Like many artists during the pandemic, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello was forced to work remotely and record music from home during lockdowns. The only problem: He doesn’t know how to use his home studio.
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Morello said, “For the first four months or so [of the pandemic] I was absolutely adrift. You know, I have a nice studio in my house, but I don’t know how to work it. Like, I don’t know how to move any of the buttons around. So I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to play shows. I’m not going to be able to record music.’”
The lack of expertise with his gear didn’t stopped Morello from being extremely productive during the pandemic. In the past few months, he released two guest-heavy solo albums, The Altas Underground Fire and The Atlas Underground Flood. He also dropped an EP with the Bloody Beetroots, bolstering a prolific 2021.
It begs the question… how was Morello so productive if he couldn’t use his recording equipment? The answer originates from an unlikely inspiration: Kanye West.
“I was reading an interview where Kanye West said he recorded the vocals to a couple of his big hit records using the voice memo on his phone,” Morello continued. “So I did that. [I set my phone up] on a little folding chair. My laptop’s open so I can have, like, the BPMs in my ears or whatever, and the phone is balanced on the edge of the laptop on a chair facing the amp.”
He added, “But you know, there’s no manual that says, like, ‘The voice memo of your iPhone needs to be 8.4 inches away from the top left speaker.’ I just set it up on a chair, and I’ve gotta tell you, the guitar sounded pretty freaking great.”
Morello will hopefully be able to return to the road this spring for Rage Against the Machine’s twice-postponed reunion tour. The North American outing is set to kick off in March and run through August, with tickets available via Ticketmaster.