Rick Rubin admits his lack of “technical ability”: “I know nothing about music”

The producer talks about his creative philosophy in a new interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes.

When you purchase through affiliate links on MusicTech.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more
Rick Rubin

Image: Frazer Harrison / Getty

Rick Rubin, the super producer whose production skills are often the subject of debate among fans and even artists themselves, has claimed to “know nothing about music”.

Discussing his philosophy and approach to producing in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Rubin told host Anderson Cooper that he “barely” plays instruments and has no idea how to ‘work a soundboard’.

“I’ve no technical ability. And I know nothing about music,” the producer said.

“Well, you must know something”, Cooper teased, to which Rubin replied, “I know what I like and what I don’t like. I’m decisive about what I like and what I don’t like.”

“The confidence that I have in my taste, and my ability to express what I feel, has proven helpful for artists.”

Check out the exchange below.

Elsewhere in the interview, Rubin also presented a rather unusual argument on why there’s no need to give listeners what they want: “The audience comes last,” he said. “The audience doesn’t know what they want. The audience only knows what’s come before.”

When Cooper noted then how the whole music business was “built around trying to figure out what somebody likes”, Rubin replied, “Maybe for someone else it is. But not for me.”

You can watch the full episode on CBSNews.com


Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.

Join Our Mailing List & Get Exclusive DealsSign Up Now

The world’s leading media brand at the intersection of music and technology.

© 2024 MusicTech is part of NME Networks.