I have worked with really talented artists


“So far, I have worked with really talented artists. From Jimmy Eat World, I’ve learned to be sincere and keep on playing my favorite music and have my audience find it. From Brand New and AFI, I’ve learned the power of genuine friendship nurtured in the life of a professional artist, and from TV on the Radio, I’ve learned the power of sound. And perhaps the most influential of them all was Elliott Smith. He taught me how to live in the music world, how to express myself clearly and honestly through music, and not to be afraid of expressing truth, beauty and ugliness through music. I can’t say that working with Elliott was the happiest time of my life, but it was possibly the one that affected me the most.”

Luke Wood

When I joined DreamWorks


“When I joined DreamWorks, I discovered that Lenny and I both had a burning passion for Elliott. For me, he has a unique ability to communicate emotion and feeling in a pop song that is completely unobvious, yet unobstructed. He’s direct without being at all sentimental. It’s not necessarily the most commercial signing, but for DreamWorks, it’s an obvious one, because an artist of depth and range like Elliott fits in perfectly here. We only want to sign truly exceptional people, because we’re trying to build a small roster with a real signature point of view, and to stick with them long term. If you think about the people behind DreamWorks, like David Geffen and Mo Ostin, we’re simply carrying on their ideological tradition.”

Luke Wood (août 1998)

Nothing can come close to comparing with that experience

eleanor jane
©Eleanor Jane

“Nothing can come close to comparing with that experience. I first reached out to him when I heard his first seven-inch. He wasn’t interested in a record deal at the time, he was in this group called Heatmiser, but he was super-polite and he was genuinely humbled that someone from a major label would call him. He pressed like 500 of a seven-inch and he was like, ‘I can’t believe a major label is calling me about my stupid seven-inch, that’s just ridiculous!’

But three years later, his career progressed and we reached out to him again and signed him to DreamWorks, and made XO and made Figure 8. And about two thirds of the demos for Figure 8 he did at my old house in Silver Lake. So he would be recording all day by himself and I would come home at night and sit with him and hear them. Continue reading

We had meetings with Lenny Waronker and Luke Wood

soundcitystudios plasticsoul mcconnell

“We had meetings with Lenny Waronker and Luke Wood where we’d play them some of the songs. Waronker looked really tripped out by it. I think he was probably thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is the most crazy drug album I’ve heard in fifteen years.’ It was kind of like that. I think he felt almost like he was going back to the ’60s listening to this album. Lenny seemed very supportive of Elliott. He seemed concerned, he also seemed afraid of Elliott, too, kind of scared of him, intimidated by him. It wasn’t like he was saying, ‘This is unreleasable.’ It was more like he was saying, ‘This is really fucking trippy.’ Continue reading

Elliott was living in my neighborhood in Silverlake at the time


“Elliott was living in my neighborhood in Silverlake at the time, and he demoed some of the Figure 8 songs at my house, because I had a small studio. He’d be there during the day while I was at work, and I would get to come home and hear these things as they came together, and literally look at his sketchpads of lyrics. Figure 8 is a very specific record. Just like XO, it’s different lyrically and slightly more esoteric, but he had a real idea of what he wanted to say. It was such a joy watching the thought he would put into small things as he wrote: Should it be “to” or should it be “at?” Should it be first-person or second-person? Should this be plural or singular? Where should I put the modifier? He would write five different versions of a sentence, only changing the modifier. His music was unbelievably well-thought-out.”
Luke Wood