For the new U2 record, No Line On The Horizon (due March 3rd), Bono had a spiritual quest, says producer Daniel Lanois. “He thought that our job was to create contemporary gospel music,” Lanois, who shares production credit on the album with Brian Eno, told Rock Daily at a Grammy Foundation event honoring music photographers Danny Clinch, Robert Knight and Herman Leonard. “Bono wanted to be at a spiritual Mecca.” Which, for the band, meant an extended stay in Fez, Morocco (their second visit to the country — U2’s 1991 video for “Mysterious Ways” was also filmed there). So did he find what he was looking for?
New single “Get On Your Boots” offers some clues, but Lanois filled us in on the bigger picture: “We worked in France, New York and London, but Bono felt that [Morocco] was the spiritual crossroads of the world right now, so we rented out an old Riad hotel and brought in all of our own equipment.” The result, he said, is “incredibly innovative — a lovely blend of technology and hand-played instruments. It embraces the future, but still pays respect to tradition.” And while the album, which was four years in the making (and recorded digitally throughout), has evolved since the band’s initial north African sojourn, it stayed true to their creative mission: “That we are essentially soul musicians that look for soul in what we do,” said Lanois. “The expectations and dreams are still intact, and the president of the record company is singing like a bird!”