Roderick on the Line

Ep. 269: "Yelling at the Radio"


  [Music] [TS]

  hello hi John hi Mel run yeah John how's [TS]

  it going good how are you good I'm [TS]

  diddling a little bit with some new [TS]

  audio and you're my first victim oh yeah [TS]

  this could get real weird I don't know [TS]

  what's happening what's happening there [TS]

  oh I'm trying a new interface to my [TS]

  computer tell me about it tell me more [TS]

  about no I don't get too far is it an is [TS]

  it an A to D converter [TS]

  yeah no it's D D D all the way down just [TS]

  like brothers-in-arms uh-huh am I [TS]

  allowed to you know cuz I turned you [TS]

  down okay [TS]

  all right well I'm not peeking I got the [TS]

  limiter dipswitch I hit the always [TS]

  switch I'm always peeking here and I [TS]

  don't understand why I've got this [TS]

  little audio interface that has little [TS]

  little meters on it and every time I [TS]

  look down it looks right and then I look [TS]

  away and I looked back and I've and I've [TS]

  had a peak I've got some I've got red [TS]

  and I'm and I was like I'm talking right [TS]

  now talk this as loud as I get I'm not [TS]

  peeking [TS]

  yeah no I'm like a monkey with a slide [TS]

  rule lalala I got this thing and I got [TS]

  my 23 ban meter dingus that tells me how [TS]

  I'm doing well bands like a Nakamichi [TS]

  cereal it's pretty sweet anyways it's [TS]

  the most wonderful time we having a good [TS]

  week it can't be that bad oh man I did [TS]

  an unusual thing what tell me well you [TS]

  know it was some kind of podcast [TS]

  conference here in town yes is that the [TS]

  pod Conn pod con and I was put on by I [TS]

  think Hank green and his brother Frank [TS]

  green he's from the internet from the [TS]

  internet mm-hm and and the the McElroy [TS]

  brothers McElroy's and no one called me [TS]

  spit out my beverage I'm [TS]

  called you nobody called me now what now [TS]

  some some fans called me some people [TS]

  that were coming through town that were [TS]

  like I'm coming to the podcast con oh [TS]

  and you got coming at you both ways [TS]

  people unempowered to have you up on the [TS]

  stage they're saying hey where's John [TS]

  Roderick that's right I had a I had a [TS]

  local journalist who said hey can you [TS]

  can you know can you introduce me to the [TS]

  mek Elroy's mm-hmm I'm gonna get so many [TS]

  letters from them from the McIlroy's [TS]

  first and foremost but I think I think [TS]

  they've I don't think they communicate [TS]

  anymore I think I think they've had it [TS]

  hmm well so apparently like they [TS]

  mentioned me from the stage at their [TS]

  show did they always they always thank [TS]

  you at the end of their I don't listen [TS]

  to their show but they always thank you [TS]

  at the end of every episode and they say [TS]

  we're to get a copy of your album it's [TS]

  wonderful that they do that but no one [TS]

  invited me to the pod con that's [TS]

  happening in my own town and podcast [TS]

  about the Wicked Witch and nobody has [TS]

  the witch come yeah thank you [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  monkeys so all so but the thing is you [TS]

  know when you ask me like how's my week [TS]

  going all that was last week that ended [TS]

  last night this is a brand new week [TS]

  today is a this is all new yeah that's [TS]

  true that's true but I had a friend in [TS]

  town who was here to see the con and I [TS]

  just got up early a and went out of the [TS]

  house B to meet her for coffee you're [TS]

  kidding me before the show hang on [TS]

  oh yes you sure you sure you didn't get [TS]

  your clock wrong on this very day where [TS]

  you record with me at 10:00 a.m. Pacific [TS]

  time you were already up and you've [TS]

  already been out of the house and talk [TS]

  to somebody was close I got up I started [TS]

  the truck and let it warm up I got out [TS]

  with a glove and wiped the frost off the [TS]

  windows drove to Randy's I had a [TS]

  chicken-fried steak in eggs oh my god [TS]

  and then back in the saddle at 10:03 you [TS]

  ate a chicken-fried steak this morning [TS]

  and you're still awake [TS]

  I already I'm just and I'm going to a [TS]

  radio appearance after our show and [TS]

  going to my psychiatrist no and then [TS]

  after that I think I'm going to dinner [TS]

  like fancy dinner somebody's doing all [TS]

  these things in one day and one single [TS]

  day so making up for all the other days [TS]

  where I never do anything [TS]

  it's a catch-up day well you can't catch [TS]

  up oh man I've written down [TS]

  chicken-fried steak cuz I need to talk [TS]

  to you about food and sleep oh my god [TS]

  I'm so proud of you what a day and then [TS]

  only you shook it off you shook it off [TS]

  even though the McElroy's and the greens [TS]

  is is did not invite you to their con [TS]

  you see you shook it off and you got you [TS]

  got right back in the fray got back on [TS]

  course that's right that's right boots [TS]

  on the ground on the way home I started [TS]

  singing as you sometimes do I started [TS]

  singing in the air tonight Phil [TS]

  Collins's first solo hit its magnum opus [TS]

  in many ways and you know of course I [TS]

  was having the regular thoughts that you [TS]

  have about it what an unusual single [TS]

  what a what an extraordinary choice to [TS]

  have as a first single who would have [TS]

  thought yeah at this weird song and then [TS]

  I did the thing that I very seldom do [TS]

  which as I said you know even though [TS]

  today is not like Phil Collins day I I'm [TS]

  gonna spend just like two minutes while [TS]

  I'm sitting at this traffic light to get [TS]

  a little bit more familiar with in the [TS]

  air tonight a song that I feel like I [TS]

  know like at like as well as my own [TS]

  shirt mmm-hmm yeah when I did we've [TS]

  lived in that song for a long time oh [TS]

  four years right yeah [TS]

  up and down with in the air tonight and [TS]

  I went and I looked at the lyrics [TS]

  because I was assuming because in all [TS]

  the years that we've been listening to [TS]

  the song you there's so much story in it [TS]

  and I was assuming that there were some [TS]

  lyrics that I that I didn't know there [TS]

  was some third verse that I'd never [TS]

  really looked at that was gonna that [TS]

  when I read those lyrics I was just [TS]

  gonna be like wow gobsmacked or I was [TS]

  going to be disappointed [TS]

  so I'm sitting at the stoplight I look [TS]

  up in the air tonight lyrics and I read [TS]

  them and I realize oh I know them all [TS]

  yeah there may be less than you even [TS]

  thought yeah I know the lyrics there's [TS]

  only two verses and we could all sing it [TS]

  all the way through right now yeah and [TS]

  and even more of an accomplishment that [TS]

  there's there's nothing in the lyrics [TS]

  you know we all think like oh there he [TS]

  must have witnessed a murder [TS]

  oh yeah around four years that I think [TS]

  has since been don't email me I this [TS]

  three went around for a long time that [TS]

  it was about actually literally watching [TS]

  somebody drown yeah right like watching [TS]

  watching sting killed his first wife or [TS]

  saw Mike ID in 3/4 time yeah please do [TS]

  not write me like that no but it turns [TS]

  out it couldn't you know the language is [TS]

  broad enough he could just be mad at his [TS]

  next-door neighbor this could just be an [TS]

  argument he's having with his sister [TS]

  like if I saw you drowning I wouldn't [TS]

  even lend a hand [TS]

  that's that's the meanest thing in it [TS]

  the rest of it is just like you know [TS]

  what you did you know you know what grin [TS]

  yeah [TS]

  the only the only reason that it is this [TS]

  I mean we just we add all that Menace to [TS]

  it and I think it's in his voice I think [TS]

  here the characteristics of the [TS]

  production don't you think yeah that [TS]

  miss appearance right it's the sound of [TS]

  a foreboding [TS]

  but but anyway so I just came away from [TS]

  that experience I it's not like I've [TS]

  heard the song I it's not like it was on [TS]

  the radio nothing inspired me to do this [TS]

  nowhere [TS]

  yeah I just had some chicken-fried steak [TS]

  and I was like whatever do you cover [TS]

  that that'd be all right it's in line [TS]

  with a lot of songs that are hard to do [TS]

  at karaoke and I think we've talked [TS]

  about this before but there's there's a [TS]

  famous karaoke songs where you think you [TS]

  really think you know the song [TS]

  probably shouldn't do that song because [TS]

  you don't actually you you remember the [TS]

  feel of it but you don't really remember [TS]

  where the stops and starts are and this [TS]

  one you know I'm saying it with this one [TS]

  there's a lot of air and in this tonight [TS]

  you know what I'm saying [TS]

  so this song has a lot of space to it [TS]

  and Atmospheric sitting you know and [TS]

  it's from the time around the time that [TS]

