You may not recognize the name Butch Vig, but everyone is familiar with his work. Vig produced iconic 90s albums such as Nirvana’s Nevermind and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream. He also started the band Garbage, which released a string of singles in the mid-90s such as “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When it Rains.” Their debut album sold over 4 million copies and went double platinum in the UK.

Vig is still going strong. He, along with DJ James Grillo and producer Andy Jenks, formed the band 5 Billion in Diamonds in 2016, and soon began working on their self-titled first album. Their debut also featured several musicians, including instrumentalists from Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, and others, as well as guest vocalists from Alpha, The Free Design, and The Ocean Blue. Working with such a big team proved somewhat challenging, but the resulting album was worth the struggle.

“When you get creative people in a room there can be friction, but I think that friction can be really good for creating great art.”

Currently, Vig is producing the band’s second album, which he hopes to release sometime in 2021. He loves going into a recording studio every day because he has “no idea what’s going to happen,” though he sometimes struggles with becoming obsessive during the mixing process. “You can drive yourself crazy,” he says, in regards to mixing. “I certainly have.” Even with his 30+ years of production experience, the first recording session with a new artist can be awkward, and so his goal is to make an artist feel confident and free enough to try anything. However, one thing his experience has taught him is that, despite his talents, he alone can’t make an artist’s successful album.

“At the end of the day, no matter how good an album sounds, if you don’t have great songs it doesn’t mean a thing.”