Chic legend Nile Rodgers has been speaking to The Daily Star’s Wired column about AI and the wider relationship between technology and music.
The guitarist compares the panic surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence with the music industry’s initial fear of drum machines, samplers and computers, all pieces of technology that it’s subsequently come to embrace.
“I hear people talking about fake stuff,” says Rodgers. “That sounds like noise to me. That sounds like the noise we've been hearing all our lives.
"The drum machine and sequencer have been wonderful tools. There are bands that could never have had a record if it wasn't for a sequencer.”
Citing Avicii as an example of someone for whom technology was an asset, Rodgers says: “I used to work with Avicii and Avicii didn’t understand tertiary harmony. He would write the most beautiful songs without knowing what he was doing - his ear was telling him what to do.
“How could he do it? Because he had gear. His gear allowed him to do that. His equipment allowed him to express himself.”
Rodgers and Avicii (Tim Bergling) recorded together back in 2013, but their collaborations remain unreleased. Avicii died in 2018, aged just 28.
Looking ahead, Rodgers believes that, as far as AI is concerned, “you have to let artists figure out what’s right,” adding that “In a weird way I think it’s a big deal out of nothing, but it may be something wonderful.”