In occasione dei 50 anni del mastermind engineer Steve Albini riproponiamo una inaspettatamente ricca intervista al magazine GQ.com raccolta da Aaron Lake Smith nell’ottobre 2010. Si inizia parlando dell’ATP di New York, cui gli Shellac hanno partecipato dopo storiche reticenze verso i festival in generale – “Very early on in Shellac’s existence we decided we weren’t going to play festivals because they were so unpleasant. And then Barry Hogan who runs ATP contacted us. For the first ATP, we just said ‘No, we don’t do festivals’. But then we got contacted again by Mogwai, who were curating the second All Tomorrow’s Parties. They convinced us that it would be at least worth an experiment to see if it was a different experience”.
Quindi il tasto dolente toccato alla domanda sulla trasformazione di una band da “indie” a “mainstream”, cui Albini non si sottrae ma anzi rilancia – “I’m not really interested in participating in mainstream culture. Participating in the mainstream music business is, to me, like getting involved in a racket. You’re another catalog item, another name on the list of people who are collaborating with the enemy. That’s the kind of choice I never want to have to make for myself. If I had been approached by a big record label when I was eighteen years old, after I had just made my first demo that happens quite often now, bands get approached quite young. I have no doubt whatsoever I would have signed the first thing anybody waggled in front of my nose”.
Il passo verso l’argomento Sonic Youth, e del loro passaggio ad una major, è stato quanto mai breve (risposta che è stata “stralciata” e data in pasto a molti media) – “I don’t know the exact circumstances of Sonic Youth’s decision, so I’m not comfortable saying they did it wrong. But a lot of the things they were involved with as part of the mainstream were distasteful to me. And a lot of the things that happened as a direct result of their association with the mainstream music industry gave credibility to some of the nonsense notions that hover around the star-making machinery. They chose to join the mainstream culture and become a foot soldier for that culture’s encroachment into my neck of the woods by acting as scouts. I thought it was crass and I thought it reflected poorly on them. I still consider them friends and their music has its own integrity, but that kind of behavior. I can’t say that I think it’s not embarrassing for them. I think they should be embarrassed about it”.
L’Albini pensiero volge poi all’epoca della musica su internet, iTunes, Pitchfork e vari “viral trends” – “This is a terrific time to be in a band. Every band has access to the entire world by default. It’s an incredible tool. It’s also revived the careers of a lot of bands that came before the Internet era and never had enough penetration to find their natural audience. An awful lot of bands that had no audience in their first incarnation were able to revive their careers and have a second lap”.
E sul passato? Cosa avrebbe voluto vedere Steve Albini? Presto detto – “Seeing The Stooges play Fun House was pretty amazing. Seeing them play Raw Power was also great, but Fun House is a very special record for me”. Il pensiero corre a John Peel e alla sua grande “opera” che non riuscirà probabilmente mai ad essere bissata – “One of the things that made John Peel so valuable was that he had decades of archived material and sessions of bands that had played live and were only ever heard on the John Peel show. His work ethic was absolutely incredible. He made it a point of pride to listen to every record that anyone sent him. He would listen literally to dozens of records a day. He said something once that I thought was really profound: He said that no one would bother making a record and sending it to him if they thought it was shitty”.
Così parlò Steve Albini.