Rick Rubin on his creative process: “I know nothing about music”
Rick Rubinhas opened up about his creative process, claiming that he “know[s] nothing about music”.
The acclaimed music producer, who’s worked with the likes of Adele, The Strokes and Red Hot Chili Peppers, recently sat down for a lengthy interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes to promote his new book The Creative Act: A Way Of Being.
At one point in the conversation, host Anderson Cooper asked Rubin whether he played any instruments. “Barely,” he replied (via Stereogum).
Rubin went on to admit that he doesn’t even know how to work a soundboard in the recording studio. “I have no technical ability,” he told the programme. “And I know nothing about music.”
Cooper then put it to Rubin that he “must know something” having worked across numerous genres over the decades.
“Well, I know what I like and what I don’t like,” he responded. “And I’m, I’m decisive about what I like and what I don’t like.”
Rubin was pressed on what he is actually “being paid for”, to which he replied: “The confidence that I have in my taste and my ability to express what I feel has proven helpful for artists.”
“I have no technical ability. And I know nothing about music.”
Music producer Rick Rubin says he can barely play any instruments, but says artists come to him because of “the confidence I have in my taste and my ability to express what I feel.” https://t.co/zLrPYRUjvspic.twitter.com/KRZWLCpSB2
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 16, 2023
Hear how Rick Rubin helped launch LL Cool J’s career when the young artist sent a demo tape to Rubin’s NYU dorm. https://t.co/lz0h1WtRV0pic.twitter.com/2R7VNuCBjF
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 17, 2023
Describing himself as a “reducer” instead of a producer, he explained: “I like the idea of getting the point across with the least amount of information possible.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rubin shared some memories of working with Johnny Cash and LL Cool J, and recalled the experience of co-founding Def Jam Records as a teenager. The latter artist sent a demo tape to Rubin’s NYU dorm, where the label was first based.
You can watch the clips in the tweets above.
Per UK publisher Canongate, The Creative Act delves into “the principles of creativity for creators of all kinds, including people in their everyday lives” while offering readers “revelatory insight into the mysterious process of making stuff great”.
Back in October, Rubin revealed that he’d started working with The Strokes on their seventh studio album. He produced Julian Casablancas and co’s latest record ‘The New Abnormal’, which came out in 2020.
Casablancas, however, was quick to respond to Rubin’s update on the band’s next LP: “True, Strokes’ve jammed and started some stuff, but we’re still so extremely v far off from being even close to any kinda remotely-near-doneness.”
The frontman added: “Lotta jumping to conclusions, check back in a year or [two] honestly.”
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