That’s exactly how I would expect being in the studio with Travis to be.
It was everything I’d hoped it would be. Even listening to the album for the first time, hearing a lot of the songs I hadn't heard, I had immediate flashbacks. I could smell the blunts. [Laughs.] The air was thick with blunt smoke. It was such a potent vibe that I just had full-on flashbacks. Even listening to “Skeletons” now, it feels weird to listen to it at moderate volumes, because it was so eyeball-shakingly loud for all the times up until then.
Who else was in the room, then?
Well, the producer Frank Dukes, he’s a super switched-on, smart guy. Chaz [Bear] from Toro y Moi was there for a bit. I feel like maybe I’m not meant to talk about who was there. [Laughs.]
Do you have a favorite collaboration you’ve ever done?
The Travis one has probably been the most artistically-satisfying, just because it was over a long period of time and had a lot of sessions to it. And it was fulfilling to watch. A lot of other collaborations, you kind of put something in, and then you don’t really hear or see anything until the final product.
That’s another thing about hip-hop -- the pace of releasing music is often quicker.
Yeah, but that’s what I love about it. Especially coming from my world of being this control freak, everything’s gotta be perfect -- working with hip-hop artists has taught me so much about not being precious about every single sonic detail. There’s a big thing in the recording world: professional sound snobbery. Like, “You shouldn't use these microphones for this.” Like, “Real albums gets made with real gear.” There’s that kind of preciousness about it. But I’ve made my albums for dirt cheap. Hip-hop will just take stuff from anywhere. It doesn't matter where it comes from, it just has to sound good. A beat can get made in 20 minutes. I feel like that’s a big element of musical snobbery: [the idea] that songs that get made in a day are not as good as songs that were labored over for months. Which I just find so narrow-minded. Some of the best music that has been made has been made quickly. Like that song “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. It was made literally in the last minute, and it ended up the lead single. People always try to find ways to quantify music. Like, what makes good music? But music is one of those things where you can’t attribute any quantity for whether it’s good or not.
'JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT THE ARTIST DOESN'T MEAN IT’S NOT EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO YOU'
Do you remember what first drew you to production?
I’ve always unknowingly done it, and I’ve also been a producer of my own stuff. I never really considered what I did “production,” because it was just making the music, you know? But I guess I wanted to see what I could bring to other artists. I’m a highly curious person. I can be consumed by curiosity.
Mark Ronson was a big producer mentor for me. He was the first one that convinced me that I could take it seriously, or that what I had was special. Up until then, I figured I wouldn't really know how to incorporate what I do with other artists, especially ones I don’t know personally. I think he was pretty pivotal in that.
How did you two meet?
We met at V Festival in Australia. His album Record Collection had just come out, and I was a huge fan, and so I was kind of fanning out to him, and he was kind of fanning out to me. It was kind of that aahh! thing.