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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Daniel Lanois on Neil Young | Pop Matters

Neil Young and Daniel Lanois - August 2013 
Photo by Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
(Click photo to enlarge)


Producer-musician Daniel Lanois worked so closely with Neil Young on his 2010 album 'Le Noise' that Neil named the album after him.

From "Daniel Lanois Still Believes in Magic"  | Pop Matters the legendary producer Daniel Lanois discusses U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, his new instrumental album, and how he still lets the music guide him.

How did Neil Young approach you, and how was his Le Noise project conceived?

Daniel Lanois: I was working with [Young’s manager] Elliott Roberts at the time, a great man who’s no longer with us.

I said to Elliott at dinner one night, “Man, I always want to make a record with Neil Young.” I didn’t think too much more about it. The next day, the phone rang. It was Bonnie from Neil’s office: “I have Neil Young on the phone for Daniel Lanois.” So I took the call, and he asked if I would record him playing and singing ten acoustic songs and if I would film him as well because I was making films in those days. 

I had done some films with the band I had assembled at the time called Black Dub. We made some films in the front room of a beautiful estate in Los Angeles. Neil saw those, and they were a little bit noir, in the sense that there were no edits. It was one camera for the entire song as if the performance was witnessed by one pair of eyes. He appreciated that we were telling the song’s story with the camera. That’s how it started. And I said, “Ok. Come to my house. It’s a beautiful place.” We set up all the stuff. And that’s how it happened, except we expanded and went a little more electric. 

We had a little bit of a joke going because we’re both from Canada. I had a nickname, and he had a nickname while we were working. I called him “Pinecone Young”. And I got called “Le Noise”. All I ever do is fucking noise [laughs]. So we’d send little messages back and forth. I’d sign mine “Le Noise”, and he’d sign his “Pinecone Young”. We just had that little bit of Canadian humor throughout the process. 

He’s a very sweet man. I love him. A deep imagination. 

In the end, that’s what we love about records when they have something unique about them.

Full interview @ "Daniel Lanois Still Believes in Magic"  | Pop Matters 

More on “Pinecone Young” & “Le Noise" @  Daniel Lanois & Neil Young and their musical collaborations.


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