  Peter Gabriel was doing similar [TS]

  production to great success we think [TS]

  about the first three Peter Gabriel [TS]

  albums like they had a real feel to them [TS]

  there were very simples no symbols is [TS]

  that true you know that story you took [TS]

  the symbols away took the symbols away [TS]

  he said gotta play the drums [TS]

  hate that drummers love their cymbals [TS]

  well and I think he was the first one to [TS]

  ever do it yeah I think drummers hate it [TS]

  I think what drummers hate is Peter [TS]

  Gabriel well they're a lot like dogs you [TS]

  know ninety minutes don't forget [TS]

  everything anyway the guy who did who [TS]

  did in the air tonight who did was that [TS]

  face value face value these dances [TS]

  tonight face dances who produced this [TS]

  you padam padam he also the guy was he [TS]

  also Peter Gabriel man I think he was [TS]

  this is this is stuff that if I were [TS]

  reading a copy of tape up magazine [TS]

  mm-hmm [TS]

  I would be like right in there right in [TS]

  the thick of it throwing elbows but [TS]

  sitting here you know sitting here just [TS]

  on my hard stool little toadstool I'm [TS]

  just like doo doo doo da people's first [TS]

  album was produced by Bob Ezrin [TS]

  bob is get over that shit right now come [TS]

  on get out of Dodge so I kind of won I'm [TS]

  pretty happy with that Solsbury Hill [TS]

  business let's let's let's get the guy [TS]

  from kiss see again like you can read [TS]

  and tape up you'd be throwing elbows [TS]

  right now [TS]

  this feels like a tape up article that [TS]

  we should write sorry it's all I took [TS]

  you way out took you out of your [TS]

  experience you've had an amazing morning [TS]

  capping off a really turbulent week I'm [TS]

  sitting here talking to you about [TS]

  English producers shame on me [TS]

  well it's not shame on it's not a [TS]

  situation like that if we if you had [TS]

  given it to the fix if you wanted to [TS]

  talk about the fix yeah that's too hard [TS]

  of a turn you feel no no I feel like I [TS]

  would have made the turn to the fix I [TS]

  couldn't make the turn to kiss no no I [TS]

  met the bob ezrin part is all is all and [TS]

  now we got Steve Lillywhite he says he [TS]

  wouldn't work with the band more than [TS]

  twice but in the case of you two he made [TS]

  an exception for war I feel like I want [TS]

  to and want to be a record producer oh [TS]

  yeah [TS]

  I really do and I don't and when I [TS]

  listen to other people's production on [TS]

  albums even ones that I love even where [TS]

  I love the production as as in my [TS]

  evolution as a musician right when [TS]

  you're young and you're just listening [TS]

  to music as a listener you don't really [TS]

  hear production it's not a thing you're [TS]

  conscious of yeah it's the stuff you're [TS]

  not supposed to notice yeah there's a [TS]

  lot of reverb on there but you don't [TS]

  notice the subtleties of what's covering [TS]

  the musical spectrum yeah you can't hear [TS]

  you can't hear the work of a producer [TS]

  and then we all have I think the same [TS]

  experience which is most of us that are [TS]

  that didn't come up during a hip-hop era [TS]

  who came up during a guitar pop era our [TS]

  first awareness of production comes when [TS]

  we learn about George Martin and you go [TS]

  why the hell are the Beatles so good and [TS]

  it's like oh well the production and [TS]

  then you get schooled on it and then you [TS]

  start hearing the production on a lot of [TS]

  things like on Bohemian Rhapsody and you [TS]

  start hearing the production on then [TS]

  then as you if you're a rock person you [TS]

  start hearing these stories Oh John [TS]

  Bonham wouldn't let him put the [TS]

  microphones close to the drum son oh you [TS]

  know [TS]

  during the making of of those Pink Floyd [TS]

  albums you know they they Roger was an [TS]

  asshole [TS]

  well and it's all like tape loops that [TS]

  Alan Parsons came up with it oh look at [TS]

  the camera he had the pan slowly and [TS]

  gorgeous Dave Gilmour God that guy was [TS]

  handsome he's so wonderful I I did a [TS]

  deep dive on Gilmour the other day but I [TS]

  don't too hard [TS]

  sorry and then then you hear the story [TS]

  about when they were making rumors and [TS]

  they lifted up the tape and they could [TS]

  see through it because they had done [TS]

  something cocaine off of it but then you [TS]

  get into making records like I did and [TS]

  now you're confronted with production as [TS]

  a very real thing that you're like [TS]

  you're learning and deeply engaged in [TS]

  where you're like well wait a minute do [TS]

  we like I had some profound production [TS]

  moments in the early long winters [TS]

  records because I was collaborating with [TS]

  Chris Walla and Chris had a very strong [TS]

  eye hand and come on and Ken [TS]

  Stringfellow no no he's not listen to [TS]

  the podcast well but but I can think [TS]

  back to a couple of key moments in the [TS]

  in the production of that first record [TS]

  where a production choice determined not [TS]

  only the sound of the album but the [TS]

  sound of the band thence forth Wow when [TS]

  I think back on those moments I think [TS]

  back on them as turning points and in at [TS]

  least one case I wish I'd gone the other [TS]

  direction I'm so I'm so curious okay so [TS]

  it's a song is it is it a particular [TS]

  song for the first album [TS]

  it was a sound okay it was a sound that [TS]

  we got and it was in getting this sound [TS]

  and I'll tell you what the sound was [TS]

  mm-hmm the sound was the sound of my [TS]

  Juno 106 roland synthesizer which is a [TS]

  synthesizer that has a lot of you can [TS]

  manipulate a lot of parameters you can [TS]

  make it sound like a lot of things but [TS]

  primarily you make it sound like a like [TS]

  variations on a synthesizer they're good [TS]

  at that they're really good it sounds [TS]

  very like a synthesizer no matter to it [TS]

  and then we ran the synthesizer into a [TS]

  big muff Distortion a big muff fuzz [TS]

  pedal and it created this this wall is [TS]

  extremely pleasing the fat of stick [TS]

  fuzziness like a giant like a giant love [TS]

  Caterpillar came in to the room and [TS]

  wrapped me in its five thousand little [TS]

  stubby green arms and it was like it was [TS]

  a turning point an in-studio turning [TS]

  point where here was this sound which [TS]

  was this like maybe like a Copernicus it [TS]

  was happening in the process of that [TS]

  exactly that that the we were [TS]

  experimenting with a song that did not [TS]

  have a band arrangement Copernicus was [TS]

  this tune then because some of this [TS]

  stuff just for a background it's worth I [TS]

  think it's worth mentioning that some of [TS]

  these have been western states a [TS]

  hurricane songs that you had really if [TS]

  you changed it up quite a lot I mean [TS]

  it's really amazing to think about how [TS]

  many times you play car parts that one [TS]

  way and then made it into this pop song [TS]

  you had reinvented some hurricane songs [TS]

  and then there was new stuff starting [TS]

  from scratch yeah trying to reinvent [TS]

  stuff [TS]

  and and going from a band that was that [TS]

  was like pretty post-grunge hard rock [TS]

  you know the western state hurricanes [TS]

  had big amplifiers and we were allowed [TS]

  band and we were in the studio and we [TS]

  are making this music that was indeed [TS]

  proto proto [TS]

  indie rock maybe not proto but we were [TS]

  certainly in this in the new quiet as [TS]

  the new loud school and i failed to be [TS]

  quiet in new laughs but that was [TS]

  certainly that was the that was the new [TS]

  aesthetic and i hit and so Copernicus [TS]

  used to be a big rock song and we and it [TS]

  wasn't we the only reason we were even [TS]

  doing it is that we didn't have enough [TS]

  songs to make a whole album and I was [TS]

  like well what about Copernicus and I [TS]

  sat down at the piano and I had never [TS]

  played it on the piano before and just [TS]

  sort of tinkering right and in the [TS]

  process of trying stuff out hit upon [TS]

  this sound and it's not it's not like a [TS]

  it's not like we were the first person [TS]

  people never run a synthesizer into a [TS]

  big buff right it's a it's a fairly [TS]

  common thing to try but it it was a [TS]

  sound that I heard in my in my soul [TS]

  because what it sounded like was a [TS]

  really big fat guitar but that had no [TS]

  strumming it was just you could play [TS]

  chords you could make all the [TS]

  transitions but there wasn't any [TS]

  rhythmic aspect to the quartz it's not [TS]

  like Dow now now now now now now now it [TS]

  was just and you could put that in and [TS]

  have guitars on it and base on it and [TS]

  have rhythmic things and underneath it [TS]

  there would be this like not just a low [TS]

  tone but this like kind of just wall [TS]

  this wall of what communicated to me [TS]

  like [TS]

  the biggest raucous sound and I'm [TS]

  sitting in the studio and we're putting [TS]

  this down and my eyes are just as wide [TS]

  as saucers and I'm like reinventing [TS]

  everything in my mind and we you know [TS]

  we're not this isn't like during mixing [TS]

  but but we're kind of far along in the [TS]

  recording and and I'm basically saying I [TS]

  want this on everything okay like you [TS]

  made like pesto for the first time you [TS]

  know everything gets pesto yeah but but [TS]

  it is it is the sound right I mean if [TS]

  you when they were making my bloody [TS]

