Will.I.Am Embraces Computers as Instruments, Dave Grohl Champions Deadmau5 and Skrillex

Handheld recording gains new credibility

skrillex
Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Skrillex mixes new songs on his laptop while backstage in Norfolk, Virginia.
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In his recent Rolling Stone profile, Skrillex gets caught recording on his iPhone and cutting tracks with Kanye West using only his MacBook. However, dubstep's overnight star is not the only artist who can fit his entire studio in a backpack.

This week, Will.I.Am spoke to USA Today about embracing new technology, especially personal computers and smartphones, to make music. The Black Eyed Peas frontman even went so far as to say that computers were his instruments.

"We still use keyboards and guitar, but it all ends up in the computer," Will.I.Am said. "The song is heard on the computer. [The DJ's] playing music via the laptop, getting feedback from the people tweeting in the audience."

The producer also revealed that he struck up a collaboration with David Guetta through e-mail and that he sent him the beat for "I Gotta Feeling" via Dropbox. And when he is too far from his Intel PowerBook whenever a particular melody strikes, Will.I.Am records it on his BlackBerry.

"Now I have the grid map for what I felt … and build upon what inspired me," Will.I.Am gushed over the newfound possibilities as a producer. At the Grammys, he continued, artists thank family and record companies but "nobody ever thanks the technology that created it all."

Will.I.Am may have been tossing a specific reference to this year's Grammy Awards. While accepting the Foo Fighters' Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Dave Grohl gave what many critics felt was a backhanded thanks to the recording academy.

"To me, this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what's important," Grohl said while onstage. "Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the important thing."

Even though on that same night, the Foo Fighters took the stage alongside Deadmau5 in a showcase of dance music, Grohl's comments were interpreted widely as undermining the talent of electronic artists. LA Weekly even issued impassioned advice: "Let's not turn this into another racist, homophobic, 'disco sucks' moment. Not this time, Dave."

Shortly after, Grohl released a statement clarifying his acceptance speech, or as he called it, an "ode to analog recording."

"I don't know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that's badass," Grohl wrote. "We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the ‘craft' is equally as important, I'm sure."

Grohl signed his letter of damage control as "Davemau5," a reference to his Grammy show cohort.

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