“I should have been on it,” Flying Lotus said about Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’. “It was kind of weird that I wasn’t.” Stephen Ellison is right: we’d love to hear him produce West’s increasingly experimental beats. The two artists are becoming more similar by the day, which leads us to the question, if we could pair up any artist with a musician-producer, who’d it be? Here’s 19 suggestions…
You know that thrillingly gritty feel on Lana Del Rey‘s new album? You’ve got the Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach to thank for that. The guitarist’s contributions as producer on ‘Ultraviolence’ gave LDR a bluesy new edge not felt on the slightly anemic ‘Born To Die’.
Madonna produced by Disclosure: One that, according to internet rumours sparked by this accompanying photo, may actually be in the works. The Lawrence brothers have been clubland sensations, thanks to their UKG-reinventing 2013 debut ‘Settle’. Some of their streetwise production magic could give Madonna, who flirted with EDM on her last album ‘MDNA’, a sprightly new energy in the studio.
Kate Tempest produced by Mike Skinner: Kate Tempest has only just released her debut album but she’d do well to snag the currently-AWOL Streets man to produce her next one. Not just for his knack for smokey beats and shimmering synth hooks, but because it’d be so fitting – not since Skinner’s ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ has Britain had an eloquent spoken word urbanite like this.
The Strokes produced by James Murphy: The ultimate NYC album? Possibly. LCD Soundsystem man Murphy proved last year with Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’ he can handle the world’s biggest bands in the studio. Producing a new Strokes LP, he could deliver his fellow New Yorkers their most danceable, lively album yet and with his cheery demeanour, keep any inner-band fighting at bay. Sign him up!
PJ Harvey produced by Flying Lotus: Picture for a second how great this would be. The ‘Let England Shake’ singer’s ethereal tones would perfectly suit Fly Lo’s cosmic, astral planing sonics. Stoned electronics are just about the only arena of music Polly hasn’t explored yet, while Fly Lo has already worked with Polly’s dear friend Thom Yorke. Get on the introductions, Thom.
Royal Blood produced by Josh Homme: Remember how towering Queens of the Stone Age beefcake Homme amped up the Arctic Monkeys’ sound to ear-bleeding new levels of rock power on ‘Humbug’? What we’d give to hear him do the same to already beefy-sounding Brighton newcomers Royal Blood. A collaboration begging to happen.
Lorde produced by Jon Hopkins: Surrey-born electronics whizz Hopkins was 2013’s breakout producer, thanks to the mind-melting ‘Immunity’. His glitchy brand of darkness is something the brilliant Lorde hinted at on her debut album ‘Pure Heroine’. A studio collaboration would tip her sound over the edge into stunningly angsty electronic-pop malevolence, we reckon.
Jack White produced by Steve Albini: Music’s two biggest volatile, outspoken analogue nuts, together at last. They’d either kill each other, or deliver the 21st century’s most growling rock spectacle so far, full of bruising riffs and all-round aural nastiness. Bring it on.
Bat for Lashes produced by Burial: As cult British alternative talents go, this would be one hell of a blockbuster pairing, with the London 2-step impresario turning singer Natasha Khan away from her trademark sentimental piano balladry and onto scuttling nightime beats full of intrigue and angst. Khan’s worked with Jon Hopkins so obviously has a sweet spot for glitchy electronics…
Rihanna produced by Jamie xx: Is this so hard to imagine? Jamie’s already vaguely on Ri Ri’s radar, after one of his Gill Scott-Heron reworkings ended up sampled on her and Drake’s ‘Take Care’ duet in 2011. He’s an overdue a shot at producing a big name album, while she’s overdue a step into indie helped by a credible producer. A slinking pop album with breathy, minimalist leanings awaits.
Temples produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker: While Parker lead the way for psych-rock in Australia, Temples are flying the flag over here. The Kettering crew could definitely benefit from the Tame Impala man’s help on album number two – his lo-fi bedroom DIY approach to ‘Lonerism’ gave it an intimate, hazy vibe central to its irresistable, magnetic pull.
Paul McCartney produced by Danger Mouse: Danger Mouse made his name mashing up the Beatles with Jay Z on ‘The Grey Album’ so this would be full circle for the Broken Bells man. He’s been working with U2 on their new LP so knows a thing or two about helping rock veterans reinvigorate their sound, too. Macca, get him on the phone now.
Sia produced by Jai Paul: Two reluctant, spotlight-shy superstars in the making, Sia and XL prodigy Jai Paul would have plenty to talk about between late night studio sessions creating what would undoubtedly be a ceaselessly inventive technicolour electro-pop masterwork.
Haim produced by Timbaland: One of Haim’s familiar criticisms is that they’re a pop band masquerading with guitars. What better way to shove it in those critics’ faces than by going all out pop with the chart R&B mastermind behind JT’s ‘Cry Me A River’? New single ‘My Song 5’ sees them dip their toes into those waters – let’s see Haim dive fully in on their next LP.
Bon Iver produced by Lunice: If Justin Vernon’s dark, sleazy-sounding contributions to Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’ taught us anything, it’s that a new Bon Iver album with a nastier vibe than normal for the twinkling folk troubadour would be a welcome departure. That’s where Lunice comes in: a titan of booming bass and fierce electronic rumbles. Unlikely, but we’d love to hear it.
Wolf Alice produced by Butch Vig: Alright, so Wolf Alice’s debut album is so hotly anticipated at this point we’d take a LP produced by singer Ellie Roswell’s mail man. But ‘Nevermind’ producer Butch Vig would be our dream pick – a grunge studio icon (he recorded ‘Nevermind’) who, from his work with No Doubt, knows exactly how to make a smokey female vocal stand out amid thundering guitars.
Wild Beasts produced by Brian Eno: With their taste for breaking down sonic barriers and bridging the gap between electronics and live melody, Londoners Wild Beasts would no doubt impress Eno. Enough to get him to helm their follow up to this year’s ‘Present Tense’? Who knows – but the results would definitely be spectacular.
Jungle produced by Nile Rodgers: Jungle ring-leaders J and T are accomplished beatmakers in their own right so wouldn’t vacate the producer’s chair for just any old studio head. Rodgers might prove an exception though. The Chic man innovated the very type of disco Jungle mine – and could help them take it to the next level.
Jake Bugg produced by Diplo: Just for the LOLs, really.