Given everything we know about Steve Albini, and about music and culture and the way older rock dudes tend to feel about dance music, it should not be a surprise to anyone that Steve Albini is no fan of electronic dance music. Powell, a young British dance producer, recently used a sample of Albini’s voice, introducing a song at a Big Black show long ago, on the intro of his new single “Insomniac.” And when Powell emailed Albini to ask for permission to use the sample, Albini readily granted it, never asking for money or anything. But he did give Powell a full-force rant about Powell’s whole scene: “I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth. So I am against what you’re into, and an enemy of where you come from.”
As DIY reports, here’s everything Albini had to say to Powell:
I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music. I’ve always detested mechanized dance music, its stupid simplicity, the clubs where it was played, the people who went to those clubs, the drugs they took, the shit they liked to talk about, the clothes they wore, the battles they fought amongst each other.
Basically all of it, 100 percent hated every scrap.
The electronic music I liked was radical and different, shit like the White Noise, Xenakis, Suicide, Kraftwerk, and the earliest stuff form Cabaret Voltaire, SPK and DAF. When that scene and those people got co-opted by dance/club music I felt like we’d lost a war. I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth.
So I am against what you’re into, and an enemy of where you come from, but I have no problem with what you’re doing. I haven’t bothered listening to the links, mainly because I’m in a hotel with crappy internet at the moment but also because it probably wouldn’t be to my taste and that wouldn’t help either of us. In other words, you’re welcome to do whatever you like with whatever of mine you’ve gotten your hands on. Don’t care. Enjoy yourself.
When Powell asked whether he could use the text of Albini’s email to promote the single, Albini replied, “Still don’t care.” So Powell put the full text of the email on a billboard on London’s commercial street. Apparently, he’s planning to use it in the video, too. So Powell gets to use his sample and gets a ton of publicity for the song, and we, the public, get another classic Albini rant. And I guess Albini gets to put his views on electronic dance music out into the world? I’m not really sure what Albini gets out of this. But I think it’s pretty amazing that, as crusty and crotchety as Albini might be, he still readily approved the use of the sample, without asking for a thing.