  Valentines Lovelace he took his jazz [TS]

  master and he ran it in probably two a [TS]

  big muff anyway he was like that's the [TS]

  sound and he put everything that that [TS]

  whammy bar thing kind of helps to find [TS]

  that sound I think of it that way for [TS]

  sure yeah for sure I mean if you if you [TS]

  read the interviews with him at the time [TS]

  he's like we didn't use any synthesizers [TS]

  on this it's very simple actually it [TS]

  sounds amazing to you but you're not [TS]

  thinking straight because it's just like [TS]

  basically two or three tracks of guitar [TS]

  in it it's not this crazy thing the more [TS]

  you listen to it the less you feel like [TS]

  you understand what's going on it's so [TS]

  good but it but but it's it's an example [TS]

  and there are there are hundreds of [TS]

  examples of bands who just like The [TS]

  Strokes hit upon that vocal sound [TS]

  mm-hm and I made that record and so [TS]

  anyway I came into the studio the next [TS]

  day and the the the track that we were [TS]

  the track that this went down on was not [TS]

  Copernicus although Copernicus was where [TS]

  it blow boom [TS]

  what's the one of the dr.dre on it the [TS]

  bone [TS]

  well what song am I thinking of that [TS]

  some unsalted butter right right uh no [TS]

  it was Meany really that this happened [TS]

  on the first time and you know Mimi is a [TS]

  very thick production there's a lot [TS]

  going on in that production but and the [TS]

  thing is I'm I didn't hear this keyboard [TS]

  part being the loudest thing in the mix [TS]

  just that he existed that it was this [TS]

  like that the chords had this additional [TS]

  fatness that would have been a sound [TS]

  like a unifying sound on an album and it [TS]

  would have been a unifying sound of a [TS]

  band whether or not you know like [TS]

  whether or not that sound would have [TS]

  appealed to people more than the sound [TS]

  that we went with I have no idea and I [TS]

  don't it's not a thing that that it's [TS]

  we're speculating about but at the time [TS]

  I was like production because there [TS]

  wasn't a band the long winters weren't a [TS]

  band it wasn't like we were coming in [TS]

  and trying to capture our sound it was [TS]

  like I was in them the rare position of [TS]

  being able to say this is the sound of a [TS]

  new band and I came in the next day and [TS]

  was like let's you know let's call that [TS]

  up and Kris said yeah I what I tried to [TS]

  like make that work and I couldn't [TS]

  really make it work [TS]

  so I recorded over it oh oh that's [TS]

  aggressive for a billing hammer well I [TS]

  mean that was his and and that was you [TS]

  know it it was within the 10-minute [TS]

  period that I had this like production [TS]

  and then on the flip side of it like [TS]

  production [TS]

  because he perceived himself to be the [TS]

  producer and that wasn't where that [TS]

  wasn't the direction he heard it going [TS]

  and we had an argument about it but it [TS]

  was but he had erased it it wasn't like [TS]

  the tracks down at this point no [TS]

  everything was I mean we were we were [TS]

  far enough along in the making of the [TS]

  record that this would have been a this [TS]

  would have been a change of direction [TS]

  and and when you are in a situation like [TS]

  that where you feel like oh well you [TS]

  know we've got to get this done we don't [TS]

  have the time to do this now and you [TS]

  look at it from my perspective 15 years [TS]

  later and you go you know you had all [TS]

  the time in the world to make those [TS]

  decisions like yeah the famous adage [TS]

  right you know about your whole life to [TS]

  make your first record right you only [TS]

  have a year to make your second record [TS]

  right and he didn't you know that wasn't [TS]

  the sound of production that he had in [TS]

  mind and and at that point in his career [TS]

  he didn't see his job as being [TS]

  facilitate the artist as much as his job [TS]

  was be pay a guide to the artist or be a [TS]

  collaborator a co-author [TS]

  so everything that followed from there [TS]

  like the second record I took a much [TS]

  greater hand in in making production [TS]

  decisions for better and for worse [TS]

  because I was learning production and [TS]

  not always you know I at that point kind [TS]

  of needed a mentor anyway like like a [TS]

  lot of things in music as I learned more [TS]

  and more about production and as I heard [TS]

  it more and more then I couldn't listen [TS]

  to a record without hearing the [TS]

  production hearing it in some cases a [TS]

  long time before I was listening to the [TS]

  song [TS]

  until production was my primary path [TS]

  into music and I think I arrived at a [TS]

  place where if the production is if the [TS]

  production doesn't grab me right away I [TS]

  don't want to hear the production now [TS]

  you know like if if like I keep going [TS]

  back to this band always from Canada who [TS]

  I think have great production and the [TS]

  new Portugal demand song I think has [TS]

  great production and I want to listen [TS]

  and you know Beck records have great [TS]

  production I want to listen to the [TS]

  production on those things but like like [TS]

  bad production I it's like listening to [TS]

  a bad podcast I just get a you know my [TS]

  shoulders hunched up I get that like [TS]

  lemon just sucked on a lemon face and I [TS]

  just have to I just have to get out of [TS]

  it I don't want to I don't want to hear [TS]

  it we thought without naming names what [TS]

  do you think of we need to go what [TS]

  you're calling bad production what what [TS]

  is the hallmark of what you consider bad [TS]

  production well how it makes you feel [TS]

  anything with vocoder honor Oh or like [TS]

  auto-tune anything with anything with [TS]

  what I mean vocoder in particular even [TS]

  more than auto-tune is an effect that is [TS]

  now I mean it's considered almost like [TS]

  de rigueur still if you're making a kind [TS]

  of record absolutely I mean that Kanye [TS]

  record that came out I think he works it [TS]

  sometimes well yeah but it was it was [TS]

  superfluous to need uh as he used it on [TS]

  this most recent record and the thing is [TS]

  it's know it no longer I understand that [TS]

  to us to listeners within the auto-tune [TS]

  slash vocoder genre it is as necessary [TS]

  to the sound of the music as distorted [TS]

  guitars are to metal it's just the sound [TS]

  it is the sound of it [TS]

  but I just find it like so dull with it [TS]

  just don't win it as a sound and when I [TS]

  hear it I just go just I'm just I'm out [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  and you know the same is true of like [TS]

  super super gloss on stuff that I mean [TS]

  and this isn't just coming from a [TS]

  low-fiber spective but what are the [TS]

  where everything has been glossed to the [TS]

  point where there's no it's not even [TS]

  conceivable that there would be [TS]

  imperfection in it and I think you [TS]

  probably have that same feeling like [TS]

  super gloss just puts me out on the [TS]

  sidewalks it's it's it's weird cuz I'm [TS]

  I'm somewhat out of the vernacular on a [TS]

  lot of stuff I mean I'll know like I'll [TS]

  recognize something as part of this like [TS]

  two to three year long trend you know [TS]

  but it's sometimes something comes along [TS]

  that is is very new and you really [TS]

  notice it I mean for vocoder you go back [TS]

  to let's say you know zap and Roger or [TS]

  something where like they or I guess [TS]

  Peter Frampton before that but but zap [TS]

  and Roger turning into a little bit of [TS]

  an art form maybe beat it to death but [TS]

  like they did they did something you [TS]

  know more bounce to the ounce like [TS]

  that's that that is the sound of a [TS]

  vocoder to me it's something like that [TS]

  um and then eventually there will be [TS]

  people who reintroduce it like Cher yeah [TS]

  supposedly started as an accident I [TS]

  think it did and it's it sounds like an [TS]

  accident but I think do you believe in [TS]

  life after love was the thing that [TS]

  turned vocoder from a thing in a memory [TS]

  of the distant past to a thing now that [TS]

  you can't you know you can't turn on the [TS]

  radio without hearing right it felt it [TS]

  felt very modern but I'm thinking about [TS]

  I don't go to deep down a rabbit hole [TS]

  but there's lots of stuff like that [TS]

  where like you just but sometimes [TS]

  somebody is able to take something that [TS]

  seems like it's been pretty tired and [TS]

  mix it up but but it's it is that there [TS]

  is this sense to me of like even in a [TS]

  genre that I'm not super familiar with [TS]

  and this is probably cuz I'm an old man [TS]

  I will tend to tune out rather quickly [TS]

  if it sounds like pretty much all the [TS]

  other stuff I've her [TS]

  mmm-hmm but like for example like I'm [TS]

  not the biggest Bon Iver fan in the [TS]

  world like I'd like his stuff okay but [TS]

  he was on the recently renamed [TS]

  christieelee show last night boy the [TS]

  thing he did was weird [TS]

