“THEY ARE AMAZING musicians but they are also incredibly genuine,” declares Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner, so smitten with Songhoy Blues he produced their debut album Music In Exile .
With the Malian band the subjects of a major feature in our current issue (November 2015 / #264), both the group and their producer discuss their deep, mutual respect.
Zinner explains that he first met the group as part of a musical expedition to Bamako in Mali with Africa Express and chose to work them after meeting several local musicians. “We did one track with me acting as a producer, which was a disaster; then I heard them playing [their song] Soubour. I joined in and it fell into place in 10 minutes,” he tells MOJO’s David Hutcheon.
For their part, the band appreciated the guitarist’s help so much they named a song, Nick, after him.
“Nick tried to teach us to organise ourselves,” says the band’s Aliou Touré. “He gave us ideas; the first thing was timing: ‘There is a time for this, a time for that.’ He asked us about the qualities of the songs, then made sure each one has a particular effect that goes with it.”
Get MOJO magazine to read the full interview. Meanwhile, enjoy this exclusive clip from a forthcoming documentary about the band, called They Will Have to Kill Us First, which captures the band’s meeting with Zinner.
Music In Exile will be screened in UK cinemas from October 23. Visit www.theywillhavetokillusfirst.com for details.