Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell discussed his early days in music and AI’s role in songwriting with The Beatles in a new Side Jams With Bryan Reesman interview.
“I was hanging out with the underground of Los Angeles and some of these guys went real deep. You know, we loved knowing about people like [‘Mondo Cane’ director Gualtiero] Jacopetti and sadomasochism. We were just interested in trippy, dark, avant-garde shit. That included, I hate to say it, black magic and white magic. I read comparative religion.
I read the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, I read ‘The Book Of Mormon’, I read ‘The New Testament’. I wanted to know about everybody’s religion. So I got interested in magic, and then I found out a lot of magic derived from King Solomon’s clavicles and Rosicrucians. A lot of the magic comes out of mystical Judaism. So when I saw that I was like, ‘Whoa,’ and that led me to studying mysticism and Kabbalah from there. It’s powerful.”
Perry also discussed artificial intelligence’s role in making music.
“Artificial Intelligence is going to be the biggest conversation. It’s coming up, man, because it’s taking over a lot of jobs. Ray Kurzweil’s concept is called singularity. He believes that eventually machines will take over and do everything for man. You hear that and you go, ‘Oh, I hope not.’ But they’re already driving our cars. Like these long haulers that drive, let’s say oranges across the country, they’re being replaced by robotic cars, artificial intelligence. And they’re starting to write music. They’re using Google supercomputers and they’re feeding Frank Sinatra into it, Elvis into it, The Beatles into it. There’s a whole long list of artists, and asking the supercomputer, ‘Write a song now using all the information you heard.’
It spazzes out. It’s trying to recreate what it just heard. It’s hilarious, but startling and a little scary. My engineer pal was showing me all this, and also telling me that what’s amazing about artificial intelligence is you essentially feed the computer [information], and then you ask the computer to research, learn, and then start to give you a faster way, an easier way to do it. A more perfect way to do it. It’s happening faster and faster that they perfect anything a human being can do.”
He added, “My remark back was, they’re never going to replace a human being because the word imperfect, or perfect… Human beings are not perfect. And it’s groovy. It’s awesome. Because we like to hear these little imperfections like Joy Division, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Iggy. They were not perfect singers. Why are we drawn to them? Because imperfections make people unique. And if we were born perfect, the system of life would not work. As an example, if you were born perfect, then you’d have nothing to strive for. Hence, when you got better at something, you wouldn’t find the joy in getting better at it. So, really, what we’re talking about is the human spirit is wild, intelligent, awake and aware.
But it is refining. It is like what they’re doing to computers. And I personally prefer to listen to a man or a woman sing than a computer. I don’t dig rappers [where] they twist everything [with Auto Tune]. I want to hear the sadness of a human being or the story, or how it affected that person to make that song and sing about it. So it’s a little flat. So the guy’s fucked up on dope or he’s drunk and singing about something. I hear that too, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. He sounds like it really hurt him.’ Or he’s really affected by it.”