  I I don't know what he was doing he did [TS]

  the song I don't know he's doing this [TS]

  leet speak for all the titles of his [TS]

  songs but it's something something 45 is [TS]

  the name of this song I don't know what [TS]

  in the hell instrument or instruments [TS]

  he's playing but unless he had brought [TS]

  with them like some exquisitely talented [TS]

  string and winds group I think it must [TS]

  have been I need to find out what [TS]

  instrument he's playing on this because [TS]

  I don't think it's live instruments it [TS]

  could have been it was so tight it was [TS]

  unbelievable but it was weird it was [TS]

  ghostly and it made me really perk up [TS]

  and III sat and I put down what I was [TS]

  doing and I listened to the song like a [TS]

  gentleman and it's something like that [TS]

  you realize that that however he [TS]

  accomplished that it worked like this so [TS]

  he did something really differently and [TS]

  it really caught me and it didn't hurt [TS]

  that the song was also you know it had a [TS]

  really great feel to it so I I don't [TS]

  know I mean I still think there's so [TS]

  much room for something to really catch [TS]

  your ear and spark your feeling that [TS]

  that googly feeling in your gut of like [TS]

  oh this is exciting and new and I'm [TS]

  really glad that somebody went there [TS]

  with this you know that that most recent [TS]

  boniva record which is called 22 comma a [TS]

  million kind of like Portugal is now the [TS]

  man I have and it's an example of a [TS]

  record that i sat with utterly [TS]

  fascinated by the production and to the [TS]

  point that i was yelling at the speakers [TS]

  about it because because listening to it [TS]

  there are astonishing choices being made [TS]

  and you could feel the choices are at [TS]

  least I could feel the choices being [TS]

  made as they went down and and I had [TS]

  that experience of being like yes [TS]

  yes and then you know just like doing [TS]

  that that incredible thing that you want [TS]

  from an artist which is making a choice [TS]

  that both is incredibly gratifying in a [TS]

  way where it feels like obvious slash [TS]

  almost pandering to my basest needs [TS]

  mm-hmm but also completely surprising [TS]

  and not at all what I and it doesn't [TS]

  feel right you know just like Wow [TS]

  awesome like that was it you yes and [TS]

  that's one thing in in this age we're [TS]

  all so much for media especially movies [TS]

  but in many cases music is so if you [TS]

  really I hate to be a karma suck but if [TS]

  you really really keep scratching at the [TS]

  surface you realize how much stuff is [TS]

  based on nostalgia or how much stuff is [TS]

  based on not just a reboot but on like [TS]

  repackaging something really familiar [TS]

  and I felt kind of kind of unmoored [TS]

  listening to that song like I'm not sure [TS]

  what this thing is but it's like [TS]

  listening to Eno back in the day or [TS]

  something we were like what what planet [TS]

  is this from well and and so there's a [TS]

  there's a keyboard the first time I saw [TS]

  it [TS]

  Jonathan Coulton had it and then I [TS]

  started to see it in the hands of a lot [TS]

  of musicians that I respected and it was [TS]

  a it was a thing that people were just [TS]

  pulling out of their bag right we'd be [TS]

  sitting around and I would come this [TS]

  little keyboard and it's smaller then [TS]

  then an sk7 it's this tiny little thing [TS]

  it's like it's longer than a paperback [TS]

  book but thinner than a paperback book [TS]

  and it's and it's and it's beautiful [TS]

  it's made out of like brushed aluminum [TS]

  and it's it's uh it's like a it's just [TS]

  machined so beautifully and it's called [TS]

  a it's called the op1 okay Wow and it's [TS]

  a it's a little just a little synth [TS]

  that's made in Stockholm cause this [TS]

  thing is gorgeous it's gorgeous and it [TS]

  is a synth [TS]

  and it's a sequencer and it like [TS]

  it does all these fun things that are [TS]

  hang on I'm I'm looking up I said I said [TS]

  sk7 but what I meant was sk-1 like a [TS]

  Casio the little caffeine yeah I know [TS]

  but this is teenaged if you wanna Google [TS]

  this is teenage engineering Opie - one [TS]

  and so this is a thing as it looks it [TS]

  looks like it would be difficult to tell [TS]

  if this were a prop in a movie it would [TS]

  be hard to know what decade it's from [TS]

  apart you know what I mean it's it's got [TS]

  a timeless kind of wackadoo digital [TS]

  quality to it it does and it's you know [TS]

  it's very gratifying to have in your [TS]

  hands like when you press down the keys [TS]

  they feel really satisfyingly kind of [TS]

  solid it's it's a small enough to guess [TS]

  that from looking at this it looks like [TS]

  it's just little like like little like [TS]

  the pads on like a cheap laptop no it's [TS]

  not cheap at all it's just it's clicky [TS]

  and it's chunky and it just fit and [TS]

  considering how small it is at that if [TS]

  it fits in a it fits in your like your [TS]

  messenger bag it is surprisingly heavy [TS]

  like it's milled there's no plastic on [TS]

  it like dance it's dense and it's not [TS]

  big so you could it's not like you could [TS]

  sit and like play the grand piano on it [TS]

  but within it it has its own it has all [TS]

  this processing power I can you can loop [TS]

  you there's drums in it you can you can [TS]

  kind of make all kinds of music out of [TS]

  it and Colton pulled it out of his bag [TS]

  and I was like whoa what's that and he [TS]

  was like check it out and he's you know [TS]

  mr. gizmo and so he has pants he'll get [TS]

  these things and he'll play him for a [TS]

  while and then they'll kind of you know [TS]

  they end up on his on his gizmo wall and [TS]

  he uses them for sure but like you know [TS]

  if you've ever seen him on tour right he [TS]

  pulls out something that whatever that [TS]

  crazy is he plays that thing that thing [TS]

  was that thing was a piece of joke [TS]

  comedy equipment that he turned into [TS]

  well like ultimate ultra ultra joke [TS]

  comedy thing [TS]

  anyway so he really knows what he's [TS]

  doing with he does good I'm gonna have [TS]

  to say like I am not much of a musician [TS]

  but watching him play that it looks like [TS]

  there's a million ways that thing could [TS]

  go horribly wrong yeah I mean he's a [TS]

  genius there's no argument stream anyway [TS]

  so I started seeing this op1 get pulled [TS]

  out of bags backstage all the time you [TS]

  know it's the type of thing that Matthew [TS]

  cause suddenly had won and and and the [TS]

  the the problem is it's a thousand bucks [TS]

  and so it was the type of thing that [TS]

  when I first saw it I felt like I gotta [TS]

  get one of those but then it was a [TS]

  thousand bucks which is not cheap and [TS]

  the thing about an sk1 was that it was [TS]

  it was cheap it was cheap when it was [TS]

  new and I mean I used to find them at [TS]

  thrift stores for for five to ten [TS]

  dollars this is a thousand bucks and [TS]

  it's absolutely worth it feels worth it [TS]

  but it turned out that almost everything [TS]

  on that record 22 comma a million were [TS]

  either made with or run through an Opie [TS]

  one wow that is super interesting that [TS]

  little fucking gizmo he and this is you [TS]

  know boney bears whole trip right he [TS]

  made that first record out in his dad's [TS]

  cabin on a on a tape machine made out of [TS]

  a beer bottle and a raccoon tail and and [TS]

  you go like well done like dude well [TS]

  done like creative guy and when this [TS]

  record came out part of the part of my [TS]

  experience of listening to it the first [TS]

  couple times was like oh ho well now [TS]

  you're now you're mister got all the [TS]

  money in the world and so you're just [TS]

  like you got a fare like yeah right [TS]

  you're making you're making like a [TS]

  billion dollar record in a studio you're [TS]

  probably like every day somebody brings [TS]

  in a giant tray of chopped crap all that [TS]

  nobody needs and then the Dark Twisted [TS]

  Fantasy Island he's out there and people [TS]

  just hanging out on the couch for like [TS]

  just months making the album right [TS]

  but in fact it's him with this fucking [TS]

  little thing and and what I was yelling [TS]

  at about the production is that that it [TS]

  was the best kind of yelling at the [TS]

  radio for me now which is that I could [TS]

  feel myself in that chair I could feel [TS]

  myself as the producer of that record [TS]

  and I heard choices that I disagreed [TS]

  with and you know and the thing is [TS]

  they're tiny it's just like no no no no [TS]

  no no don't you put the effect on it the [TS]

  first time then leave it off the second [TS]

  time and when it came back or you could [TS]

  feel it coming back around and I was [TS]

  like you're gonna have that effect on it [TS]

  and that's the wrong choice and it came [TS]

  back around and it didn't have the [TS]

  effect on and I was like no and and I [TS]

  felt it every time it went by and I mean [TS]

  this is like interacting with a widow [TS]

  with a brilliantly produced thing and [TS]

  interacting with it not as a like a [TS]

  passive listener not as somebody that's [TS]

  like how is this Wow what's going but [TS]

  somebody that where I was sitting there [TS]

  like I know I know you agonized over [TS]

  whether or not to do that and in the end [TS]

  you chose to do it and if I were there I [TS]

  would have argued against it and that [TS]

  kind of like that kind of relationship [TS]

  to production is like it is like when [TS]

  you become a musician and you first hear [TS]

  the bass line in god only knows and [TS]

  you're like well now I can't ever hear [TS]

  it without hearing the I can never hear [TS]

  it without hearing that whatever that [TS]

  triangle because I'm because having [TS]

  become conscious of it you can't ever [TS]

  put it back in the box I want to be a [TS]

  producer because I because it's an art [TS]

  that I really identify with like I [TS]

  really I want I don't want to be a [TS]

  producer that is like no I don't I [TS]

  didn't hear that sound so I just erased [TS]

  it I want to be a producer that's like [TS]

  what [TS]

  you know like what do you want and let's [TS]

  find it but then but then advocating for [TS]

  that kind of thing like what if on the [TS]

  second one we didn't do it [TS]

  what if we didn't go back right but so [TS]

  way beyond an engineer but not at the [TS]

  point where you're just like a name that [TS]

  gets slapped on it but you're somebody [TS]

  who could say like here's here's a [TS]

  palette of things that might complement [TS]

  what you've told me you're trying to do [TS]

  like I don't want to be an engineer at [TS]

  all that that aspect of it I know enough [TS]

  about to to say like here's what I'm [TS]

  hearing [TS]

