Producer Nigel Godrich has been doing some rare interviews of late promoting his From The Basement live sessions and lots of interesting bits are showing up about his work with Radiohead, Beck, and many more top artists. In a talk with Drowned In Sound’s Rob Webb, Godrich answered some questions from messageboard users, including his opinion on auto-tune, his favorite producers, and the story behind the aborted sessions for The Strokes’ second album.
The Strokes enlisted Godrich to work on the follow-up to their breakthrough debut Is This It back in 2002, but they parted ways very early in the process, with the band calling the sessions “soulless.” Godrich elaborated on the scrapped project with DIS, saying there were just too many cooks in the kitchen. “You know, the problem there was that me and Julian [Casablancas] are just too similar, we’re both control freaks,” he said. “He wanted to do it his way, I wanted to do it my way, and obviously that’s the point of me being there. And I’m saying ‘Well, why am I here if you’re not prepared to try and do it the way I want to do it?’” Godrich goes on to praise the band’s first two albums, adding, “my ambition was for them to change, so that they would remain that force, and I felt like if they didn’t then they’d have nowhere to go. I think it kind of happened, but not really.”
So he liked Room on Fire, but on their last album, First Impressions of Earth, Godrich sounds off: “I didn’t like it. Nobody liked it! It was a reaction, and that was exactly my point. The second record you could be bold and do what the fuck you want, you could do anything, and by the time it got to the third record it felt a little bit apologetic, like they were trying to make themselves into something they weren’t, trying to regain that ground.”