Hear Ian MacKaye and Steve Albini Interview Each Other
Ian MacKaye and Steve Albini recently sat down for a conversation for the Kreative Kontrol podcast, which delves into the two hardcore icons’ overlapping paths and memories in the punk scene. The interview has been divided into two parts, the first of which can be heard in full at the bottom of the page.
In the nearly hour-and-a-half conversation, MacKaye and Albini recall the first time they met, their impressions of each other’s bands, the hardcore scene, recording together and much, much more.
MacKaye said he was introduced to Albini through his writing, specifically the In Utero and Surfer Rosa producer’s harsh review of Rites of Spring, who the Fugazi and Minor Threat leader calls “one of the greatest bands of all time,” while Albini maintains, “Yeah, they were awful.” On the other hand, Albini calls Minor Threat “the very best of the pissed off, super-hardcore bands.” MacKaye similarly admired Albini’s band, Big Black, describing their approach as “almost upsetting” in its intensity.
While discussing their first experiences in the underground scene, MacKaye said, “The genesis of the D.C. hardcore scene was seeing a band, having your mind blown and going to the practice room and being like, ‘Okay, let’s f--- ‘em up.’”
However, Albini found once the scene solidified, it lost some of its oppositional core:
There was a thing in the underground music scene, where people wanted to sort of fit in, so you would see people wearing stylistic stuff that their friends were wearing. My interest in punk pre-dated that, when things were more random. My introduction into punk were 100 bands, none of whom sounded alike and all of whom looked different. When punk started to get formalized, we were reacting against this… impulse to fit in... We were expressing the opposite impulse, which is to revel in being outside.
Listen to their entire conversation below: