Paul McCartney has long cemented his place in the annals of music history as a member of The Beatles and has enjoyed a career that spans decades. On paper, his pairing with Kanye West and Rihanna on “FourFiveSeconds” was curious to most and the backstory to how the collaboration happened revealed how the Chicago superstar prefers to work.
McCartney sat down with DIY to talk about his new album Egypt Station and other happenings in his life. Now 76, McCartney is still very much active in music at an age where most are eyeing retirement. However, the vocalist and songwriter looked at his time with West as a blessing and even said he’s learned to appreciate Hip-Hop as an artform.
Did you learn anything from working with Kanye? Is it a two-way street in that respect?
Really [it is]. With Kanye, I learnt a lot. 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.
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. 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.
Another neat portion of the interview is McCartney speaking about working with West on the “All Day” single, with him reading the liner notes to discover Kendrick Lamar was listed as one of the dozens of songwriters and wishing he got to meet the Compton lyricist.
Check out Paul McCartney’s DIY interview here.
Egypt Station, McCartney’s 17th solo album, drops this coming September.