While there are signature sonic qualities
and atmospheres in Daniel Lanois productions, few of your records sound the same.
Is that something you strive for, or are you
just responding to the needs of the artist?
My taste is evolving all the time, and the
things I get excited about change. If you
look at the ambient chapter of my work, five
to seven years later I’m doing very different
things. What’s driving me philosophically
or spiritually is pretty important, too. That’s
where it gets fascinating. I tend to take on a
project or work with a group because I like
the people and think they have something in
their hearts and their heads that will take the
music to an innovative place. That’s what I
look for, even now on the Black Dub record. I
believe in [Black Dub singer] Trixie Whitley—
she’s a deep soul and I’ve been a friend of
the family. So I trust that association spiritually and I believe it has reason to exist beyond
specifics of music. Having those connections
is what inspires you and gets you through the
work. If I’m surrounded by deep souls, I know
I can trust the music in the end.
I suppose that personal empathy is vital
even for a garage band.
That and the existence of a garage!
[Laughs.] That’s important too—the idea
of working with what you’ve got. I love
the resourcefulness that comes from the
garage. I’m not in a garage as we speak,
but it’s pretty close—pretty renegade.