Neil Young Talks Eco-Touring, His New Album, And ‘Harvest’ | News

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Neil Young has gone deep with Zane Lowe in a new interview for Apple Music 1.

The legendary songwriter has completed a new album alongside his trusty comrades in Crazy Horse, reconvening one of rock’s seminal groups. Rick Rubin is at the helm for ‘World Record’, part of a blitz of activity from the Canadian-born artist.

Sitting down with Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1, the two were joined by producer Rick Rubin for a wide-ranging conversation. Neil Young discussed the material on the incoming album, which seemingly places focus on melody…

So all these songs started like that. 8 out of 10 of them started with the melody, with no instrument. No words, no instrument, no chord changes. That is significantly, completely in another zone, and not thought of or sitting down to feel anything… just walking. So then I started thinking maybe four, five months later it might be nice to go to do some stuff. I’d written a couple of other songs and one of them was Chevrolet. I just finished that and I was back here and I said, “God, it’d be nice to get in the studio and do some stuff.” Checked it out and the Horse was ready to go.

Rick Rubin’s introduction to the project came through a last minute studio drop out, leading to an emergency phone call. Neil Young continues:

So I called and I booked the studio and I said, “God, that was easy. Usually you can’t get in this place.” I mean, I’m going, I got it, it’s three days later. I was very, very lucky to get this place again. So, here I am and then I said, “Well, I’m going to call Rick now,” because I thought of Rick right away. I’m going, “Who’s going to help me do this?”

And so, I thought of Rick because he’s here, it’s his place. So, there we did. We’ve done things before, but we’ve never completed a record before, which doesn’t mean anything because the things we did, we remember. And we remember what they felt like, so that’s our history. It’s not about what records came out. So, musically we are very similar… it just seemed like the right thing. So, I told him the story of whistling and doing this stuff, and then writing the songs in two days, all of the songs were finished in two days… It’s so weird, it was the weirdest project.

Continuing, Zane Lowe probed Neil Young on modern technology; he’s famously an audiophile, and is reluctant to probe social media. The songwriter comments…

It scares the sh** out of me. I don’t like to go to social media. I don’t like to get involved in that and the back and forth of one celebrity against another celebrity to do as a certain kind of people. I mean, who cares? There’s so many more important things than that to think about today if you really want to look at what’s happening. Again, even as I’m saying that, I can feel like, whoa, you’ve said that so many times already. People know that, but people don’t really know it well enough to act on it. I keep going back to the same old thing and it’s going to be the death of me pretty soon. I probably have to stop doing that.

The incoming Crazy Horse record is far from the only project Neil Young is undertaking – his ongoing Archives series represents (ahem) a Journey Through The Past, while a new documentary feature shines a light on seminal album ‘Harvest’.

He explains:

We made a movie about it. We had a whole movie of making ‘Harvest’ that no one’s seen. Actually, it’s going to be in theatres. Yeah, for one night only, of course. People blink and it’s over. That’s good. That’s the way it should be and then it becomes available in all of the regular formats. No, it’s great. You look at it, you’ll see it. It’s us 50 years ago making this record and everybody’s having a great time. I think we played seven songs that are on the record. Not those versions, different versions.I’ve had it for a long time and that’s what the archives is all about, you just have to go back to the right year and then look and there it is. There’s a release coming up somewhere for something. Keeps me busy.

A long time environmentalist, Neil Young discusses eco-touring during the interview, while also touching on the movement of eco-politics to the forefront of our lives.

Neil Young says…

We got a lot of work to do. I think it’s a great situation for the world, it’s probably the only time in the world that you could ever see where all the people of all the countries, all around the world could all have the same idea. Wait a minute, we got to do something because this is no good, we are all feeling it. And the Russians and the Chinese and the Americans and the Canadians and French people, the Italians, they’re all feeling it. The Australians, the New Zealanders, they’re all feeling the same thing.

You just take that and just go, what if everybody focused on just loving Earth and looking at life like a hippie for a minute? Just doing that and just don’t do anything to hurt what you love. If you’ve got enough money, you should be able to do a lot of stuff. You should be able to only eat food that is clean food, that’s not coming from factory farms. Factory farms were where we got climate change. If you go right to the factory farm and then go back in time on the factory farm, that’s the beginning. That’s it. That’s when the earth started to go in the sky. That’s when everything got screwed up and we started growing things for money instead of for health and for natural goodness. That’s what I think of. I think of those kind of things. 

Check out the interview below.

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