June 25, 2009 at 2:27 pm #51116
Dave Schools Interviews J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.
Do you find it harder or easier to have a deadline when recording? For me it is sometimes
easier to have a deadline, otherwise the songs keep evolving.
We had a time crunch with Farm. [Drummer]Murph usually needs a little while to regurgitate the material,
so we had to force it along. It was harder because we had to learn the songs faster, but in the end it came out good.
Was there any songwriting collaboration between you, [bassist] Lou Barlow and Murph—or were the
individual songs brought in by each member?
Not much collaboration. I come up with the drums because I hear it as part of the song when I am writing
and then I have to teach that to Murph. The bass I don’t really hear—so Lou can do whatever. Lou’s songs are a little more loose. We actually have to jam a little with him to get [the songs] going.
Would you be happier with the end of result if you played all of the parts yourself?
I don’t know. Maybe I would be happier, but I don’t know if [the music] would sound better. The energy of the different members adds a lot to the recordings.
So is there a group dynamic now, as opposed to the mid-Dino era where you were playing the majority of the instruments?
[Former bassist] Mike Johnson was always a big part of recordings, though for some reason no one liked to give him credit. On Green Mind I ended up playing some of the drums because Murph couldn’t really
learn them in the time we had. But with the other [mid-period] albums, Mike was a big part of it.
You produced Farm. Do you find it hard to be objective as a producer?
With John Agnello mixing, I don’t feel like I have to babysit him. He does a lot of it first, and then I just kind of check in. And it’s good ‘cause he kind of knows what I like, so I don’t have to micromanage the mix or anything.
Who are some people you consider to be great guitarists?
Everyone’s like “Oh, Duane, Duane.” But if I had to be serious, I would have to say I like Derek Trucks better then Duane. I like Duane Allman, but something about Derek Trucks is more mind-boggling to me. I think maybe he can benefit from listening to The Wipers or something—let’s see—if all his influences are from old guys or something. I feel like maybe he should hear some music that was made later in the century. I don’t know if he’s had any people turn him on to different stuff like that.
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