Check Out Steve Albini’s Great Reddit Q&A

Corban Goble | May 10, 2012 - 11:25 am

Steve Albini recently summoned the stones to do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), where he discussed some of his most famous career moments as well as poker, pizza, Nirvana, what Joanna Newsom smells like, and that Cloud Nothings session where he allegedly played online Scrabble the whole time. Some highlights:

[–]crentiist 118 points 1 day ago*
In a pretty recent interview, Dylan Baldi from Cloud Nothings said:
“Steve Albini played Scrabble on Facebook almost the entire time [we were recording]. I don’t even know if he remembers what our album sounds like.”
Is that true? Did you not enjoy the recording process or is that just part of your “hands off” approach?
He also said,
“A lot of people seem to think he will change a band’s sound, that he’s some weird domineering producer… It’s just made in the same room, so it’s got a similar feel.”
Is there any truth to that? Is it you that makes your records sound the way they do or is it just the room?
Thanks a lot for doing this AMA,
We really appreciate it

[–]steve_albini[S] 354 points 1 day ago
When I first started making records I would sit in front of the console concentrating on the music every second. I found out the hard way that I tended to fiddle with things unnecessarily and records ended up sounding tweaked and weird. I developed a couple of techniques to avoid this, to keep me from messing with things while still paying attention enough to catch problems. For a long time I would read, but it had to be really dry un-interesting stuff. The magazine the Economist was perfect, as were things like technical manuals and parts catalogs. I had a stack of them by the console. It can’t be anything interesting or with a story line like fiction because then you can get engrossed and stop paying attention to the session. It has to be really dull, basically so you are looking for an excuse to put it down and do something else. This has proven to be a really good threshold, so that if anything sounds weird or someone says something you immediately give it your full attention and your concentration hasn’t been ruined by staring at the speakers and straining all day.

Lately I play Scrabble, and it serves the same purpose.

Then later:

[–]electrobaboon 34 points 1 day ago
What was working with Cloud Nothings like? I loved Attack on Memory.

[–]steve_albini[S] 273 points 1 day ago
I was playing Scrabble the whole time so I don’t remember.

That rascal!

[–]MyloXyloto 9 points 1 day ago

If I am correct, you once met Joanna Newsom in person. What exactly did she smell like? Did she smell of pine straw?

[–]steve_albini[S] 12 points 1 day ago

Like somebody turned a hose on a mule and rubbed it with Vicks. And then snubbed a cigarette out in a nylon rug.


Where’s The Beef
? Head to Reddit to read the Q&A.