Rick Rubin spoke about his creative process, stating that he “doesn’t know anything about music.”
The well-known music producer, who has worked with artists such as Adele, The Strokes and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, recently gave a long interview to the CBS program “60 Minutes” to promote his new book “Creative Act: Lifestyle”.
At one point in the conversation, host Anderson Cooper asked Rubin if he played any instruments. “Barely,” he replied (via Stereogum).
Rubin further admitted that he didn’t even know how to work with a soundboard in a recording studio. “I don’t have the technical capabilities,” he told the program. — And I don’t understand anything about music.
Cooper then told Rubin that he “must know something” because he had worked in many genres for decades.
“Well, I know what I like and what I don’t,” he replied. “And I decide what I like and what I don’t.”
Rubin was pressed on what he was actually “paid for,” to which he replied: “The confidence I have in my taste and my ability to express what I feel has proved useful 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/zLrPYRUjvs pic.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/lz0h1WtRV0 pic.twitter.com/2R7VNuCBjF
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 17, 2023
Calling himself an “editor” rather than a producer, he explained, “I like the idea of getting the point across with the least amount of information.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rubin shared some memories of working with Johnny Cash and LL Cool J, and also recalled the experience of the co-founder of Def Jam Records as a teenager. The last artist sent a demo recording to Rubin’s dorm at New York University, where the label was originally located.
You can watch the clips in the tweets above.
According to the British publisher Canongate, The Creative Act delves into “the principles of creativity for creators of all kinds, including people in their daily lives,” offering readers “a frank understanding of the mysterious process of creating great things.”
Back in October, Rubin announced that he had started working with The Strokes on their seventh studio album. He produced the latest album by Julian Casablancas and the company “The New Abnormal”, which was released in 2020.
Casablancas, however, quickly reacted to Rubin’s announcement about the band’s next album: “True, Strokes have already jammed and started something, but we are still so far from being even remotely-almost… Readiness”.
The frontman added: “A lot of hasty conclusions, honestly check in a year or [two].”