The L.A. Times blog has a pretty cool behind the scenes interview up that talks with Andrew Dawson, the long-time engineer for Kanye West, and the guy responsible for that awesome King Crimson sample on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Dawson started working with West on College Dropout and has since worked with Drake and Game:
How did you get involved with the “Fantasy” album, and what were some things you talked with Kanye about in terms of engineering and mixing it?
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” pretty much started New Year’s Eve 2009. He flew everyone out to Hawaii the day before New Year’s Eve … and I remember on New Year’s Eve I was in the studio getting everything ready to go for the next day. And on Jan. 1, we were getting into the recording sessions and worked pretty much 24-7 for six months straight out of Hawaii. I literally would leave to go shower, change clothes and come back to the studio. There weren’t many beach days. But Kanye went through his process and worked on it solid for a good six to seven months. But as far as engineering, there are certain sounds and certain production aspects that he really likes. If there’s a sound or an idea he wants, he’ll take it to, like, an extreme, to where you start to wonder, “Why is this so far out there?” Then he’ll pull it back to a perfect amount. He’s the master of knowing how to push things almost too far. … I did some co-production on “Power.” I was the one who found that “21st Century Schizoid Man” sample and chopped it up.
Where did that idea come from?
Some random day I saw a T-shirt that reminded me of an album cover by King Crimson, and I went back and listened to that record. And Kanye and I were checking it out, and he ended up taking the sample and putting it in “Power.”
The whole interview is over here. Check it out.