Daniel Lanois’ incredible career as a musician and producer so far is often cited as inspiration by others, but is he now able to choose his favourites? “You’re asking me to pick my favorite kid,” he replies to Produce Like A Pro’s Warren Huart in a compelling new must-watch interview.
“When enough time has passed and [there’s an] randomly, I hear my work from the past, maybe in a store or at someone’s house, that’s when I better understand what it’s about”, begins Lanois.
And many will share his top pick.
“I enjoyed the Achtung Baby U2 record because it’s a great rock n’ roll record but with very inventive and unusual highs; melodies and harmonies and so on. So that one really appealed to me. is expensive.”
“I like the Dylan records that I have made, continues Lanoid. But it is not the famous Time Out Of Mind from 1997 that the Canadian chooses as the first highlight. “There is a real smoke in the first that we did together,” says Lanois.” It’s called Oh Mercy. He’s got that real New Orleans night sound.”
Lanois also contributed dobro, lap steel, guitar, omnichord and bass throughout the album. His mindset as a musician and producer gives him a perspective that is continually inspiring creatively.
“Maybe it’s best to talk about how the flavors were captured and how we got there, and if we were able to get the camera at just the right moment in the performance,” adds Lanois as he reflects on why these two albums are special of him.
“I mean they’re called records for a reason; you record something that exists at a certain time. And we can never go back and be those people again, so that’s the responsibility and we want to capture magic, doing something special. It belongs to that era. We thank our lucky stars, then we move on. Then, a decade later, we can’t go back.
“So the records that I like are the ones that correctly represent the people of that time, that place. Let them live. And they’re never dated. There may be a naïve spirit that comes through, but that I mean, you can’t say let’s go and be naive, can you? Lanois laughs. “You come in and you do your best and then maybe a decade later you say, well, we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We did our best with what we had and there’s a bit of a naive flavor.”
Achtung Baby saw Lanois team up with Brian Eno and the former explain how they complement each other in the creative studio environment.
“We strive for the same goals, we are constantly on the lookout for something special,” he explains. “So we have that in common. He’s a very inventive man, Eno, so that’s what I like about him and he brings that out in me. So I can facilitate a direction quicker because I have a few tricks up my sleeve musically and technologically.”