The Combined Talents of Steve Albini


As a member of Big Black, Rapeman, and Flour and Shellac, Steve Albini knows a thing or two about being in bands.

As the producer of albums by Nirvana, Pixies, Breeders, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, The Wedding Present, Joanna Newsom, Manic Street Preachers, Jarvis Cocker, The Membranes, Cheap Trick and countless others, he also knows more than a thing or two about how to master a recording studio.

Steve brought his combined talents to bear on a Masterclass session at BIMM Dublin last month, where the enormous range of topics reflected the breadth of his musical experience.

Tutor Daniel Finnegan hosted the session, where Steve discussed how he has maintained his enthusiasm for producing music throughout a long career – his top tip is reading ‘The Economist’ to break the monotony of multiple guitar takes!

His love for the craft of recording shone through:

“My principal obligation to the bands that I record is that their music will survive… When a band is into it, if they’re stoked about it, they will generally make a great record.”

Steve gave considered responses on topics like streaming and digital downloads, music management and recording contracts. On the subject of digital vs. analogue, he described his admiration for digital sound quality but his ongoing affection for genuine analogue artefacts, like tape reels that can’t be deleted with a click!

For students in bands, Steve also had some to-the-point advice, namely:

”Stick with people who think like you do!”

The host, Daniel spoke about the Masterclass:

“Steve’s philosophy is amazing, it’s the whole reason I got into the industry so it was kind of surreal to be interviewing him!”

Sam Killeen, BA4 student said:

“It was insightful and so straightforward. He has a really admirable ethos towards the music scene.”

Alumni Matthew Keating agreed:

“It was amazing. Insightful and honest. He has such a great perspective on the role of a producer.”

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POSTED ON: March 2, 2016
  • Dublin, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Music Production, Vocals