“To do anything else… is just letting everyone down”: Hackney Diamonds producer explains the most important thing about recording the Rolling Stones

Producer Andrew Watt, who has recently produced records for Iggy Pop, Post Malone, Elton John and Camilla Cabello, “claims he grew up idolising every single thing Keith Richards ever did.”

The Rolling Stones on stage

Image: Ina Fassbender / Getty Images

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Grammy-winning producer Andrew Watt has explained how he approached producing The Rolling Stones’ new record, Hackney Diamonds, in order to make it appeal to their longtime fanbase.

Watt first came to prominence as guitarist in short-lived Glenn Hughes/Jason Bonham band California Dream, but has since reinvented himself as a hot-shot producer who has produced hits for artists as diverse as Post Malone Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John and Iggy Pop.

Hackney Diamonds lands later this month (October), and also features two tracks with the late drummer Charlie Watts which were recorded in 2019. A documentary is also in the works, which showcases the process of how the record was made, and the band are already working on its follow up.

In an interview with Billboard, Watt described being asked to work on finishing the album as, “the greatest honour as a kid with a guitar who grew up idolising every single thing Keith Richards ever did.”

He later explained what he found to be the key to producing for veterans and legends like the Stones is to encourage them to pursue ideas “indiscriminately”, with less conversation and more raw creation. He then approaches things with the viewpoint of a fan, and what they want to hear.

“These legends don’t owe anyone anything, so the only reason they’re making a new album is for themselves,” he explains. “Any fan wants to hear the greatest live rock ’n’ roll band of all time, so to do anything else with them in the studio is just letting everyone down.”

Watt says the record was mostly finished in under six months, and the result is an album that “you could put on against other contemporary music, but is still loose and really gets grooving at certain points.”

Hackney Diamonds arrives on 20 October via Geffen Records.  You can pre-order the album now.

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