As a member of seminal hardcore punk bands The Teen Idles, Minor Threat and Fugazi, and a founder of the pioneering indie label, Dischord Records, Ian MacKaye led a musical movement out of Washington, D.C. in the early 80s that continues to ignite and inspire bands all over the world.
With Dischord as its engine, the D.C. hardcore and post-hardcore punk scene generated bands like Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses, Jawbox, Shudder to Think, Fugazi, Q and Not You, Faraquet and Beauty Pill.
The label and the bands, and MacKaye himself, came to stand for a DIY ethic about music distribution and recording before things like Pro Tools and Kickstarter made it easy to be DIY. This was also the scene that spawned our own InputOutput hosts, Eli Janney and Geoff Sanoff – they came up playing in and eventually recording bands out of D.C., looking up to MacKaye and engineers and producers like Don Zientara and Ted Nicely.
On this episode of InputOutput, Geoff and Eli reconnect with MacKaye for an in-depth conversation about his life as a musician and a producer, what inspires him, his relationship with technology, his approach to production (John Frusciante, Bikini Kill and Rollins Band), and more. And this is only Part 1!
So without further ado… we’re happy to give you, the Ian MacKaye Interview:
In Part 2, Geoff & Eli get Ian’s views on recording as sonic illusion – “if it’s done well, then the seams don’t show” – the story of an ill-fated Fugazi / Steve Albini session – “one of the greatest sessions we ever did” – and thoughts about the music business today.
The guys talk about the modern music economy, and the new realities facing music producers and consumers, hitting on Dischord’s label model and Fugazi’s negotiations with Ticketmaster as a precedent for how an artist like Kid Rock is working to establish lower ticket prices today.
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