Coming back from Red Robin after lunch, I expected some extreme stomach stretching and leaning back in my chair, what I did NOT anticipate was meeting Daniel Lanois! Cory, Mike, Nelson, and I walk up and make our introductions to which Daniel puts his arm around me and says “Now what are you doing hanging out with these bozos?” and jokingly starts leading me away. I knew then that he was going be super cool to get to hang out with. I stuck around with them while he received a tour of the S.N. Shure theater and then it wasn’t till a couple hours later that I met up with him again, this time in the PLC.
Cory shot me a text that said “Hey, so how do you feel about interviewing Daniel Lanois?” and of course I was like “Yeah, let’s do it, why not?” so I go down there and they give me the questions to ask him and I add some notes from stuff I knew and had read about Daniel and in I went to interview the producer who worked with U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel and more. Not intimidating in the least bit, and you know I could say that sarcastically, but I really mean that…Daniel was so at ease and so relaxed, it made me relaxed and definitely took the intimidation factor out of the picture. The whole thing had a very conversational aspect to it, and it was a pleasure being able to talk to him and hear about the kind of strategies he has when it comes to producing and creating music. The guy is a true artist and visionary, which we saw even more of later that evening when Mark Brunner interviewed him for the official shebang sponsored by NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences). In this interview we learned about his life and history, taking us from his days as a paper boy and fascination with industry, production and nature, to his work with the legends.
It was pretty incredible and fascinating to hear how he discovered and created these unique ambient sounds. You could just see the passion for sound seeping out of him in every action and every word. It was really an inspiring interview, just him continuously talking about how he was just this little French Canadian kid just following his dream and doing what he loved. My brother told me something wise once; he said, “Don’t have dreams, have visions.” I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.
You could look at dreams and visions and say “What’s the difference?” But I think the key difference is with dreams you get this sense of distance and things that maybe aren’t reality, just imagining your future, but with vision, you’re seeing it happen. You look at your future and you know that x, y, and z are what you have to do to be where you want. For Daniel, I think x was walking into a music store one day instead of going to the cinema like he typically did, y was deciding to quit school and focus on his skills producing, and z was meeting and working with Brian Eno.
I really admire his bravery, it’s a scary thing to quit something stable, such as school, to go after something so uncertain, but that’s where I think passion comes in. I think if you are following your passion and where it’s leading you, you will find stability in some form or another. Stability may not be millions of dollars, stability may be happiness, it may be relationships you’ve developed. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to go into something with one specific end result in mind, such as making big bucks, because most of the time, we don’t end up where we dreamed we would, but we end up where we were meant to be.
Daniel is a great inspiration to me, coming from a small rural community. I’ve always had these big dreams that I haven’t really known what to do with! I think the key is turning those dreams into visions, following our passions and “Not being afraid to be great,” like Nelson always tells me. Overall Daniel Lanois was a great guy to get to hang out with for the day and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to hear about his life and projects!
Watch the Shure interview here!