Mick Jagger has come together with AR Rahman, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley to form the group SuperHeavy, which releases its self-titled album today. Here, the Rolling Stones frontman talks about his connection with India and the experience of working with Rahman.
How did you write together? Did the musical contributions vary according to each song or did everyone have a pre-planned key role in the process?
• The idea of everybody having a pre-planned key role was hilariously funny. I guess when we started off we didn’t know what we were going to do to be honest, and so everyone was ready to do anything that was asked from them. So we just started writing; one person would come up with a beat, one person would come up with a guitar melody or vocal idea and we just took it from there. It was very quick, Sometimes these things take a little time to finish, but afterwards we got lots of ideas and we just laid them all down one after the other. And then we would come back, listen to them and come back to the rafts and pick out the bits we really liked and work on them. We’d get them down and write lyric ideas on the flight even. That’s how we wrote it.
What were the hardest parts of working on this project? Did you try anything and abandon it because it wasn’t working?
• I don’t think that was the hard part. It was all very fun, quick and easy. It’s always hard to re-visit things and finish them. The fun part is the initial creation when your really up in the studio. When you have to go back and fill in verses and things, they are sometimes a bit tricky to figure out. But what made it easy for me in a way is that I didn’t have to sing the whole way through for most of the songs, so I would come in to do extra vocals sometimes. We recorded about 20 things and once the songs were obvious, we had a lot of jams and things. We just picked the songs that were completed.
You have a special connection with India, especially Rajasthan and Goa, can you talk about this…
• I love India — it offers such diverse and wide range of music.
When did you first hear about AR Rahman, and why did you decide to work with him?
I actually cooked up the idea for SuperHeavy with Dave Stewart and he has known AR for quite some time. We knew we wanted to bring in another voice like AR Rahman. He’s a very sweet person and also super musical, that would add a completely different aspect to the record.
How has the collaboration worked out so far, given the songs have got mixed reviews?
• Each song is unique and has its own elements. We wanted to do an album that didn’t sound like anything we’d heard before. We have definitely lived up to it and the collaboration has worked. The album is different from anything else I’ve ever been involved in. The music is wide, ranging from reggae to ballads to Indian songs in Urdu.
What was your first reaction on hearing Maroon 5’s Moves like Jagger, inspired by you? Are you flattered?
• I was surprised when I got to know that they’d done this song because you know I’ve actually played shows with Maroon 5. In fact, they asked me to play with them in November, but I’m not sure if it’s possible, politically speaking. It’s very flattering and hilarious though, don’t you think?
Do you follow Indian music? Any sounds or instruments you would like to use?
I am familiar with Indian music and I have seen AR play various instruments, including Indian ones, so maybe sometime I would like to try out an Indian instrument.