Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich interviewed Jack White on his radio show on Apple’s Beats 1 to talk through White’s new record Boarding House Reach, banning cell phones at shows and enlisting the help of hip-hop musicians.
White discussed the improvisational nature of the new album, saying many of his collaborators, he had never met prior to recording with them in the studio. The musicians came from all different musical backgrounds, which he wanted for his new record. White said, “I wanted to find musicians that backed up hip-hop artists on stage because I thought that was a special musician that can replicate what’s done on a hip-hop track.”
White never discussed his vision for the record with any of the musicians who recorded it with him—rather, White said he just let the songs and the musicians dictate the record. “I never said we’re making a funk record, we’re making a hip-hop record or a rock and roll record,” he said. “I never said anything about what we were doing because I didn’t want to ruin their take on the groove that we had.”
White also alluded to an album with Jay-Z that he ended up scrapping. “I worked on a few tracks with Jay-Z. We were going to do an album together, it just never culminated. We didn’t finish.”
In regards to White’s controversial banning of phones at gigs, Ulrich asked White what his intentions were behind that move and White responded that he uses crowd reaction to gauge how the crowd likes the songs, so if phones are involved, he’s not sure if they’re just busy on their phones or actually aren’t feeling the songs. He also said he just wanted to try it as a social experiment or as performance art—plus, he just thought it would be funny if people got pissed off about the ban.
White also told a story about how he wrote the “Seven Nation Army” riff at a soundcheck in Australia. White played it to his friend, who gave White pretty underwhelming feedback. White says, “I was playing it for him … I said ‘Hey man, what do you think of this?’ and he was like ‘eh … it’s OK.’” Then Ulrich and White both burst into laughter and Ulrich said, “Don’t ask him anymore!”
Watch the first part of the duo’s interview below and catch part two of the interview this weekend (it’s unclear which day) on Beats 1 at 3 p.m. EST. Read Paste’s full review of Boarding House Reach here.