Daniel Lanois' incredible career as a musician and producer so far is often cited as an inspiration by others, but is he now able to pick favourites? "You're asking me to choose my favourite child," he responds to Produce Like A Pro's Warren Huart in a fascinating new interview that's a must-see.
"When enough time has gone by and [there's an] on and off chance I get to hear my work from back in the day, maybe at a shop or somebody's house, it's then that I have a better understanding of what's it's all about," begins Lanois.
And many will share his first choice.
"I've enjoyed the Achtung Baby U2 record because it's a great rock n' roll record but with very inventive and unusual tops; melodies and harmonies and so on. So that one is dear to me."
"I like the Dylan records I made, Lanois continues. But it isn't 1997's celebrated Time Out Of Mind that the Canadian chooses as the first highlight. "There's a real smokiness to the first one we made together," says Lanois. "It's called Oh Mercy. It's got that real nighttime New Orleans sound."
Lanois also contributed dobro, lap steel, guitar, omnichord and bass throughout the album. His musician and producer mindset giving him perspective that is continuously creatively inspiring.
"Maybe it's best to talk about how flavours were captured and how we got there, and whether we were able to snap the camera just at the right time of performance," adds Lanois as he reflects on why these two albums are special from him.
"I mean they're called records for a reason; you're making a record of something that exists at a certain time. And we can never go back and be those people again so that's the responsibility and we want to capture the magic, do something special. It belongs to that time. We thank our lucky stars and then move on. Then a decade later we can't go back to that.
"So the records that I love are the ones that are a proper representation of the people of that time, in that place. Let them live on. And they're never dated. There might be naive spirit that shines through but that's good. I mean, you can't say let's go in and be naive can you?" laughs Lanois. "You go in and you do the best you can and then maybe a decade later you say, well we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We did the best we could with what we had and there's a bit of a naive flavour."
Achtung Baby saw Lanois team with Brian Eno and the former elaborated on how they complement each other in the creative studio environment.
"We strive for the same goals, we're just constantly on the lookout for something special," he explains. "So we have that in common. He's a very inventive man, Eno, so that's what I love about him and he brings that out in me. Then I can facilitate a direction more quickly because I've got a few tricks up my sleeve musically and technologically."