An Excellent Red Bull Music Academy Interview With Seattle Producer/Musician Randall Dunn
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Red Bull Music Academy continues its long winning streak with a revealing interview with Randall Dunn, keyboardist for 2012 Stranger Genius Award contenders Master Musicians of Bukkake and a highly sought-after producer who’s worked on recordings by Sunn O))), Akron/Family, Oren Ambarchi, Marisa Nadler, Midday Veil, Rose Windows, Stranger Genius Award winners Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney, and many others. He is renowned for his ability to inspire exceptional performances from musicians and for suggesting brilliant ideas that had not occurred to the bands entering his studio (these days mostly at Avast!).
Here's a great exchange with interviewer Joseph Stannard:
RBMA: Regarding the “intersectionality of concepts” you mention, do your philosophical interests inform and influence what you do in the studio?
Dunn: I think my study of Buddhism and psychology, for sure, that’s something I can’t remove from my consciousness. That’s something that intersects all the time. Like non-attachment, a sense of “Let’s rearrange the song” or “Let’s not be attached to the sound.” I try to look at things in a way that’s fluid and changing, because that’s what music is. It’s kind of like trying to learn the ineffable, it’s hard to explain.
These days I’m really trying not to make statements that are solid, or can be taken as solid, when I’m making a record. I can say, “I think this is like this and this is why” and I can have that opinion, but I’m trying to be more open. “Well, that’s my opinion, but we can look at it from another angle or a different way.” You can see the music or hear the music in a different way all the time, while you’re creating it. Instead of it just being an execution or an assembly line of ideas. It can be this thing that becomes something greater than the artists knew, or even the music had thought it was.