Hear Steve Albini’s 2015 ECMA’s Keynote Address in St. John’s, NL
People were initially quite excited, but few details were documented from the small crowd who had the opportunity to hear what the legendary guitarist and songwriter from Big Black, Shellac; and sound engineer of such modern classics as Nirvana’s In Utero and Pixies’ Surfer Rosa had to say. We’ve heard some people go as far as to question if the event had happened at all, so when we stumbled across this handy-recorded hour of audio, we deemed it necessary to submit the evidence.
Soundcloud user Tapehead International uploaded a field recording of Steve Albini’s East Coast Music Week appearance in its entirety. The keynote concept became more of an interview than a speech as Albini was joined in conversation by Toronto Star music critic Ben Rayner.
One of the rooted principles Albini stressed as a piece of inspiration for his life’s work was his second hand experiences watching bands fight barriers in every step of the music business. Albini credits much of his engineering approach to the hands on, over involved rock producers who he saw “interfering and imposing themselves between this band and their audience”, calling the actions “not just rude, but destructive.”
“So as an engineer, when I got to being more of a professional” says Albini, “it was important for me, once I got my basic skill set together, not to be that dude. Not be the guy who was running interference between a band and their audience”
Widley known for his opinionated approach to the music industry, Albini shared anecdotes and experiences while getting vocal on variety of topics ranging from the music business, the reasons why he rejects the title of “producer”, and the public perception from the media that tends to dismiss his blunt and honest demeanor as hardheadedness.
“Now, as bands are more sophisticated, there are two kinds of producers. There are producers who operate in that mode that is the aesthetic overlord of the session, and then there are producers who essentially create entire finished pieces of music and then just slot a vocalist in there.” says Albini. “I don’t consider myself a producer because I don’t fit into those described roles.
“It is not so much that I have a vision of what music should be, it’s that I know that the band has something in mind. They bring it with them when they come to the studio.”