  I want a side chain this so that it only [TS]

  triggers the reverb when it goes above [TS]

  this and the engineer knows what I'm [TS]

  talking about or I mean you know I I [TS]

  want to be able to know the technology [TS]

  enough to be able to say here's what I [TS]

  wanted here's what I mean well almost as [TS]

  a director is - a DP or cinematographer [TS]

  like you say like you go do your thing [TS]

  to go make it make look like this it's [TS]

  the same you know how to do it then you [TS]

  can describe it in the terms that right [TS]

  I mean that's yeah but yeah you get [TS]

  people for that right and but not at all [TS]

  like the slap your name on a thing like [TS]

  I want to be in the trenches with with [TS]

  artists making music because the because [TS]

  it's really hard to do for yourself it's [TS]

  really hard to be the writer/director [TS]

  star and you know and like producer of [TS]

  your own film even if you're the writer [TS]

  director star there's a producer [TS]

  generally and and but breaking into that [TS]

  because there have been quite a few [TS]

  artists who have considered me as the [TS]

  producer I don't mean that they that [TS]

  they call me their producer well but [TS]

  like yeah hey we're in the running for [TS]

  the role right I was in the running to [TS]

  make the record and in and I've only [TS]

  ever recorded I've only ever produced [TS]

  three albums that weren't connected to [TS]

  me one of them was the most popular one [TS]

  was Shelby Earls debut record and I'm [TS]

  super proud of Shelby Earl's debut [TS]

  record burn the boats [TS]

  and I produced a record for a guy named [TS]

  Eric Hauck who is currently the guitar [TS]

  player in Portugal the man and he's a [TS]

  very mercurial guy and he never released [TS]

  it oh man it's a brilliant record and [TS]

  but by which I mean he is a great player [TS]

  and his songs are great but he had he [TS]

  had some he had whatever insecurities [TS]

  about it and then he kind of feels like [TS]

  oh well we made that 10 years ago and [TS]

  it's not really relevant anymore it's [TS]

  like it's a great record it's always [TS]

  relevant and then I produced a record [TS]

  for my niece Elizabeth Roderick that [TS]

  also super proud of I think it's clay [TS]

  imagine it's probably hard to find but [TS]

  you know I was in the running to produce [TS]

  Kathleen Edwards's record and then [TS]

  Kathleen Edwards started dating boney [TS]

  their son and the record label was like [TS]

  well we could pay to have this record [TS]

  made by John Roderick or we could have [TS]

  it made by boney there who is at the at [TS]

  who was at that moment like number one [TS]

  on the charts with a bullet and so I [TS]

  missed out on on producing that crack [TS]

  record and I had a lot of angry things [TS]

  to yell at the speaker's listening to it [TS]

  because he made a lot of choices for her [TS]

  music that I wouldn't have I mean that [TS]

  felt to me like obvious at the time like [TS]

  yeah she's a female singer songwriter [TS]

  with an acoustic guitar sure so you made [TS]

  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but that's not what [TS]

  I guess what the album wanted no I don't [TS]

  think that's what the songs wanted I [TS]

  don't think that's what she wanted in [TS]

  her life at the time and but you know [TS]

  that was very hard for her to say not [TS]

  sure because shit boney bears producing [TS]

  your record and oh also you know like [TS]

  you're in a relationship with them it's [TS]

  very hard to be like you know I kind of [TS]

  we were half because you know she and I [TS]

  had been talking production we were not [TS]

  halfway along [TS]

  it was like I wanted to make I wanted to [TS]

  make that record sound like the first [TS]

  Pretenders record I've only just hang [TS]

  out with her she's amazing I like her I [TS]

  spent that little bit of time of your [TS]

  house with her boy I like that person [TS]

  she has a lot of deep calm [TS]

  yeah but she's she's fast and funny my [TS]

  god she's fast and funny she is [TS]

  oh she she's she's dynamite and she [TS]

  posted a thing on Instagram yesterday [TS]

  which was she was out walking in the [TS]

  forest behind her house in Ontario and [TS]

  she found like a giant Jackrabbit dead [TS]

  Jackrabbit hanging from a tree not [TS]

  hanging like by its neck but just like [TS]

  draped over a branch here that's not [TS]

  good for property values and she and [TS]

  then she found like a dismembered coyote [TS]

  oh come on she was like so her her life [TS]

  continues to be very interesting you've [TS]

  been thinking about this this has been [TS]

  on your mind you're thinking is this [TS]

  something you think you'd like to do [TS]

  well the problem is the life of a [TS]

  producer is not the life that I want I [TS]

  have a lot of friends that are that are [TS]

  producers that's the career they chose [TS]

  for themselves [TS]

  and I think it's very gratifying work [TS]

  for them but they never see the Sun and [TS]

  they go from one completely encompassing [TS]

  project to the next so they work on [TS]

  something for three weeks where they're [TS]

  just in the studio with these musicians [TS]

  who are like frantically scrambling to [TS]

  try and get their vision down and they [TS]

  stay Shepherd this thing all the way [TS]

  from zero to a fully fledged thing you [TS]

  have to be comfortable with with the [TS]

  idea that like we don't have all the [TS]

  time in the world that that's the take [TS]

  moving on you know all this stuff that's [TS]

  in some ways like anti perfectionism [TS]

  mm-hmm you make choices and you go [TS]

  and you come to the end and you have a [TS]

  finished product and it you know at the [TS]

  beginning of a record it could be any [TS]

  one of a thousand things but at the end [TS]

  of a record it is what it is and you can [TS]

  scrap it and go back and make that [TS]

  record again differently but you [TS]

  probably aren't going to you made it [TS]

  right that's the thing about the first [TS]

  long winter's record at the end it was [TS]

  what it was and because it was a first [TS]

  record it established the tone of the [TS]

  band going forward and I wouldn't want [TS]

  to do that [TS]

  all year long I wouldn't want to make 12 [TS]

  records in a year it would just be it's [TS]

  just - it would be overwhelming but I [TS]

  would love to make a record every year [TS]

  but with somebody with somebody or two [TS]

  to records a year where it was like yeah [TS]

  I'm gonna go I mean every time Death Cab [TS]

  goes in to make a new record I'm always [TS]

  like you should have me produce this one [TS]

  and they are records oh yeah they're [TS]

  making one right now no kidding [TS]

  they are always making records and you [TS]

  know their records continually evolve I [TS]

  don't think they understand how [TS]

  fantastic a job I would do as the [TS]

  producer of their album more than pity [TS]

  on that my goodness they should at least [TS]

  least have you in I mean just [TS]

  that's ridiculous well it's not it's not [TS]

  a thing that could ever happen and when [TS]

  I say it they there's like that there's [TS]

  that laugh of like ha ha ha and then a [TS]

  little bit of fear in the eyes that I'm [TS]

  serious yeah like me asking if I can [TS]

  drive right this episode of Roderick on [TS]

  the line is brought to you by [TS]

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  and as always our thanks to Squarespace [TS]

  for supporting Roderick on the line and [TS]

  all the great shows you're there like no [TS]

  seriously yeah I mean did I mean you [TS]

  have obviously strong feelings about it [TS]

  is that ever a thing that if somebody [TS]

  came to you and said like hey we want [TS]

  Maryland man to produce our album well [TS]

  no but I'm thinking a lot about what [TS]

  you're saying and it's I mean I guess to [TS]

  me it's difficult not to separate it [TS]

  from what I think of as being a film [TS]

  director and both both of those jobs so [TS]

