between bass and keyboards…
Yeah, and Jim Wilson plays bass and sings with me, and we do a couple of vocal numbers. He’s a great singer and a good all-arounder, so it’s a trio, really. And Dangerous Wayne is up there, and he’s helping me with my switching, and making sure that as we move from one number to the next that we don’t have too big a gap in the set, you know? But it’s a lot of fun because even though the templates are fixed up by tempo and events – arrangement of events – the toppings within those sections are completely improvised, so it gets pretty crazy sometimes. Depending on my mood, it can go way up there – I’m sure you heard a couple of screeching car sounds and some trains going by [laughs]. It’s pretty wild; it gets wild.
And it’s this theme of sonic exploration that we really want to talk about, because you have been involved with, well, exactly that, since the late seventies.
That’s right, yeah. I started working with Eno in ’79. In fact, I just saw Eno today. I stopped into his studio here in London. Great to see him; he’s always breaking new ground in sonics, so he demonstrated some of the things he was excited by today. We did a bunch of ambient records together in Canada in the eighties, and that was really a wonderful journey for me, because I was highly skilled, but I was not as directed as Eno was. So he came in with this philosophy about ambient music, and I just jumped in there with him on that, and we did about four years of that, so it was a very fruitful chapter, and a great, steady keel for me.
“Eno said, ‘Okay, the first thing I want to do is I want to record bells for forty-five minutes nonstop.’ I said, ‘Okay, well, this is a first.’”
What’s the vibe like when you record an ambient album of that sort at that time? Are you burning incense in the studio and lying on beanbags?
No, no, no, no. There’s no incense or beanbags. We’d passed all that. No, he had heard some demos I had worked on, some very inventive demos. A couple of women went to New York and met him; they played him the demos. He said, “Wow, those sound great. Where’d you get those?” And they said, “Well, there’s a kid in Canada named Daniel Lanois.” And he said “okay,” and he called me up just out of the blue. At the time, he was making some recordings with a piano player, a very talented piano player named Harold Budd, and he had the piano recordings already, and he brought them in to Canada on 7 1/2 IPS tapes, and we transferred them to my multitrack.
And he had had acquired these strings and bells on 14th Street in New York and he said, “Okay, the first thing I want to do is I want to record bells for forty-five minutes nonstop.” I said, “Okay, well, this is a first.” And we did exactly that, and I enjoyed the discipline and how it just slowed the whole pace down for me, because I was recording a lot of different bands at the time, all kinds of punk bands, and all the lesbian bands in Toronto [laughs]. So it was really nice to enter Brian’s world, and it really slowed the heart rate down. No beanbags, no incense. We just meditated on the music itself. Yeah man.
No beanbags but vibes. Did you meet Harold Budd? Because he’s now a legend in ambient music as well. Or were you just working with his tapes?
I did meet Harold Budd. The initial record we recorded was called The Plateaux of Mirror, and then that went well – Harold Budd then came up to Canada for the next one, and that was called The Pearl, and we recorded everything in my studio for that one, including the piano. And that’s a very beautiful record, for those who haven’t heard it. The Pearl. And then we went on to another record called Apollo – Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks – and it got pretty interesting when we got to that body of work.
It was meant to be a soundtrack for a documentary about the space missions, and some of the astronauts were from Texas, so they had quite a twang to them – their accent – and there’s one track called “Deep Blue Day” that is kind of a slowed-down, spacey, western song. I said, “Brian, I’ve got my steel guitar in the closet. Let me drag that out and see if it works.” So that was the beginning of introducing the steel guitar, on that Apollo record, and that turned out to be a lovely formula. For those who might have seen the movie called Trainspotting, the track “Deep Blue Day” is in the toilet bowl scene [laughs]. Music for Toilet Bowls.
Diving after a suppository. You can’t have had that in your mind when you were making it, that a Scotsman would be swimming after a…
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s pretty funny, yeah. Bless those filmmakers.
