“I’d love to sit with Rick, chew the cud and push him on his opinions”: Jacob Collier wants to have an in-depth discussion with Rick Rubin on the nature of good art

“I’d also welcome to be pushed because all of us need to be examined.”

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Jacob Collier and Rick Rubin

Credit: Lia Toby/Pascal Le Segretian/Getty Images

Rick Rubin might have made his name as a prolific producer, helping to push ’90s hip hop and nu metal into the spotlight, but in recent years he’s become something of a self-styled creativity guru. While he’s still producing albums, he also published a rather chunky book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, last year.

However, British multi-instrumentalist and producer Jacob Collier has had a thing or two to say recently about Rubin’s beliefs, even suggesting that “his audience is non-creative people for whom creativity is novel”.

He has also previously said that he  disagrees with Rubin’s philosophy of “the audience comes last”, saying that he finds that approach concerning. “There’s no one way to do anything – you can make work for people; you can make work for an audience; you can conform to the algorithm; you can make an engaging thumbnail. That’s cool.”

Indeed, Collier has even suggested Rubin is “hypocritical” for saying something only counts as pure art if it’s made for oneself.  “I don’t trust him, because he started his career making this commercial music, which is beautiful and we all love it, and it’s amazing.”

And Collier says in the same episode of the Colin and Samir podcast – entitled We interviewed the Mozart of Gen Z – that he’s more than happy to talk things out with the Def Jam founder and bat ideas back and forth.

“I’m excited about this idea of a question culture rather than an answer culture,” he reasons after explaining why he dislikes that Rubin presented his ideas like they are a definitive answer. I look at Rick and I’m like ‘Has anyone ever debated him on this stuff?’ There are ways of approaching creativity, as someone who solves a lot of problems myself, I’m not the ultimate angle. I’m me, I’m Jacob, I see the world the way I see it.

“I’d love to sit with Rick at some point and just talk to him and chew the cud and push him,” he continues. “[I’d] also welcome to be pushed because all of us need to be examined. Our opinions need to be squeezed and broken and I just think that anyone sitting there and saying ‘This is the wrong way to do it’, like Rick saying art is only pure if it’s made for art’s sake. Absolutely false. You can make totally pure art any way you want, including reaching a ton of people for that purpose. It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay to want to reach people and move people.”


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