For nearly five years now, under a veil of secrecy, Danger Mouse has been collaborating with Italian composer Daniel Luppi on an album inspired by a shared love of ‘60s Italian film music. In a recent interview with the UK’s Guardian, the ubiquitous and prolific producer talked about the project, Rome, for the first time, and announced that guest singers will include the reformed Cantori Moderni choir – known for its appearances on soundtracks from composers including Ennio Morricone, Piero Umiliani and Bruno Nicolai – Norah Jones and Jack White. Danger Mouse explained how and why he settled on the White Stripes frontman.
“For the lead vocalists, I definitely wanted a man and a woman. The female vocal needed to be soft, not polarising. But the male needed to have a bit more angst to it. I played some of the music for Jack White when I was on tour shortly after doing the first session, just to show him what I was doing, because at the time everyone thought I was just a hip-hop guy, or whatever.”
Even though White apparently liked what he heard, intially the producer “wasn’t even thinking of using him. You know, it’s Jack White. But in the end, I thought, he’s really into it, why not?”
“We all understood that if it didn’t work, it didn’t work. But he tried it in different voices – a high voice, a low voice – and I thought, why don’t we leave them all in? And it sounded great. There’s a bunch of his vocals on “Rose With the Broken Neck,” and it doesn’t always sound like him. Sometimes you’re like, is that Jack or not?”
There’s still no release date for the newly announced album, which is being self-funded by Danger Mouse and partner Luppi. In the meantime, Danger Mouse fans can look forward (?) to hearing his production work on U2’s Songs of Ascent, due in 2011.