Over their respective careers, Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart have accomplished more than just about anyone else in rock ‘n’ roll. Nicks, as both a solo artist and a driving force behind Fleetwood Mac, continues to captivate audiences young and not so young (including much of the Refinery29 staff), while Stewart’s work with the Eurythmics, as well as his career as a producer and activist, has kept him in the limelight for more than three decades. Considering their histories, when we heard that Stewart would be working with Nicks on her latest solo album, we were more than a little bit excited. What we didn’t know is that Stewart and Nicks had decided to film the whole process.
The result is In Your Dreams, a documentary that serves as a time capsule for the months the two spent writing and recording the 2011 album of the same name in Nicks’ beautiful California home. The film shows what it’s like to have two icons (and friends) throwing ideas back and forth, arguing about creative decisions and shaping the sound of the record. Along the way, there are guest appearances by Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and Reese Witherspoon, who helped contribute to the album. We caught up with Stewart to talk about working with Nicks, recording the album, and staying inspired. If you’re interested, you can purchase the film from iTunes here.
Was it hard to get used to the constant presence of the cameras during the recording process?
“No, not once I’d established how omnipresent they were. And also nowadays, there are these great, very small cameras. Sometimes we’d set up cameras on tripods, and they’d capture hours of unusable stuff, but then you’d capture magic moments.”
Was there any moment in particular that you were amazed you had captured?
“There were loads, actually. I loved watching how spot on and focused Stevie was. All these nuances that captured her focus. A lot of artists don’t particularly want cameras, but in that sense, she was surprisingly open. It was pretty amazing.”
In the documentary, you mention that you’ve been filming for much of your life, but Stevie also has a directing credit.
“I sort of suggested she had a directing credit, [because of her role in] the editing process. She was devouring information. I think because of that it took a lot longer because, interestingly enough, she wanted to [be involved] with the editing process.”
Stevie called making the record “the greatest year of my life.” Do you have the same fondness for that period of time?
“Oh yeah. A lot of people who make films — actors, actresses, directors — describe it like they were in the Air Force or the Army. You do get a great fondness for the people. There is a camaraderie and understanding that you’re doing it together. And I think Stevie loved that. [Before] she was making albums in studios or touring nonstop. Then her life wasn’t so much [about] fun and creating. It was more her on her own writing songs and poems and things like that. So, it opened her eyes up to an album that was just creating.”
How do you stay inspired to make new music after so many years in the industry?
“I think it might be a creative gene. The idea not to create has never entered my head. It doesn’t have to be for me. It could be photography or design — all sorts of different ways. Or it could be working with somebody else who is creating something. That’s just what I do.”
Considering how well the album went, do you think you and Stevie will work together on another album?
“Yeah, sure. I’m sure there will be more collaborative ideas. The world is changing so fast, so I’m not sure how much longer the word ‘album’ will be around, but there will always be music. There will be [more] collaborations because we get on so well.”
Is there a moment in film that encapsulates the time you spent together making the record?
“There’s a bit in the end credits where they are blasting ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ out of the stereo. It’s the end of shooting, and we’re both singing at the top of our voices, and camera pans back and you see all the crew and her friends, and everyone is laughing and having a really good time.”
Nathan Reese / Refinery29 / Wednesday, July 3, 2013