A brief history of Rick Rubin lying down

For thousands of dollars an hour, Rick Rubin will lie recumbent and make your album sound like it was recorded in Elysium

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The Independent Culture

I think it was Confucius who said ‘Teachers open doors, but you must lie down in the room by yourself’, a proverb Rick Rubin has taken to heart in his prolific and illustrious career, lying down on the leather sofas of countless studios and dispensing sage advise to the world’s biggest musicians.

Lesser producers not worthy of the ‘superproducer’ epithet might feel the need to act and appear businesslike, perhaps wearing a suit or doing a lot of arms-folded standing, but not Rubin, who just saunters in bare foot with bedraggled hair, storied beard and wearing a baggy t-shirt. He might look like a legal high seller who’s just woken up in the desert and realised Coachella finished a week ago, but you know he is going to mix the hell out of your new album.

Rubin’s preferred stance when taking in a track seems to be lying supine on any available squishy surface.

Here he is helping Jay Z put the finishing touches to Magna Carta Holy Grail.

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And now contemplating his next sip of premium glacier water.


In this still, he literally lies feet in the air hugging a pillow like a teen in a John Hughes movie while talking into to a mic to Black Sabbath who are in the next room.


More high-quality lay downs Rick has enjoyed (with help from RickRubinLyingDown):


Dr Dre once stated that Rubin is "hands down, the dopest producer ever that anyone would ever want to be, ever”, and it’s impossible to deny that Rubin is a hugely aspirational figure.

Just look at him in his Malibu home, wandering around its vast, sunshine-drenched rooms (imagine how good that marble feels on your feet) before falling down into a gargantuan, transcendent, circular sofa.

Hell, Rick’s mixing console probably has a Zen meter, and the needle’s been constantly in the red since 1982.

When lying down is not possible, Rubin will occasionally agree to sit for his clients and interviewers. 

As you would expect this is not any old sit however, but one with such enviable posture you would sell members of your own family just to achieve it.

Notice the stark contrast between reporter and Rubin here.

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Rick sitting at a vodka launch.


And even sitting when underwater. Drop Rick Rubin in the Mariana Trench and he will sink calmly to the bottom cross-legged, emerging months later with the richest bass tone of 2016.


You know how you know when you’re famous? When Zane Lowe visits your studio just to lay in the places where you once laid.

Here’s to you, Rick, to growing old serenely, to well-panned audio and to lying the f*ck down.