Interview with NICK LAUNAY, producer for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, The Cribs
"It was like [the Yeah Yeah Yeahs] deliberately didn't have a fixed plan. No rehearsals - it was all about just going in and creating."
The years have yet to dim the passion and rebellion in the heart of producer Nick Launay. Almost three decades after having first made his name in the post-punk era by helping crystallise the reactionary roar of Public Image Ltd, Birthday Party, Midnight Oil, Gang of Four and others, he's still the man to call on for wild and visceral thrills, as evidenced by recent defining records by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (USA Top 20 & UK Top 10), Nick Cave (UK, AUS & GER Top 10), Grinderman and, most recently, The Cribs (UK Top 10).
After adding former Smith Johnny Marr into the mix of mayhem surrounding The Cribs, it looks like the British band has managed to latch on to another opportunity that could skyrocket them into musical maturation; working with acclaimed producer Nick Launay on their next studio album.
With Marr now co-writing songs, the British brother band — who have quite the "cult following" in the U.K. — have test drove some of the new material for the album on a few dates of their recent, short UK tour.
Thirty years into his career, London-born, LA-based producer Nick Launay has never been more in demand. From early work on key albums by the likes of PIL and Kate Bush, Launay's most recent credits include Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, Supergrass's Diamond Hoo Ha and Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. But if the leap from Bush to Cave suggests a desire to work with an eclectic range of musicians, former punk rocker Launay believes that one quality unites all of the artists he has worked with: a hunger for experimentation and a certain non-conformist attitude. "My taste in music still to this day is the more adventurous, anarchistic, go-against-the-rules kind of music," he says. "Those are the bands I choose to work with — the ones that are trying to do something different, trying to get a reaction, trying to make people think."
Some people work fastidiously to build a career while others naturally fall into one. For Nick Launay, his transformation from British punk to respected music producer with a perennial punk spirit was kismet — pure and simple. Born in England but raised in Spain between the ages nine and 16, Launay returned to England when the punk movement exploded in the late '70s. Entranced by the scene and inspired by his lifelong passion for music, he decided that he wanted to make records.