Powell Says He Agrees with Steve Albini's Billboard Rant

BY Josiah HughesPublished Oct 1, 2015

Earlier this week, we all had a good laugh over an exchange between UK electronic producer Powell and sound guru/noise rock performer Steve Albini. The former asked the latter if he could use a Big Black sample in a new song, and it resulted in a truly epic takedown of electronic music culture. Baffled by the hilarity of it all, Powell and XL Recordings turned Albini's email into a new billboard. Now, Powell has discussed the whole thing in a new interview with The Quietus.

While Albini's vitriolic takedown has him trashing the "stupid simplicity" of dance music, with him admitting he's "100 percent hated every scrap" of it, Powell said he actually agrees with him. "What's being lost on people is that it's being positioned as Powell against Steve Albini but it was never like that, it was me and Steve against stuff – without him I wouldn't be making this kind of music," Powell said.

Many have chalked up Albini's email to simply not knowing enough about dance music, but Powell said he still thinks Albini hit the nail on the head. "Undoubtedly he's not clued into loads of stuff, but there is a lot of shit electronic music around," he said. "It's become this coffee table, festival-going alternative to rock music. I liked the fact that he was attacking that…."

Powell also said he checked in with Albini since the billboard went up. "I emailed him yesterday to say, 'Just for the record it wasn't supposed to go like this, but it's funny and I'm doing it because I love you,'" Powell recalled. "And he said, 'Don't worry, I totally understand and appreciate the fact that you love my music.'"

As for the billboard, Powell said he thought it'd be a fun way to promote his upcoming "Insomniac" single. "I believe finding interesting ways to talk about music, rather than just paying for more space on Spotify, is part of the challenge we face today," he said. "What would you rather? A billboard with my face on it? That would be beautiful, sure, but dull."

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