Did you have any sense that what you were doing was groundbreaking and exciting at the time, or was it just this project?
Well, I didn’t have that sense as we were working, and I never think that way while work is going on. We just pour our hearts and souls into the work, and I realized a few years later that it was a very unique body of work. In fact, even though I had a string of pop hits in Canada as a record producer leading up to the Eno chapter, it’s that Eno work, that atmospheric and ambient work, that got me noticed by some European folks like Peter Gabriel and U2.
“It’s all bleeding together for me these days. I’m not driven by compartments very much. Not that I ever was, but I’m less than ever now.”
Which, well… you did very well out of that.
We did pretty good at it. Me and Brian, we were very synchronized at that time, philosophically, and when the chance came to work with U2, we went to Ireland and introduced all those ambient sounds to them. There’s a record that we made with them called The Unforgettable Fire. It’s quite an atmospheric and beautiful record. So that’s what we brought to the table.
And do you ever see a boundary between the kind of experimental stuff where you’re just free to do what you want and these commercial, huge-sounding, stadium fist-pumping records?
Well, it’s all bleeding together for me these days. I’m not driven by compartments very much. Not that I ever was, but I’m less than ever now. I see that people have appetites for all kind of unique approaches as listeners. People want things that are dynamic and challenging and are fresh-sounding. And I think they appreciate when something comes from the right place.
Yeah, sure — from the songs you were playing onstage today, I could hear these very traditional rock songs, then you’re into percussion textures and intense sound, and just the sonics, and then into a kind of dub reggae, slide guitar tune.
There’s a slight Jamaican slant to the numbers, and I really like that. I’ve hung my hat in Jamaica for a good twenty years now. I keep a little place in Negril, and there’s a little local bar that’s down the street from my place, and I went there late one night and Lee “Scratch” Perry was sitting next to me, and I thought, “This is a sign” [laughs]. So I fancy myself the Lee “Scratch” Perry of Quebec.
There were some elements in there, and in the new album, in fact, that touched on what John Martyn did with Lee “Scratch” Perry, funnily enough.
On his Solid Air and songs like “Big Muff,” he was working with Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Using his kind of Echoplex guitar — was John Martyn ever an influence on your sound?
Well, if it’s the John Martyn I’m thinking of — did he write “May You Never”?
Yeah, Scottish folk guy.
[sings] Yeah, yeah. I should familiarize myself with the Lee “Scratch” Perry record. I wasn’t aware of that, but I know a bit of John Martyn. Very good writer.
He lived in Jamaica as well. And you know, he was experimenting a lot with Echoplex guitars and so on, which I guess the Edge was consciously or unconsciously –
Oh, yeah, yeah – he discovered a Memory Man echo machine as a kid, and it became part of his sound, and mastered that pretty good. Yeah, I mean, it’s easy to get hooked on that Jamaican stuff, especially that old Jamaican rock ‘n’ roll. It’s just so pure and wonderful and rhythmic. So I still go back to those records now and again just to cleanse my head, you know?
“What’s nice about experimental and ambient or electronic music is you don’t need the big studios: you can work in a closet somewhere.”
And were you aware of the influence that the ambient records were having later on? I mean, you know, I’m a late-eighties, nineties kid. We all have our time when we hear the music the most, and mine was in the rave years. Going in the back rooms, people were playing those Eno records.
I was told about the wave that it created in the ambient music community, and I bumped into a lot of people that said to me, “We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing if it hadn’t been for your work with Eno on the ambient records.” And I’m very touched by that, because you never make records thinking those thoughts, you just do the best work you can, and it’s nice if it can touch hearts, and even nicer when it’s original work, and an angle that hasn’t been used before. But beyond the specifics of style, it set a certain kind of standard of expectation in my mind about originality, and we like to think that we operate under the banner of soul music – music that just feels right and comes from a truthful place.
Sure. So you didn’t really follow the electronica world?
