Steve Albini’s Reddit AMA is Super Reasonable, Funny, Informative

05/10/2012 3:35 PM |


I am not a Reddit user. I’m not entirely sure what it is for, to be honest. It seems like it is simultaneously everything and nothing? Do I have that right?

Anyway, one of the things that it is obviously for is AMAs, or “Ask Me Anything” sessions in which figures of note face the commenting masses to, you know, answer questions. Stereogum points to a recent one with alt-rock production god Steve Albini, a shaping force on way too many great records to even list. Albini’s chat is as no-bullshit, and occasionally hilarious as you might expect. There are too many golden snippets to comprehensively list (he liked St. Vincent’s Big Black cover too! He gives out the chords to “Kerosene”! He is not interested in marketing a line of plush “Steve Albini Baby” dolls! He has opinions on pizza!) but here’s a few bits of non-snarky wisdom:

Hi Steve, you may have answered this many times previously, but I was wondering why do you prefer analog over digital?

Digital recording systems engender a kind of production that is overly concerned with editing and manipulating the sound after recording, rather than concentrating on recording music in a flattering manner to begin with. I don’t like the way this perspective tends to flatten out performance nuance. That’s the aesthetic problem I have with it.

From a professional perspective I don’t like the way digital recordings don’t leave a permanent archival master, just a bunch of files. The recordings are at risk of disappearing as computer and storage standards change, and I think music is too important to the people who made it to put it on a system that guarantees its eventual disappearance. I’m glad that some old music survived long enough for me to hear it, and I’d like to give my clients the prospect of having their music physically survive long enough to find an audience.


Do you have a viewpoint on the streaming vs. physical media debate?

Sure. For anything that matters and I’ll want to have around forever, I want a record. For casual listening I think streams are great. Super convenient both for listeners and bands trying to get their music out. If you’re talking about money, then I side with the listeners. I don’t think you should have to pay to listen to something. That just seems like a normal, decent position.

Indeed. Of course, there’s some snarky ones too:

Love your work etc blah blah…so…the pixies. what five words would you use to sum up your time/work with them?

Five words? That’s going to

Ha. Also:

What’s the craziest thing a band has done in the studio?

I saw a guy turn down a beer once.

Just scratching the surface here, the whole thing is well worth a read.