  I mean we could stick to just music but [TS]

  in either case like it really is an [TS]

  impossible task you go into making an [TS]

  album or making a movie I mean [TS]

  you've got to be so crazy to go into [TS]

  that because it is it's it's impossible [TS]

  there's no way to get everything the way [TS]

  everybody wants [TS]

  there's always time limits there's [TS]

  always money limits and if there aren't [TS]

  time in money limits you still might [TS]

  make total shit it's like you but also [TS]

  the personality traits required to be a [TS]

  a good and talented producer are I don't [TS]

  know I marvel at people who can hit all [TS]

  tick all the boxes so you think of [TS]

  somebody who on the one hand really [TS]

  knows who they are I know that sounds [TS]

  silly but somebody who knows who they [TS]

  are they know the edges of their [TS]

  humanity and like okay here's where I [TS]

  stop and the other people begin like [TS]

  really understand like so I mean like [TS]

  honestly to be a truly mature shading [TS]

  into parental character like us like a [TS]

  super dad or a super mom somebody who's [TS]

  really really able to separate [TS]

  themselves from from the process from [TS]

  the people from the product from you [TS]

  know and and and then just the million [TS]

  skills you need inside of that or would [TS]

  benefit from inside of that hobbies' lee [TS]

  having a great year knowing what [TS]

  something wants to be rather than what [TS]

  it is right now being able to help [TS]

  people articulate something they don't [TS]

  know they're even thinking right now [TS]

  being able to as I say bring in a [TS]

  palette that isn't just a bunch of [TS]

  gimmicks and gizmos but to be able to [TS]

  say like well you know this is one thing [TS]

  we could try to do this the ability to [TS]

  as you say keep things moving right like [TS]

  look you like you like you would say [TS]

  with guitar solos' back in the day like [TS]

  we're not gonna do this for TTS this is [TS]

  not hound-dog we're not gonna do this 42 [TS]

  times so what's the right amount of time [TS]

  how do you know when you're pushing it [TS]

  too far do you want to do like a [TS]

  finisher in a Kubrick where you just [TS]

  keep doing this until the person wants [TS]

  to kill you or do you say you got three [TS]

  shots give me your best or something [TS]

  else because that's you know how that [TS]

  works I just feel like it's so difficult [TS]

  for me to even concentrate on one and a [TS]

  half things at a time it's amazing to me [TS]

  that that person could be somebody who [TS]

  could for example feel comfortable [TS]

  talking to whoever owns Warner Brothers [TS]

  this week like to be able to talk to the [TS]

  people above you and sort of below you [TS]

  and beside you keep everybody confident [TS]

  that this is on track it's a cask ill [TS]

  set that makes my mind swim and I know [TS]

  you don't have to have all those things [TS]

  you could just be affordable and patient [TS]

  but like to be really good at that [TS]

  requires a set of skills that represents [TS]

  almost everything I'm more of a lot in a [TS]

  person [TS]

  yeah it's a it is a set of skills that [TS]

  is that is I think a lot of people in [TS]

  the music world think it's a set of [TS]

  skills that can be learned because [TS]

  there's so much effort put into software [TS]

  recording software and recording gear of [TS]

  all kinds there are so many boxes there [TS]

  are so many instruction manuals and the [TS]

  era of the home recordists produced [TS]

  thousands and thousands of people who [TS]

  could legitimately describe themselves [TS]

  as producers because they have produced [TS]

  albums on their Mac and as they got you [TS]

  know they read the the data they they [TS]

  tested things out they tried they [TS]

  listened to other records they got [TS]

  really good drum sounds they got really [TS]

  good sounds ultimately they were making [TS]

  they were engineering great records or [TS]

  at least not maybe great records but [TS]

  they were they were able to engineer [TS]

  competently confident yeah even records [TS]

  yeah but the there is like all art a [TS]

  thing that cannot be learned that is [TS]

  feel and is emotion and when you're [TS]

  talking to musicians about making a [TS]

  record or when you're shepherding that [TS]

  process you're dealing with this [TS]

  incredible world of like these are this [TS]

  is in some ways like peak ego moments [TS]

  for people but also the place where they [TS]

  are most vulnerable the music is [TS]

  generally like coming from somewhere [TS]

  inside them that they are maybe not in [TS]

  contact with directly that's why it's [TS]

  coming out as music they're using [TS]

  they're they're using their voices [TS]

  they're using their bodies you're [TS]

  dealing with multiple people multiple [TS]

  and everybody's whether they know it or [TS]

  not maybe doesn't know I was gonna say [TS]

  agenda that's not the right way to put [TS]

  it but you know you're expected to rise [TS]

  above you're paid you're compensated to [TS]

  rise above all of that on some [TS]

  you're empowered by somebody to be the [TS]

  project manager for this piece of art [TS]

  which is a lot of responsibility at a [TS]

  crucial level yes and at a crucial level [TS]

  you need to be right down in the blood [TS]

  and guts of it with people because you [TS]

  know there there are million producers [TS]

  out there who have learned to do it on [TS]

  their Mac and they're sitting in the [TS]

  room and they're recording you and the [TS]

  singer go does it take and goes how was [TS]

  that and the person on the other side [TS]

  goes it was good how did it sound to you [TS]

  mm-hmm [TS]

  and that is not that's about as useful [TS]

  as when I say what do you want for [TS]

  dinner and they say whatever you want [TS]

  that's like well you know I'm asking you [TS]

  because I don't want to have to decide [TS]

  this on my own but you ought to be a [TS]

  great editor right you also so it's one [TS]

  thing and I'm not in any way trying to [TS]

  diminish what I'm calling engineering [TS]

  the the the skills and the mechanics of [TS]

  spending years learning how to make [TS]

  sounds in a studio is amazing and [TS]

  certainly you know that through the [TS]

  compressors through the board all [TS]

  through the entire stack that is an [TS]

  entire skill set but then to have mostly [TS]

  mastered that plus be able to say let's [TS]

  leave out that second chorus or let's [TS]

  have the bass do this here or could we [TS]

  try it this way or why don't you go [TS]

  record this in the bathroom or like [TS]

  we're really just being able to say that [TS]

  song is not up to snuff or let's try [TS]

  that vocal one more time that's a very [TS]

  different skill from being able to make [TS]

  something that that doesn't overdrive [TS]

  the speakers what I mean to be able to [TS]

  go from competent to like you're getting [TS]

  into this very hazy cloudy world of like [TS]

  it's very much value judgments well let [TS]

  alone let alone being able to go into [TS]

  the room sit down with a singer and go [TS]

  you know you're singing this from from a [TS]

  place that isn't like reading as [TS]

  completely believable because it feels [TS]

  like you're singing it from from a space [TS]

  where you're examining the you're [TS]

  examining the protagonist [TS]

  and what the song and the song is [TS]

  written in the language as though the [TS]

  protagonist truly believed his situation [TS]

  and not that he was being examined by [TS]

  someone smarter than him so huh you're [TS]

  the singer you've written this song it [TS]

  is in this person's voice and now you're [TS]

  afraid to be that person in the studio [TS]

  and you're thinking you're smarter than [TS]

  that person and now you're here singing [TS]

  it with your tongue in your cheek and [TS]

  it's not reading and to be able to save [TS]

  that kind of thing to a singer in a [TS]

  language because different singers will [TS]

  be able to hear that differently and you [TS]

  need to know the language of the person [TS]

  you're talking to to be able to say [TS]

  something like that to them where they [TS]

  go right and then to be able to say one [TS]

  way that you can accomplish that is to [TS]

  stop having your voice coming from [TS]

  behind your eyeballs and start trying to [TS]

  make your voice come from between your [TS]

  nipples mm-hmm and then walk away you [TS]

  know and and be able to connect the [TS]

  intellectual [TS]

  intellectual [TS]

  perience of like you're not singing this [TS]

  truthfully and then be able to give them [TS]

  a physiological cue that sounds crazy to [TS]

  someone that isn't a singer be like [TS]

  you're putting the music behind your [TS]

  eyes and you need to put it from behind [TS]

  your ears and you say that to a singer [TS]

  you say that to a group of people and [TS]

  they're like what I mean that's like [TS]

  sounds woowoo or it just sounds idiotic [TS]

  but if you say it to a singer and [TS]

  they're in there [TS]

  in front of the microphone and they are [TS]

  like oh shit I was putting it behind my [TS]

  eyes and then they put it behind their [TS]

  ears which wasn't a thing that they'd [TS]

  ever thought of before and it works you [TS]

  know that stuff so it's not like so [TS]

  comparing that job to an engineer is [TS]

  like saying well this guy works on the [TS]

  this guy is like a genius at making this [TS]

  racecar motor run really great so that [TS]

  means that he will probably also be a [TS]

  great team owner who's like and also a [TS]

  great driving instructor and recruiter [TS]

  of drivers who he has to persuade to be [TS]

  on his team yeah they're just it's like [TS]

  it's utterly different but the problem [TS]

  is that that guys who have taught [TS]

  themselves engineering on their max feel [TS]

  insulted by this the suggestion that [TS]

  that what they're doing isn't production [TS]

  because it is and within you know within [TS]