Well, I never followed where those ambient records managed to influence others, but I’ve listened to – I’ve loved all kind of textural records that I’ve heard by other people, and it’s just nice that it just keeps evolving. And what’s nice about experimental and ambient or electronic music – it can come out of somebody’s house, in somebody’s bedroom, because you don’t need the big studios to pull that off, you know. You can work in a closet somewhere. I’m a real supporter of it, because it means that you can do it without having a lot of cash.
I mean, the other style of music that kind of was influenced by ambient and electronic music but then branched off into its own is what they call post-rock, and listening to the new record, and especially hearing the tracks onstage, it reminds me of quite a few of these purely instrumental bands that have come up in the last fifteen, twenty years. I mean, your fellow Quebecois, Godspeed You! Black Emperor – are you familiar with them?
A little bit, yes.
There’s lots of these guys where it’s just texture – texture and rhythm is all that’s important. I mean, again, do you follow any of this?
I’ve heard some of those works, but I’m not aware of the tapestry and the network that connects all the different artists together. But I’m hoping that we can get to play a few electronic festivals now, as we go more public with these wares. I might start getting some… I thought of doing a show with Venetian Snares. Are you familiar?
[Laughs] I’m familiar with Venetian Snares.
Another Canadian. We tried to set up a little show — a couple of shows in Toronto and Montreal, but I think he didn’t have a work permit for going into the States, and we were continuing in America, so we decided that we would hook back up on something else. I quite like what he does. I sent him a copy of Flesh and Machine, and he sent me a beautiful message full of compliments, and I thought that was a confidence-builder.
He’s such a funny musician because he’s come from these beginnings as making the most nihilistic, noisy, in-your-face music imaginable to just becoming more and more intricate.
He’s involved a lot of musicians, classical musicians.
I like what he’s doing with vocals now, and I like what he’s doing with the classical angle. I don’t know whether he’s actually sampling old classical records….
I’ve seen him live onstage with an opera singer, so some of the time he’s definitely using actual musicians…
Okay. Okay, great. Yeah, so I’ll have to do some shows with him.
So you’re up for playing to audiences at 4 a.m., if that’s what it takes.
Yeah, man. I’ve got the tablets, no problem [laughs].
“I have a nice studio in Toronto, an old Buddhist temple, speakers all over the place, and I like walking around to enjoy the mix.”
So I mean, if not that kind of immersion – because I’m quite surprised to hear that you’re not keeping up to date with these bands, simply from how the record sounds – where is it coming from? Where are these textures coming from?
I’ve been working with the textures and samples and my own sounds for a long, long time, and I have to admit that I’ve been in the studio so much that I’ve never considered myself part of a movement that way, you know? Maybe that’s a bad thing. There are other times when I think, well, I haven’t kept my head in the sand, and being so oblivious to what everyone else is doing has allowed me to be more unique. But I love experimental music. I mean, I got a lot of that from Eno. I was over at – as I told you – Eno’s place today, and he had a sixteen-speaker playback system.
He said, “Check this out, man,” and he let me hear a couple of tracks and they were way out there, and I was so proud of him. And nothing like I heard before, and I’ve had a multiple-speaker idea for myself back in Canada – I have a nice studio in Toronto, in an old Buddhist temple. And I have speakers all over the place. And I enjoy doing that and sending different tracks into the speakers and walking around to enjoy the mix. And Brian’s talking about doing that in a live situation, and we’re both excited about that right now.
So I said, “Listen, man, I’ve got the Brooklyn Academy of Music” – which is a beautiful hall in Brooklyn, the best one – “on hold for October 19th.” I said, “Let’s take it live, man. Let’s do a show, you and me. You can be the godfather of ambience and the adopted son.” He laughed. He’s interested. I said, “Come tonight and see if any of what we’re doing strikes your fancy, because we have lovely films as well.” We make our own films, and they’re very beautiful and they’re completely handmade, cottage-industry films, and I think people really feel that something’s coming from a resourceful place and made by a smaller team. I think people really appreciate those kind of efforts.
