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Dan Auerbach Recounts Lana Del Rey’s Label Backflipping On ‘Ultraviolence’

Lana Del Rey and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, who produced much of Del Rey’s latest album, Ultraviolence, have opened up about the reservations the singer’s label had over her latest album. Auerbach recounted how a label employee backflipped on the album during a meeting.

“The story I got told,” the blues rocker told Rolling Stone, “is that they played it for [Del Rey’s] label person and they said, ‘We’re not putting out this record that you and Dan made unless you meet with the Adele producer.’ And she said, ‘Fine, whatever.’ And she was late to the meeting.”

“So while they were waiting, the label guy played what we recorded for the Adele producer,” Auerbach continued, “and he said, ‘This is amazing, I wouldn’t do anything to change this.’ And here’s the kicker: Then all of a sudden, the label guy said, ‘Well, yeah, I think it’s great, too.'”

“There was a lot of bullshit I’m not used to,” revealed Auerbach. “The label says, ‘We’re not going to give you the budget to extend this session unless we hear something.’ And we send them the rough mix and they fucking hate it and they hate the way it’s mixed. And it’s like, ‘Thanks, asshole.'”

Auerbach said that he found it difficult to cope with the level of label interference while working with Del Rey. “I think Lana put her foot down. Maybe it’s normal for her, but it’s not normal for me. Really rubbed me the wrong way. I got really defensive because I thought it was bullshit,” he said.

However, the characteristically laid-back Del Rey offered a different recollection. “I mean, I think there were people they wanted me to work with,” she said. “I don’t know who they were. When I said I was ready, they were like, ‘Are you sure? Because I feel like you could go further.'”

The singer’s label, Interscope, have a different recollection still. “I had heard about some back and forth regarding the music,” said Interscope chief John Janick. “But from the moment I met Lana, I’ve been of the mindset that she has an instinct that is pretty dead on and as an artist, she is fully formed. She knows her vision and her audience, and it’s up to us to follow her lead on that.”

In the interview, Auerbach recalls how working with Del Rey resolved every criticism he’d heard about her. “From how great the songs were to how confident she is as a musician to her fucking singing every song live, with a handheld microphone and a seven-piece band,” he recounted. “There hasn’t been a number one pop record that was recorded like that in forty, fifty years.”

Watch: Lana Del Rey – Shades Of Cool

Gallery: Lana Del Rey – The Palace Theatre, Melbourne – 23/07/2012

Photos by Andrew Briscoe

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