Daniel Lanois, known for his production work for such artists as Bob Dylan and U2, is "not producing anything for about a year." The artist/producer made the declaration yesterday (March 13) in respon
Daniel Lanois, known for his production work for such artists as Bob Dylan and U2, is "not producing anything for about a year." The artist/producer made the declaration yesterday (March 13) in response to a question posed during his keynote address at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference in Austin, Texas. "I want to come back to it fresh," he added.
The Canadian native opened the session with a stream-of-conscience review of his career, from the basement studio he started in his mother's home to his work with some of the biggest names in music, including Dylan, U2, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Emmylou Harris. Referring to himself in the third person and often calling himself "little Danny Lanois," he described the process that has driven him to bring out the best in himself and others as "soul mining."
Currently, he is focused on his own career, which will resume with the April 22 release of "Shine," his first album for Epitaph's Anti- label. When making the decision to sign with the imprint, he said he turned to Anti artist Tom Waits. "I called up Tom and asked, 'What do you think of these geezers?' He said, 'That's the best treatment I've ever had.'"
Sitting at a pedal steel guitar, Lanois played "Transmitter," an instrumental that appears on the new set. "I try to play it every day," he said of the instrument, which he began playing at the age of 9, "to remain grounded." Later he performed the album's "Sometimes" as an example of what he felt was a strongly written song. "What never seems to go out of fashion is a song that rings true somehow."
When forced to name the best album he's ever produced, Lanois chose Dylan's 2000 Columbia set "Time Out of Mind," but said, "I'm proud of all of them, and it's not fair to simply pick Bob's. More importantly, Bob write songs from an interesting perspective."
"I work purely by invitation and [I] fly by the seat of my pants," he said, describing his production style. "Believing that somebody has a lot to offer is an important part of my criteria."
In closing, Lanois offered encouragement to the unsigned and up-and-coming artists that attend SXSW to further their careers. "You hear a lot about the state of the music industry," he remarked. "At any given moment there's a new window of opportunity. It's up to the innovators to find it."