So if he likes some of these films – I know [he might], because Brian makes good films too, and we could do a tandem show in Brooklyn, and then I said, “Then we’ll do the world tour.” He said, “I don’t know about the world tour.” But I said, “No problem; I’ll get somebody to do your laundry” [laughs].
Have you had problems with Brian’s laundry before?
That’s why he quit touring in the seventies, because he said he couldn’t handle — but he was wearing wings and everything in those days.
Washing his own wings.
I think he had just come offstage, and he was soaking wet, and if you haven’t got somebody looking after your wardrobe, the next stop could be a stinky stop.
So it’s interesting that you talk about resourcefulness. A lot of people in your position who have had huge success – you’ve got your own studio, a place in Jamaica, all that – don’t have something to kick against, and a lot of people kind of relax into just making very nondescript music. I mean, this can happen: why hasn’t it happened to you?
Well, I’ve seen it happen; I know what you mean. People get comfortable with something, and it’s largely due to expectation from fans: they don’t want to stray away too much from what they’re well-known for, or don’t want to disappoint people. But I’m primarily a studio rat so I’ve never felt that responsibility, you know? So I’m okay with doing some challenging things live. I find that people are very open, you know, if you just explain a little bit of what you’re doing.
I’m very cinematically driven, and we have – I don’t know if you’ve heard this track – I have one called “Sioux Lookout.” Sioux Lookout is a geographical location in the north of Canada; it’s a native community. And the more I worked on that track, the more it became a sort of chant, and it had a lot of depth, as if the singing was coming from a village from across the hill. All these images started building in my head, and I decided that it had come to me for a reason, that I saw it and heard it as a contemporary native chant.
We have a lot of native communities back home, and rights are constantly being infringed upon, and the land taken away, and there’s the tar sands infringing on native lands. So I see it as contemporary native pride to remind us to live in good balance with our nature. And it’s a bad-ass track. Rocco DeLuca, who’s opening for me tonight — a good friend — he sang on it, I sampled his voice, and manipulated the voice considerably. I think I’ve hit that place where humans sound like animals on that particular track. It’s a lot of fun.
So do you play around in the studio in your leisure time? Is this what you do? Do you do it every day?
That’s all I do, man. I’m in the studio every day, unless I’m on the road like we are now. I also have my steel guitar, which I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and we referenced it there in the earlier conversation – the toilet bowl track for Trainspotting. So ever since the toilet bowl, I’ve kept the steel guitar going, and I’m getting better at it all the time. It’s lovely for texture and melody. I don’t play it fast; I don’t play it in that conventional, country way, so it really allows me to explore texture and chord changes in an innovative way. There’s not a lot of people who play that instrument, or not a lot of people who play it the way that I do. I have my own custom tuning.
So I play steel guitar every day, and I monkey around the studio every day. And I’m just so grateful that I wake up every day with ideas about innovative sounds, and I just go in and start fiddling around until I hit on something that’s special. And I’ve got a studio in L.A. – that’s a pretty great place. I can make a lot of noise there. It’s kind of a beat-up old mansion, and there’s a lot of musicians in the neighborhood. It’s an area called Silver Lake; it’s become a little bit of a mecca for the arts. And there’s all kind of crazy people living down there these days, so you can invite some pretty smart heads to come by and get involved with things.
I’m not producing records much anymore but I like the idea of crossings and exchanges, you know. We’ve been talking with the guys about renting a warehouse for a week and having it be like a jam party every night for a solid week. Because in my experience, that’s what builds mythology and builds scenes, if you make an effort to have a crossroads for people to come through. And you just keep recording everything, you just might bump into something pretty special.
Well, I hate to blow our own trumpet, but this has been what the Boiler Room’s been built on, the site that we’re doing this for – it began as putting on parties and sending them out to the internet, and that’s what we still – that’s our bread and butter.
I didn’t come up with the idea?
You point a camera at your party and let the world join in, and we’ve grown from there. The first principle is, you put interesting people together in a room.
