“Kurt’s not here in the present, so everything has got to be done right”: Krist Novoselic on using AI to “complete” Nirvana songs

The bassist says he’s open to using AI to finish unreleased Nirvana tracks, but with caution.

Using AI to complete old Nirvana material is a “good idea”, though everything has to be “done right” , says bassist Krist Novoselic.

The grunge icons recently announced a deluxe 30th anniversary reissue of their final album In Utero. Set to arrive next month, it will feature a total of 72 tracks, with 53 unreleased live recordings from some of Nirvana’s final shows in their hometown.

Speaking to NME about the upcoming collection as well as the band’s legacy, Novoselic says: “This one’s got a lot of cool things like backstage passes and little things you can hold, like The Who’s Live At Leeds record.”

“I’m excited about the live shows on there, because they used AI. We took the digital audio tapes from the soundboard in Rome, Seattle and Los Angeles, then the AI can separate all the instruments and we got a really good mix out of it.”

Asked if the band is open to using AI for unreleased material – much like The Beatles are doing for their upcoming “final record”, Novoselic replies: “That’s a good idea! I’m glad I spoke with you today, because that’s interesting.”

“I’m going to bring that up with Dave [Grohl] and Pat [Smear]! I can hardly wait to hear a new Beatles song. Come on, it’s The Beatles! I want to hear a new Beatles song! And if AI helps it, then absolutely – that’s the way it is today.”

That said, the prospect of new AI-aided Nirvana music hinges on the existence of unfinished Nirvana tracks that could be worked on, something Novoselic admits he isn’t too sure about.

“I don’t know,” the bassist says. “We’ve got to start talking about this. That’s a good idea. There could be. There’s a point where it’s like, ‘Is this Nirvana or AI?’ There’s a lot of that stuff already on YouTube, and that’s a debate that’s going to have to be settled when it comes to copyright and disinformation. It’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey – ‘Don’t do it!’ ”

“Kurt’s not here in the present, so everything has got to be done right.”

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