Kanye’s received some pretty amazing reviews for his newest record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. So much that some are calling this a perfect album! In my opinion if it comes on red vinyl then, and only then, will it be perfect.
Any way, Complex magazine has an in depth look at the making of the record, as the writer Noah Callahan-Bever spent intense time in Hawaii with Kanye. The story is worth a read from start to finish, it’s quite the look at this man. But I’ve taken a few choice nuggets of wisdom if you too are going to make a perfect record.
Kanye’s Studio Rules:
- No tweeting
- No hipster hats
- All laptops on mute
- No blogging
- Just shut the fuck up sometimes
- No negative blog viewing
- Don’t tell anyone anything about anything we are doing!
- No Pictures
- No Acoustic Guitar in the studio
- total Focus on this project in all studios
- no racking(?) focus while music is being played or music is being made
Some interesting and funny choices, yet what’s even more revealing is the frantic and determined pace of work that Kanye employs. Reading the Complex story you can understand what kind of work ethic it takes to put together such a focused body of work.
+ Meanwhile, Kanye stares at his laptop, jumping between email and 15 open windows of art references in his browser. He polls those assembled on how risqué is too risqué for his blog, and occasionally barks mixing orders at the engineer, tuning subtle parts of the beat—all without breaking eye contact from his computer. This is how he works: all-A.D.D. everything.
+ During my five days in Hawaii, Kanye never slept at his house, or even in a bed. He would, er, power-nap in a studio chair or couch here and there in 90-minute intervals, working through the night. Engineers remained behind the boards 24 hours a day.
+We talk about Kanye’s album: what it has to mean, and what it has to accomplish…With the right songs and the right album, he can overcome any and all controversy, and we are here to contribute, challenge, and inspire.
+You get the feeling it’s addition by subtraction with him—the demonstration of what he doesn’t like illuminates what he does like. (More here)
I really got a sense that a focus on great, meaningful, songwriting drove this record.
Which brings us to great quote from Kid Cudi who said “Leaving Hawaii, I just saw that there was a formula that I wanted to apply to get my shit together.” That formula is a focus on the songs and a focus on the art. The rest will come together much easier if you’ve got great music to back it up.
Take Control of Your Music