Butch Vig, Nevermind producer, doubts that that the influential Nirvana album would have the same impact if it released today.
The drummer of American rock band, Garbage and super-producer was behind the desk for Nirvana’s breakthrough 1991 album. In an interview with NME, Butch said that a record might be unable to connect in the same way through streaming.
“I think it would be tough to repeat that zeitgeist moment,” Butch told NME. “If ‘Nevermind’ came out this week, despite being a great record, it would not have the same cultural impact. It was perfect timing coming out when there was a shift in music, and it felt like a revolution. I can see that happening again, but not in the same way.”
Butch said he saw something similar with Billie Eilish, something drummer Dave Grohl previously said.
“I’m friends with her and [brother, producer] Finneas and their mom was my daughter’s music teacher. They live down the street from us. Billie speaks for a whole generation of youth, much like Nirvana did with their zeitgeist moment.”
“It’s so different how music is consumed now,” Butch says, explaining how today’s cultural landscape presents different challenges for artists.
“Everything is so instant that it’s hard to build up some mystique,” said Butch. “When you really want something but can’t quite get your hands on it, that makes it all the more powerful. Everyone has access to everything these days. Maybe someone will come along with a band who sounds like Nirvana but a lyricist who writes like Bob Dylan and is into hip-hop and doesn’t have Instagram or Facebook.
“Maybe they’ll do a couple of shows and disappear. If they did, people would go mental because they’d want them all the more. If you know who that is, please call them because I want to produce them!”
Butch also speaks to NME about new albums from Garbage and his side project, 5 Billion In Diamond. He says there are songs that reference Roxy Music and Talking Heads.
“I feel like the music is a schizophrenic cousin to our third record, ‘Beautiful Garbage’. Every song is a standalone piece. It’s quite eclectic. There are about four or five dark, beautiful songs, then some that are more jarring. We’ve gone in some sonic areas that we haven’t explored before, but it still sounds like Garbage. Even if we tried to not sound like Garbage, we still would.”
Butch added: “It’s dark and eclectic. A lot of Shirley’s [Manson, singer] lyrics seem very prescient, apropos of the world we’re in right now. She could see this crazy lockdown and all the racial busy and the craziness of the election.”
‘Divine Accidents’ is released on November 20 via MAKE records. Garbage will join Blondie on a UK arena tour, next November.