It’s hard to pin down Daniel Lanois.
I assume the legendary producer and recording artist is playing a gig in New York when he lets it slip that he’s in the Big Apple to produce the new U2 record, due in 2009.
As if that isn’t news enough, he’s simultaneously promoting his latest CD and documentary film Here Is What Is, which is available at redfloorrecords.com, and getting ready to launch an eastern Canada tour next week that includes a stop at Centrepointe Theatre on Oct. 24. The tour marks the 20th anniversary of his first solo record Acadie.
It’s a scary, breakneck schedule, which the apparently laid-back 57-year-old takes in stride.
“I enjoy the duality of my laboratory work and studio experiments I’m doing with U2 with my own musical career. It’s great to work with people like Bono and Bob Dylan, but there’s no better feeling than the chill of bravado I get from playing in front of a live audience.”
“I’ve always thought of myself as a musician first,” he says, reminiscing about the early days in Gatineau and Hamilton when he and his older brother Bob began playing with a tape recorder.
“I was fascinated with sounds. I remember when I was 12, I was recording my friends or the poems I’d make up while delivering papers. Bob and I played together long before we opened Grant Avenue Studios.”
Hamilton might have initially seemed an unlikely place for pop royalty to make hit records, but then Brian Eno, a sonic engineer, musician and Lanois’ mentor, recorded six “ambient” records there.
“That was a pivotal point in my career,” Lanois recalls.
The pair went on to produce some of the most important recordings of the past 20 years, beginning with U2′s The Unforgettable Fire. Lanois went on to work with artists like Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson and The Neville Brothers.
“Creativity and knowledge comes from passion, and I am passionate about music. Every time an artist walks into my studio, I want to get my hands dirty, I want to pull each song apart and find out how it works.”
On the new tour, Lanois hopes to play tunes he’s remastered from Acadie for the 20th anniversary edition, as well as instrumentals on slide guitar, and show video from Here Is What Is.
“We’ll be playing my brand of Canadian folk songs. We’ll raise the roof.”