  the hip-hop world if you just make beats [TS]

  you're called a producer like that's [TS]

  actually the name of that job like it's [TS]

  like oh I'm the producer and basically [TS]

  it's because the track is just somebody [TS]

  rhyming over what you built your the 808 [TS]

  estab a you know and you're probably not [TS]

  in that job sitting there working with [TS]

  the vocalist like about whether he's [TS]

  singing it from behind his eyes or not [TS]

  and there are you know like I'm sure [TS]

  that if you're working with Rick Rubin [TS]

  or you're working with dr. Dre they are [TS]

  involved at that level but there's a lot [TS]

  of music that you can just tell it's one [TS]

  of the things when you listen to stuff [TS]

  on the radio as a as a casual listener [TS]

  you're not often conscious of the fact [TS]

  that [TS]

  the problem you're having with a song [TS]

  the reason you don't like it is that the [TS]

  singer isn't isn't believable it within [TS]

  the music that they themselves wrote and [TS]

  it's because they got divorced from they [TS]

  got divorced from what they wrote [TS]

  at some point which isn't hard to do [TS]

  it's easy to get divorced it's why I [TS]

  can't listen to modern country because I [TS]

  don't believe it I don't believe any of [TS]

  it because of because the that vocal [TS]

  style is so affected I recognize it as [TS]

  country I'm not trying to be one of [TS]

  those like Hank Williams guys but like [TS]

  when I hear things that are called [TS]

  country music I'm like wow this I [TS]

  realize things evolved but this sounds [TS]

  so much more like hip-hop than country [TS]

  to me [TS]

  well just in the sense that it's so it [TS]

  is so affect not affected in the way you [TS]

  would think but it's just every single [TS]

  little edge has been shaved off of it [TS]

  and it's auto-tune and super shiny and [TS]

  it sounds like one of those Swedish [TS]

  producers like made a country album but [TS]

  not really like people kept talking [TS]

  about what this is this is the album [TS]

  where Taylor Swift is finally all off of [TS]

  country and and can totally pop and I'm [TS]

  like I don't know man she's been pretty [TS]

  pop for a while yeah right well and I [TS]

  think the difference is that there's not [TS]

  that like that weird drawl a weird draw [TS]

  that's that feels like San Francisco [TS]

  punk bands that sing in English music [TS]

  not just in the affectation of the voice [TS]

  yeah yeah right which is just like oh [TS]

  yeah but Dolph's naked herb lamp lamp [TS]

  lamp and it's like no it's all so corny [TS]

  just adding a pedal steel at the last [TS]

  minute does not make this a country song [TS]

  I heard that on the radio the other day [TS]

  or no I guess I was in a store and some [TS]

  song came on and from the way that this [TS]

  drum sounded I was like how long till [TS]

  the pedal steel I was just counting it [TS]

  down and then there it was like fine and [TS]

  I'm like you know the pedal steel is an [TS]

  incredible instrument I mean it's [TS]

  incredible it's got so much to say and [TS]

  so many different emotions it's awesome [TS]

  if you put if you run it into a [TS]

  distortion box if you run it into a [TS]

  chorus pedal if you run it into [TS]

  delay pedal it can do it's like us it's [TS]

  like a synthesizer I mean it can make so [TS]

  many tones and it's so that it's like [TS]

  it's like the country music saltshaker [TS]

  just it's so criminally underused it's [TS]

  just like wow like oh it's here it is [TS]

  this is a high lonesome song one more [TS]

  high lonesome I mean thinking the [TS]

  highlights [TS]

  think about them the way just a lap [TS]

  steel is used it within Hawaiian music [TS]

  mm-hmm it creates all that spooky whims [TS]

  the sound of Hawaiian music and it's the [TS]

  same it's the same instrument that's [TS]

  being used over here you know wow it's [TS]

  like oh fuck somebody should steal like [TS]

  the great pedal steel player should all [TS]

  march out of Nashville and just go start [TS]

  you know they should just start working [TS]

  with with the t-pain fucking do [TS]

  something else yeah both both sides [TS]

  everybody do something else we're gonna [TS]

  we're gonna flip it here we're gonna [TS]

  flip the switch mix it up a little bit [TS]

  yeah all the all the beat producers go [TS]

  over to Nashville and all the pedal [TS]

  steel players head out to LA into [TS]

  downtown Atlanta [TS]

  so usually when you mention something on [TS]

  the show it's something you've been [TS]

  thinking about for a while I guess [TS]

  sometimes it could be something that's [TS]

  just coming out because you it's [TS]

  occurring to you is there something [TS]

  you've been thinking about for a while [TS]

  did you just recently realize you've [TS]

  been thinking about this for a while I [TS]

  don't think that I I mean I've been [TS]

  thinking about this ever since ever [TS]

  since the the the forth long winters [TS]

  record went off that went off the trail [TS]

  because in the making of the fourth long [TS]

  winters record I was I had evolved to [TS]

  the point where I I felt like I was [TS]

  doing pretty great production work and [TS]

  that production work was such a separate [TS]

  job from my actual job of being the [TS]

  songwriter and the singer and it was in [TS]

  some ways more interesting to me and [TS]

  what ended up happening was [TS]

  I I produced well effectively an [TS]

  instrumental record I never went in and [TS]

  did my vocals and partly it was that I [TS]

  had that the the job of the vocals I had [TS]

  fulfilled with melodic instruments but [TS]

  the record sounded great you know and [TS]

  and I couldn't wait to mix it and it was [TS]

  just this like this frustrating thing [TS]

  that I needed to figure out god I gotta [TS]

  put vocals on this thing and in the end [TS]

  I never did I never put vocals on it [TS]

  that record just sits there unfinished [TS]

  and the experience of of working on that [TS]

  production every day and and in [TS]

  conjunction with Erik Corson who has [TS]

  become now a great producer in his own [TS]

  right and was a great engineer even then [TS]

  it felt like oh you know this is [TS]

  something I could do this is like a this [TS]

  is another thing I could do now right [TS]

  now the idea that in addition to having [TS]

  three unfinished records for podcasts a [TS]

  book deal that I haven't pursued that [TS]

  what I also need to do is throw my hat [TS]

  in the ring as a record producer [TS]

  it's just feels like what I need to do [TS]

  is is figure out a method of finishing [TS]

  things rather than chase down an mother [TS]

  for you that's that's a that's a hell of [TS]

  an insight well I mean it is it's very [TS]

  much of an insight I mean that's that's [TS]

  very that's very practical you know I [TS]

  had this list that's ten years old or 15 [TS]

  years old of all the things that I I [TS]

  mean I've been trying to finish that [TS]

  record for ten years I've been trying to [TS]

  finish that book for [TS]

  20 years mmm and there was graduate from [TS]

  college was also on that list for 20 [TS]

  years yeah I graduate from college I got [TS]

  to finish that book I got to finish that [TS]

  album and every morning I would wake up [TS]

  and there was no I never had a small [TS]

  list like get your pants on get some [TS]

  make some toast get out of the house you [TS]

  know at the end of every day I never had [TS]

  a list that I could that I could look at [TS]

  and say I checked everything off that [TS]

  list good job at the end of every day [TS]

  the only list I had was graduate from [TS]

  college finished that book finished that [TS]

  album and so at the end of every day all [TS]

  I ever looked at was a list that seemed [TS]

  real simple right it only had three [TS]

  items on it and they were all items that [TS]

  you know it it wasn't like start writing [TS]

  that book it was you up 450 pages [TS]

  written just to finish it huh as a [TS]

  retired productivity group guru I'll [TS]

  tell you those are not easy items no I [TS]

  know because I spent 15 years looking at [TS]

  that 3 item list and it was a drag to [TS]

  never be able to check a single thing [TS]

  off of a list and I didn't I didn't [TS]

  understand the thought technology of [TS]

  like make a stupid list of things and [TS]

  check them off and you'll feel good [TS]

  about yourself at the end of the day and [TS]

  also I've never been able to complete a [TS]

  project by making small manageable [TS]

  choices like all you need to do today is [TS]

  go in and cross all the T's and dot all [TS]

  the icer all you need to do today is [TS]

  write 500 words or you know I've never [TS]

  been good at that well so last year 2016 [TS]

  I think 2000 at December of 2015 I got [TS]

  that letter in the mail an envelope from [TS]

  the University of Washington that shaped [TS]

  like a diploma have I told you this no I [TS]

  got an I got a diploma shaped manila [TS]

  envelope from the University of [TS]

  Washington so far so good [TS]

  and I looked at it I was like there's [TS]

  not that many things this could be and I [TS]

  think it is my diploma I think I have [TS]

  graduated from the University did it [TS]

  take you this long to open it my god I [TS]

  would have torn that open well I've [TS]

  never opened oh I put it on the I put it [TS]

  on the bookshelf and it's still there [TS]

  Wow and I look at it maybe not every day [TS]

  but it's right there it's like [TS]

