There were a lot of shocked fans this summer when Paul McCartney suggested in a June interview that artificial intelligence was used to extract John Lennon’s voice for The Beatles‘ just-released final song, “Now and Then.”
Although McCartney later clarified his statement, Giles Martin, who produced the new track alongside McCartney, is also setting the record straight: he says AI was not used on the song.
Discussing the fact that backing vocals from earlier Beatles tunes were used on “Now and Then,” Martin tells Variety, “No, it’s not artificial or intelligent. No, it’s the same process that I used, as you say so rightly, in Love,” referring to the soundtrack to the Las Vegas Beatles show.
Martin, son of former Beatles producer George Martin, says McCartney was conflicted about this process, but he argued his case.
“My thought was this: that I really thought this needs to sound like The Beatles,” he explains. “The band would have probably sang ‘ahhhhs’ in those things, but they’re not around anymore. So I’m not using AI to recreate their voices in any way. I’m literally taking the multitrack tapes of ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ some stuff from ‘Because’ and ‘Here, There, and Everywhere,’ just in the same way The Beatles are splicing that in.”
He adds, “They feel like they’re from The Beatles, and they are from The Beatles. I think if they were from some machine learning program, they wouldn’t sound right.”
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