Paul McCartney has been involved in the world of music for over 60 years, but it seems that even a veteran like Macca can still be surprised by his fellow musicians, as evidenced by his explanation of what it was like working with Kanye West a few years back.
Over the years, Paul McCartney has found himself working with a number of huge artists, but between 2014 and 2015, the legendary musician team up with divisive hip-hop artist Kanye West to record a number of tracks, including ‘All Day’, ‘Only One’, and ‘FourFiveSeconds’, which also featured Rihanna.
Now, in a new interview with DIY, McCartney has explained how these collaborations came to be, and what it was like in the studio at the time.
“I don’t actually plan too much of this stuff, but for instance with Kanye, my manager just rang me up and said, ‘Kanye’s interested in working with you’. So what would you do? I went, OK great,” he explained. “I didn’t know what we were gonna do or how it was gonna work, so I just took my guitar along and let him lead the dance.”
“We ended up just talking a lot. I played a few little things and one of them ended up as ‘FourFiveSeconds’ with Rihanna. It’s more a question of me feeling lucky that these people are interested [in working with me] and think that I can bring something to it. For me, I feel great. I like diversity.”
While Paul McCartney noted that he had been a big fan of Kanye West (expressing his love of 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and calling 2011’s Watch The Throne collaboration with Jay-Z “urban poetry”), he did explain that working with the controversial musician was not at all what he expected.
“With Kanye, I learnt a lot,” he explained. “We had a method in our early days of The Beatles and with Wings that I used all the way through for writing songs. I would sit down with a guitar or at a piano and make it up and complete it. Then that’s it, you’ve done your song, and then you’re ready to roll and go in the studio.”
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“With him, it was much more made up as we went along – so much so that I didn’t even realise that I was making songs. We had two or three afternoons where we just hung out together in a Beverly Hills hotel in the bungalows out the back, and he had his engineer and was set up with a couple of microphones incase anything happened.”
“I was tootling around on guitar, and Kanye spent a lot of time just looking at pictures of Kim on his computer,” he continued. “I’m thinking, are we ever gonna get around to writing?! But it turns out he was writing. That’s his muse.”
“He was listening to this riff I was doing and obviously he knew in his mind that he could use that, so he took it, sped it up and then somehow he got Rihanna to sing on it. She’s a big favourite of mine anyway, so that just came without me lifting a finger.”
This news comes just a day after Paul McCartney released a new double A-side single featuring the tracks ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Come On To Me’. These tunes are set to feature on McCartney’s upcoming solo album Egypt Station, which will be his first collection of studio tunes since 2013’s New.