Yeah, man. Yeah. Well, that’s it, man, and our little neighborhood there in Silver Lake and Echo Park’s got a lot of pretty smart cookies, and there’s some old-school people there as well. Flea from the Chili Peppers lives down the street; he’s a great bass player, and so on, and so on. And John Frusciante’s just down the street.
Of course, he did a record with Venetian Snares.
Oh yes, right. Yeah, man. Great talent. Yeah, I guess he decided — he went more electronic there a few years back, didn’t he, and he kind of put down the guitar for a while? Started falling in love with all these little sampling units, sample-and-hold units? Yeah, he bought my old API console. I collect old vintage gear, and I bought a nice, beautiful battleship of a console from The Record Plant when it closed down in New York City. And I had too many of these things, so I sold one of them to John, and he still uses it.
That’s a whole kind of network for interesting people across the world, that gear-collecting. The units you buy and sell, you meet interesting people.
You do, yeah. And it’s fascinating, the waves of interest you come upon through equipment. I think people are realizing now that some of that cheap old stuff had a nice sound to it. I even had someone come to me the other day who said, “Do you still have that 12-track?” It was a 12-track, all-inclusive recorder; it ran on this big videocassette-looking thing, and it had an onboard dbx noise-reduction unit. I recorded The Neville Brothers on that back in the day in New Orleans. Beautiful recordings. And it came and went, as it happens with equipment. Somebody comes up with something new and they abandoned the old stuff. But apparently people are dragging these out of the closet now, because there’s a kind of punch and a warmth to them.
Yeah. And of course, the ultimate example is the Roland drum machines, the 808s, the 303s –
– that were just throwaway stuff for buskers, and now have formed the basis of whole genres.
Yeah, man. I still have mine: I have three 808s, and I love them now. Some of what we’re doing here tonight has 808 in its spine. I even use a Rhythm King, I don’t know if you’re familiar with those. It’s like a very big box, and it looks like something that maybe an organist would have used back in the seventies. And that’s got some great beats. And Eno used a Rhythm King in the seventies for his first couple of solo albums.
Sly Stone used one of those, right?
On a track called “In Time” on a record called Fresh. Yes. One of the funkiest things, and it’s a mixture of flesh and machine – a mixture of an acoustic drummer with that box, and it’s so funky, man. I love listening to that track. Yeah, Sly Stone used that one. Yeah, there are a lot of Californians doing some great things. Marvin Gaye: he had the first hit with “Sexual Healing,” the first 808.
That’s right, yeah.
And of course The Beastie Boys, also were in L.A. Hey man, equipment. And you put that stuff through big bass amps and you get incredible results. It’s totally different when you start pumping them.
Yeah, well, of course, so much – well, all of – hip-hop is based on the 808 now, since the Southern states started taking over hip-hop, it’s all about the 808. It’s all about how it sounds coming from those speakers in the back of your car.
Yeah, man. We’ve started doing something – on that track again, that “Sioux Lookout” track on my record – I started with a drum beat, and I put the bass drum through a little fuzzbox and through my PA, and it turned into this [mimics beat], and I went, “Wow, that’s beautiful,” but I vari-sped the recorder a little bit so that the note that was being projected by the PA was now the root of the key, because it wasn’t very far off, and I printed that. Once I got that printed, I put that bass drum, that new-note version of the bass drum, into the computer and re-created seven different pitches, put them back into the recorder, and I played the bass line on the console, on the faders. And it sounds pretty wild, man.
“I’ve never been one of these people who references the past much. I’ve never understood that, so I’m not about to start doing that.”
So have you got ambitions about where you want to go from here, apart from throw some parties and tour the record?
Yeah, well, we’re going to keep touring here for a while. I’d like to think Flesh and Machine has more life in it in Europe. We got quite a bit of exposure in the States, and the folks from Pitchfork were very kind to me, and on their recommendation we picked up a lot of listeners, and I really appreciate that you’re here today and taking the interest in my work. And so Flesh and Machine, hopefully it’ll have a little more life in it in Europe.
