Famed producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) teams up with Italian composer Daniele Luppi for his latest game-changing album.On the heels of his critically lauded Broken Bells album and as a precursor to one of his most high-profile projects to date — production of a forthcoming U2 record — producer, composer and sonic auteur Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) brings us Rome (Capitol, $14), an album in the vein of an epic spaghetti Western soundtrack. The record, a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi that was more than five years in the making, features guest vocals by Norah Jones and Jack White and evokes the 1960s work of Ennio Morricone. True to its name, the album was recorded in Rome, where Burton and Luppi dusted off a 20-year-old tape machine, revived a spider-infested echo chamber and hunted down a vintage harpsichord to ensure Rome’s authenticity.
American Way: Brian, you were born in 1977. What could you possibly know about spaghetti Westerns?
Brian Burton: I got into spaghetti Westerns when I was in college. I had taken some film classes, and when I started seeing these films, the first thing that jumped out to me was the music. I hadn’t really heard anything like that before. I found out about Morricone and started seeking out anything like it over the years.
AW: You paid for vintage recording equipment with bottles of wine. Is this culturally acceptable?
Daniele Luppi: Well, thank God my contacts were so deep into Roman society, I could afford to bother some very respected musicians and ask them to borrow their vintage instruments, because there was no way to rent that stuff. I was raised that way — that the least you can do is give a very good bottle of wine to someone who was doing you a favor.
AW: Are you expecting profits from Rome to be paid in wine as well?
DL: I would say if a few thousand records come with a wine payment, that would be good. But hopefully the rest will come with monetary compensation so I can afford to accompany the wine with some great food!
AW: What was the grandest Italian moment you experienced while working in Rome?
BB: Every day, no matter when we finished, we’d always go to this same restaurant. They served basically the best food I have ever had in my life. It was open every single night, and every single night it was amazing.