  Schrodinger's diploma it is that's [TS]

  exactly right inside that envelope I [TS]

  think is a diploma I think if I went [TS]

  online I could probably find out whether [TS]

  or not I had graduated but I don't I'm [TS]

  not interested in doing that either and [TS]

  as far as I know until I open that [TS]

  envelope it's not official I don't know [TS]

  seems reasonable uh-huh I've never seen [TS]

  a diploma I don't even know what it [TS]

  would say what I don't even know what it [TS]

  like what do they look like even yeah is [TS]

  it gonna say like graduated with honors [TS]

  is it gonna say like barely eked by is [TS]

  it gonna say spent twenty four years in [TS]

  college white ribbon the white ribbon [TS]

  well I'll speak for the audience why do [TS]

  you suppose you haven't opened it [TS]

  because you want it you want it to stay [TS]

  a cat that could be alive or dead uh I [TS]

  don't know I mean it might be that it [TS]

  might be that if I open it then I will [TS]

  check one of those three things off the [TS]

  list I'll scratch one of those three [TS]

  things off the list and it will it will [TS]

  both make the other two things seem even [TS]

  like even starker now there's only two [TS]

  things on the list but also you know to [TS]

  carry around because it's not like I [TS]

  just [TS]

  it's not like I waited 15 years to [TS]

  graduate from college [TS]

  I've waited 30 years to graduate from [TS]

  college like I went into Gonzaga [TS]

  University as a freshman in September of [TS]

  1987 and that's 30 years ago but I was [TS]

  thinking about going to college when I [TS]

  was 10 [TS]

  yeah in 1977 and so to have graduated [TS]

  and to have a diploma that's like there [TS]

  it is University of Washington it's not [TS]

  like you're ever going it's not like you [TS]

  have needed it right I'm 49 years old [TS]

  and I have never needed it and I feel [TS]

  like opening it and looking at it and [TS]

  having accomplished it like all those [TS]

  times in my life when I when having it [TS]

  would have like when my dad was alive if [TS]

  I had been able to to show it to him and [TS]

  say like I graduated from the University [TS]

  of Washington it would have meant [TS]

  something to him it would have meant [TS]

  something to my uncles but now I just [TS]

  I'm afraid of feeling underwhelmed I'm [TS]

  afraid of it being like yeah yeah there [TS]

  it was you always knew you could is that [TS]

  all there is [TS]

  yeah is there any chance it could be the [TS]

  opposite of a diploma is there any part [TS]

  of your mind that worries that it's a [TS]

  big piece of paper that says your window [TS]

  is closed or do you something tells you [TS]

  that it's a diploma apart from the shape [TS]

  well yeah because because because that [TS]

  fall my the director of the comparative [TS]

  history of ideas department John tabes [TS]

  who took over in that role after Jim [TS]

  Klaus died although John tapes was [TS]

  always gym classes advisor gym class is [TS]

  that the guy you were gonna go start a [TS]

  civilization with that's right yeah [TS]

  that's right [TS]

  and Jim Klaus died suddenly and John [TS]

  tapes who had been his mentor decided [TS]

  that rather than let the chit Department [TS]

  either dissolve or fall into the hands [TS]

  of a young unexperienced or [TS]

  inexperienced professor John tabes was [TS]

  like okay all right I'll be the shepherd [TS]

  and guide Wow he's a pro he was a [TS]

  prominent AG alien John tames and and [TS]

  that fit in with you know what Jude did [TS]

  and John was a friend and a mentor to me [TS]

  and he called me and said I'm retiring [TS]

  from the University and when I go I'm [TS]

  the last living link to anyone who ever [TS]

  taught you or like like actually saw you [TS]

  as a living person rather than as a [TS]

  ghostly shamira that hovers over the [TS]

  chid Department like you know like I'm a [TS]

  I'm a Griffin right like just some [TS]

  winged lion and he said if I retire all [TS]

  these little weird addenda that are [TS]

  attached to all the pieces of paper in [TS]

  your file all the post-it notes that say [TS]

  well this looks like that but in [TS]

  actuality it's this because he did that [TS]

  and then this see somebody promised him [TS]

  this and and you know and there's like [TS]

  dog tags in there and there's like so a [TS]

  lock of somebody's hair you know like my [TS]

  do you feel like he was spinning it as [TS]

  like nah this is this is the time thing [TS]

  you need to do now oh he wasn't spinning [TS]

  it he said it directly like let's give [TS]

  these don't if you don't graduate now [TS]

  it's going to be hard later to find [TS]

  anybody who's gonna believe it and you [TS]

  just need to like you've had enough [TS]

  credits to graduate since 2001 you've [TS]

  been putting it off for whatever a [TS]

  thousand reasons you know Jim Klaus like [TS]

  I went to see him in the hospital and he [TS]

  said don't don't not graduate because [TS]

  it's not perfect like don't fail to [TS]

  graduate because you think that you need [TS]

  it all to be perfect [TS]

  just do it just hand in your shit and [TS]

  get out and I said you know and he's [TS]

  like you know he's in the hospital on [TS]

  his way and I said Jim I can't you know [TS]

  I can't do that I'm telling you I'm [TS]

  telling you you understand how parts of [TS]

  college work but there are some parts [TS]

  you understand there are other parts you [TS]

  don't seem to fully grasp yet that the [TS]

  idea is to be done with college yeah you [TS]

  need to you need to not like these poor [TS]

  people crazy [TS]

  and let's just say to them it did it did [TS]

  it did it drove them crazy they were [TS]

  like for all the effort that you've put [TS]

  into this you can have four graduate [TS]

  degrees why are you still here and I was [TS]

  like that's nice you know I just have [TS]

  this one other thing I want to do things [TS]

  in the hospital like he's he's like this [TS]

  is my deathbed command to you all Jesus [TS]

  and I said you know I read a lot of [TS]

  talking but I think you're not supposed [TS]

  to refuse that I think if you get a [TS]

  deathbed command for somebody used to [TS]

  instruct you I think you're something [TS]

  you're expected to follow it well the [TS]

  thing is you I think you're if you say [TS]

  yes sir and then defy the the promise [TS]

  then you yes you know what you're [TS]

  probably right but I sat there in the [TS]

  chair an argument I never agreed to this [TS]

  yeah to graduate from you're gonna stay [TS]

  here until it's perfect [TS]

  so James James had me come down to the [TS]

  college and you know and there's like [TS]

  upon the chid department wall there's a [TS]

  long winters poster you know it's like i [TS]

  am a samara or i am like a race a race [TS]

  maybe haunt a grandfather clock or [TS]

  something but i went down and i sat [TS]

  there and we all laughed and and we had [TS]

  we had some fun we had you know we had [TS]

  some laughs and and my memory is hazy [TS]

  but but i feel very [TS]

  certain because there was all this [TS]

  there's all this stuff that needed to [TS]

  happen right I mean I was like well I've [TS]

  wanted I wanted to hand in that I had [TS]

  that thing about marks that I was [TS]

  working on and I just wanted to like [TS]

  make some modifications to it and all [TS]

  this stuff you know that I had that I [TS]

  needed to do before I would and I think [TS]

  in as I was sitting there describing it [TS]

  like he put he kept putting papers in [TS]

  front of me and he had me sign something [TS]

  that I think eventually produced this [TS]

  envelope arriving in the mail Oh got a [TS]

  little bit gaslighted I got a little bit [TS]

  even realize you're graduating that's [TS]

  not fair [TS]

  well and so and then so I got a Facebook [TS]

  message from someone at the University [TS]

  one time that said congratulations [TS]

  that's someone in the chit Department [TS]

  Facebook message and it wasn't even a [TS]

  message it was like posted on my page [TS]

  and your well yeah and I wrote and I and [TS]

  I commented and I was like for what [TS]

  and they commented back oh never mom [TS]

  you'll see and so that's all that's all [TS]

  the evidence I have but when that [TS]

  envelope arrived I like it had a kind of [TS]

  you know it had a little it had icicles [TS]

  on it like it felt like wow what is so I [TS]

  knew I knew a not to open it I knew B [TS]

  not to throw it away so I so it's it's [TS]

  on the bookshelf maybe that's a good [TS]

  idea I like that I like that man you [TS]

  know me lately in your and your papers [TS]

  right you leave behind some instructions [TS]

  about what's to be done in the unlikely [TS]

  event of your death you're allowed to do [TS]

  with the framed envelope right I don't I [TS]

  got tell you buddy I like this idea a [TS]

  lot fraying the envelope I'm worried [TS]

  that framing the envelope is a weird [TS]

  affectation like I I worry already that [TS]

  not opening it is weird yeah but I feel [TS]

  like framing it it but that feels right [TS]

  to do but it also feels like [TS]

  now you know your hanging stuff on the [TS]

  walls in your house that you're hoping [TS]

  people ask about that would be weird to [TS]

  hang the envelope you should just leave [TS]

  your diploma on open [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  [Laughter] [TS]