Kurt Cobain of Nirvana: Here’s a ‘New Interview’ Created by Artificial Intelligence


Black and white image or Kurt Cobain.

Nirvana: Artificial intelligence simulated ‘interview’ with vocalist Kurt Cobain – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ken Settle

Exclusive: Audio Ink Radio used artificial intelligence software to create a simulated, “new interview” with the late, great Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage. It’s created “new” Nirvana songs, Eminem songs and more, all of which, of course, aren’t really from the bands or artists. So, why not go one step further and create some new, simulated dialog from late, great Nirvana vocalists Kurt Cobain? Nirvana artificial intelligence is a real thing.

The staff at Audio Ink Radio set out to do just that, with the goal of seeing if AI could really recreate some “new” words from the beloved Nirvana frontman.¬†Using the text generation API from DeepAI, we fed pieces of quotes from Cobain’s 1994 interview with Rolling Stone and 1991 interview with Guitar World into the system.

The text generation API, according to its official website, “is backed by a large-scale unsupervised language model that can generate paragraphs of text. This transformer-based language model, based on the GPT-2 model by OpenAI, intakes a sentence or partial sentence and predicts subsequent text from that input.”

The result, albeit, was a bit choppy. That’s expected from any AI technology. After all, it’s still a developing technology, even though it’s getting better. So, after the software spit out the text, we enlisted some human editing from the Audio Ink Radio staff to combine the chunks of AI text into something understandable.

That said, with a dollop of human editing, here’s what AI has created as a “new interview” with the late vocalist. Of course, we want to clarify that this is not really an interview with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. This is an AI-generated simulation of an interview with the frontman. Furthermore, for additional information on DeepAI, go here.

On dealing with fame and success in Nirvana:

I’m going to continue to work on this rock star thing. Because, you know, there’s an opportunity for a lot of people to hear our music. I’m going to be a rock star for a long time. You just don’t get all the work it takes. This band is a huge, huge part of what shaped my identity. But, I’m tired of being asked, “How do you feel about the situation of being a ‘rock star,’ and, ‘What you are doing with your life?'”

On working on new music:

I think one of our most exciting songs will appear on the new album, because it really opens up an interesting conversation that I’m still working on, but it is really exciting to me. I’m also thinking about all of the different records that I’ve been playing lately and going back to the ’80s. I think it’s gonna go a little bit different. That’s my hope right now. For now, all my songs are in working mode.

On his vocals with Nirvana:

I do like to be a little bit of a control freak on vocals. I love to play those little, tiny bits of music just like a certain way. But, sometimes it doesn’t really bring out any emotion. People might hear it and say, “That’s crazy and dumb,” or, “That’s what we really love.”

On music being beautiful:

A lot of music, I find, is about emotion. I’ve become aware that there is a lot of negative and positive emotion around music. I don’t agree with every song and don’t agree with every act. But, I think with music, you’re going to find a great sense of meaning in the world, and some pretty stunning beauty. The music helps fill in these gaps. I found that really resonated with me.

On songwriting:

It’s a real challenge, because there’s so much emotion involved with the lyrics that you’re writing and all the songs that you love. It might seem like you’re going against a big brick wall, but that’s when you learn. You learn what your goals are and all the emotions associated with them. When you don’t listen or play music, you don’t know what your goal is. You just start playing, and you go somewhere different. I don’t really have any idea; that’s just what it is to me.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s feature on the best grunge vocalists of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Music, Rock

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