In a massive interview with Newsweek, producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin opened up about working with Kanye West, discovering hip-hop, producing records for Johnny Cash, and a myriad of other topics.
After receiving a call from Kanye West and agreeing to listen to his most recent album, Yeezus, Rubin had Kanye over.
What did the album sound like at that point?
"Kind of meandering, unfocused, usually without his vocals. I assumed that the album was scheduled to come out next year. So I said, “When are you thinking of finishing up?” And he said, “It’s coming out in five weeks.” Like completely confident and fine.
...We ended up working probably 15 days, 16 days, long hours, no days off, 15 hours a day. I was panicked the whole time."
Rubin also recalls some of his earliest rock and roll memories.
What is it about the Beatles? What made them work?
"It transcends everything. It’s much bigger than four kids from Liverpool. For me the Beatles are proof of the existence of God. It’s so good and so far beyond everyone else that it’s not them."
And talks founding American Records and getting in touch with Johnny Cash.
"The first person I thought of was Johnny Cash. He was playing a dinner theater in Orange County. I went to see the show. He was great. Met him after the show, and I said, “Look, maybe we can make music together.” And he said, “You really want to do that?” I think he felt like he had absolutely nothing to lose. He had been dropped by his label. In his mind, his best work was 25 years before. He’d really given up on himself as a recording artist."
Check out the full interview here, including insights into The Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a lot more.