“Look for what you notice but no one else sees.”— Rick Rubin
Rick Rubin (@RickRubin) is a nine-time GRAMMY-winning producer, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and the most successful producer in any genre, according to Rolling Stone. He has collaborated with artists from Tom Petty to Adele, Johnny Cash to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys to Slayer, Kanye West to the Strokes, and System of a Down to Jay-Z. You can find my 2015 interview with Rick at tim.blog/RickRubin.
His new book is THE CREATIVE ACT: A Way of Being.
The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.
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Want to hear Rick Rubin’s previous interview on this podcast? Have a listen to our conversation (from the inside of a sauna!), during which we discussed how Rick lost 145 pounds, rebuilding the circadian rhythm, music discovery versus manufacturing, how to approach music from a place of appreciation, genre-hopping, sauna/ice bath combination, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Rick Rubin:
- The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin | Amazon
- Rick Rubin on Cultivating World-Class Artists (Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, etc.), Losing 100+ Pounds, and Breaking Down The Complex | The Tim Ferriss Show #76
- Rick Rubin: My Life in 21 Songs | Rolling Stone
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu | Amazon
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron | Amazon
- Is Wrestling Real or Fake? All Your WWE Questions Answered | DigitalSpy
- A Fictional World Built for These Chaotic Times | The Legend of CØCKPUNCH
- Reign In Blood by Slayer | Amazon Music
- The Pop Life | The New York Times
- Ranking the Beatles’ Albums in Order of Greatness | Far Out
- Angus Young Defends Why AC/DC Still Sound the Same after So Many Years | Tone Deaf
- These Ducks Visit Dee Dee Ramone’s Grave Every Day | Rolling Stone
- Rap Rock | Wikipedia
- Was Rick Rubin Good or Bad for Linkin Park? | Reddit
- A Refresher on A/B Testing | Harvard Business Review
- Quote by Robert Henri | Goodreads
- The Art Spirit by Robert Henri | Amazon
- 5-Bullet Friday | Tim Ferriss
- Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue | ChatGPT
- Stable Diffusion Online
- Rick Rubin: The Music Man | The New York Times
- Padawan | Wookieepedia
- Is a Day Trip to the Grand Canyon Worth It? | Quora
- Moonage Daydream
- [00:00] Start
- [06:28] Why Rick wrote The Creative Act.
- [09:24] The Tao of Rick Rubin.
- [12:16] Making the creative toolbox multi-purposeful.
- [15:00] Collaborations: ensuring the best ideas prevail over egos.
- [19:50] Creative revisions are experiments, not guaranteed improvements.
- [26:44] Knowing when to be defined by or to deviate from an established genre.
- [33:07] Why Rick resisted advice to make his first book an autobiography.
- [37:10] Even a solo project is a collaboration.
- [38:07] Noticing what nobody else sees.
- [40:24] Being in the wonderful state “which makes art inevitable.”
- [42:22] Craftsperson vs. artist.
- [44:29] Good distraction vs. bad distraction.
- [46:40] Breaking out of sameness.
- [49:24] Filtering out non-constructive feedback.
- [51:39] Does artificial intelligence deserve a role in the creative process?
- [55:36] What happens when new music catches Rick’s ear?
- [56:54] How to be the best music producer possible.
- [1:00:17] Artists who seem to best channel wonder from the mundane.
- [1:04:12] Managing massive inspirational intake.
- [1:05:24] New movies on Rick’s radar.
- [1:06:23] Tips for artists who want to endure the ages.
- [1:12:06] Pacing the book — as the writer and the reader.
- [1:15:39] Parting thoughts.
MORE RICK RUBIN QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“That’s the way I like to work. I go in with a blind belief that something good will happen and until it’s proven impossible, I will continue banging my head against the wall.”
— Rick Rubin
“In most collaborative projects … the way that I’ve noticed it working is that there’ll be many ideas, and there’ll be a battle of wills to see which idea wins. It’s not necessarily based in which idea is best—it’s more of an ego conflict battle. And then someone who’s either willing to fight more or is more insensitive is able to push their way through, and that becomes a direction. And from my experience, those are not how the best decisions are made.”
— Rick Rubin
“Always refer back to the thing that you’re revising. I would never assume, because you put more time into something, it’s getting better.”
— Rick Rubin
“Look for what you notice but no one else sees.”
— Rick Rubin
“What makes an artist great happens not in the making. It happens in the way of being in the world, the way of experiencing the world, the way of noticing the thing that someone else doesn’t notice. The way of seeing what’s beautiful when everyone else sees the mundane and being able to represent that back in a way that other people get a glimpse of what we saw that they didn’t notice.”
— Rick Rubin
“The craftsperson is making the thing and making them all the same and making them all match or making the one that somebody ordered. … The artist is making the thing that you didn’t know you want, the thing that you didn’t know that you couldn’t live without, the thing that you didn’t know was possible.”
— Rick Rubin
“We get to walk around in awe all day and have our breath taken away, and then we get to portray that in something where someone else hopefully could have that same sense of awe from something we made.”
— Rick Rubin
“The reason there are so many musical artists and the reason I have thousands of albums of artists and thousands of artists that I follow that I love isn’t because they’re all the best one. They all do something really good particular to them.”
— Rick Rubin
- Tom Petty
- Johnny Cash
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Beastie Boys
- Kanye West
- The Strokes
- System Of A Down
- Julia Cameron
- Laird Hamilton
- The Beatles
- Linkin Park
- Rage Against The Machine
- Robert Henri
- Neil Diamond
- Neil Young
- Usain Bolt
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Bob Dylan
- Johnny Ramone
- Eric Clapton
- David Bowie
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2 Replies to “Rick Rubin, Legendary Producer — Timeless Methods for Unlocking Creativity, Secrets Hidden in Plain Sight, The Future with AI, Helpful Distractions, Working with Strong Personalities, Breaking Out of “The Sameness,” and More (#649)”
Tim, loved the episode. I was just reading a BHA article and they mentioned you as an apologist for stoicism. I had no idea you hunted. Just became a bigger fan. Thanks for all you do.
Hey Hi Tim!
I’m a long time reader and listener and also a cockpunch NFT owner.
I wanted to let you know I’m rooting for you, I believe in what you’re doing, and I think this fiction world is already great and will become even greater.
As an NFT hodler, someone who works in web3 full time, a creative, and a fan, I think I’m qualified and I’d be honored to be one of the folks you run ideas by for cockpunch constructive feedback. I’m definitely not one of the reply guys on Twitter hoping you do whatever it takes to bring the floor price up immediately.
I’m sure you get a million of these offers so no worries if you have already sorted that out. I’ll be rooting for you either way!