But following that, I’m doing a more rhythmic record than Flesh and Machine, and it’s going to be pretty far-out, and I may include some guest singers on this one. There’s been talk of maybe bringing some people in. It’s always exciting. The drummer I work with now and again, his name is Brian Blade, and his father’s a great singing pastor in Shreveport, Louisiana. He’s got a roaring gospel voice. So I may ask him. And I play in this gospel band with Brian a couple of times a year, so I may ask him to sing a few lines on this record, which should be a great honour because his voice is just powerful. It would be very sweet.
But I’m interested in going further out than ever. It’s always been a quest of mine to look to the future with my sounds and music. I’ve never been one of these people who references the past much. I’ve never understood that, so I’m not about to start doing that. So more experimentations. I’ve done some nice recordings for my steel guitar: they’re very far-out things that you wouldn’t think it’s a steel guitar on hearing them. I really dub them out. And that’s become very symphonic. Symphonic in a good way.
Because we are programmed to respond to symphony, but I don’t want symphony with conventional orchestral sounds. I want to touch people with symphony with these new sounds that I have. In fact, there’s a track on Flesh and Machine called “Two Bushas.” If you cue that one up and check it out, that’s where I’m going with the steel guitar record. “Two Bushas” really sounds like somebody’s conducting a strange orchestra of instruments you’ve never seen before.
When you say “symphony,” are you talking about duration, timbre —
I’m talking about textures and chord changes, the moment that it sounds like a series of timpanis being hit but they’re not timpanis, and then there’s a woodwind section but they’re not woodwinds. A little bit where Venetian Snares went: having an appreciation for the emotional place that you can get to with those sounds, but without the convention of it.
And without having to bring two hundred musicians.
Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah. It gets expensive [laughs]. Unless you go to Eastern Europe.
Cool. And of course, if you can persuade Brian Eno that you can wash his trousers for him.
Well, yeah. You know, after tonight, if Brian agrees to the Brooklyn Academy of Music show, I might be able to convince him for us to do a record together, and then, wouldn’t that be fun? I don’t know if I can talk him into the full world tour, but we can start with Brooklyn and maybe Chicago, Boston…
Any other collaborations? Do you feel like getting these tracks remixed? It seems like a natural…
We’ve talked about remixes. I’m a little out of touch with the remix world. Andy from Anti Records, our label in Silverlake back in the States, has showed some enthusiasm about remixes. He said, “You should do an exchange, so you do a remix and somebody else does them for you.” And I did one for Tinariwen. I did the Tinariwen remix in the back of my Cadillac in Toronto. I have an old ’72 Cadillac. You can put about twelve people in.
So you put a studio in your Cadillac.
[Nods] Studio in the Cadillac. I said to Andy, somewhat in jest, “I’ll mix it in my Cadillac.” He said, “Sounds good.” And then we stumbled around to try to find equipment that would run on batteries. I found these wonderful Shure mixers that are field mixers, three channels each, and I have four of them in my workshop, so we stacked those up – they run on batteries – and so those became the channel, the volume controls. And you know, a bunch of guitar effect pedals. And then I found this little — we have a company in Canada called Canadian Tire; it’s a sort of Home Depot, hardware store place. And they had a little generator, kind of a car battery slash generator. And so that was able to power up my monitors. And it’s on the internet. It’s a Tinariwen remix, Daniel Lanois.
Was this deliberate? Because these guys do their shit out in the desert with car batteries at their gigs.
Oh, okay. I knew they recorded exclusively in the desert but I didn’t know they used car batteries.
Yeah, I mean, they’ll put on a show with a couple of Jeeps.
Okay, well, hey man, great minds think alike. But they love the mix, and it’s a very sweet one. Check it out on the internet. It’s pretty fun.
Cool. Well, good luck with the tour; good luck with persuading Brian Eno to get rid of his laundry worries.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I told him we’d build him a new set of wings, because he doesn’t know what happened to the old ones…
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