While he’s been the frontman of a number of groups, most notably noise outfit Shellac, Chicago’s Steve Albini isn’t necessarily the type of loves to be thrust into the spotlight. Rather, he is the type of artist who favors a different place—the studio. His own studio, to be exact, which he calls Electrical Audio and has been the recording mecca for many of modern rock’s finest acts of the past few decades. And it’s not just that he owns and runs the studio, as he often sits in as the producer and/or engineer for the artists that come through.
To date, Albini guessed that he has worked on at least 1,500 records, according to an interview with MTSU student Andrew Young. Albini then said that six to eight of them were released on major labels, though that’s underselling the artists he has worked with over the years. Among them are Nirvana, the Pixies, the Breeders, the Stooges, Joanna Newsom, and Superchuck, though the list could clearly go on much, much longer. With an ever-growing list of collaborators, you’d think the guy wouldn’t have time for other pursuits, right? Wrong.
As it turns out, Albini has a pair of hobbies that have gained him some attention outside of the music realm. Well, sort of. The first is public speaking, which is tied slightly to the aforementioned interview with the MTSU student. You see, Albini was at the university for a lecture on audio engineering (what else?), and that wasn’t the first (or last) time he’s spoken to students about the subject. He also recently gave a riveting speech (of sorts) on the state of the music industry, which he believes to “surprisingly sturdy,” according to The Guardian.
Additionally, it just so happens that the multi-talented artist is quite the avid poker player. Albini talked about his fondness for the card game recently on the Kreative Kontrol podcast (along with other music and sports-related topics). And if you think this is merely some minor interest for Albini, you should check out his handle on Twitter. It’s @electricalWSOP, with the last four letters (for those unaware) standing for “World Series of Poker.”
Albini has taken part in several of their events over the years, which is something that other longtime amateur players have accomplished by playing at satellite tournaments on the web. Bet Fair, an online poker hub, regularly hosts such tournaments on their platform as a means for armchair poker players to enter real-life events—much like Albini. Interestingly enough, he admitted in a Poker Stars interview that he stepped up his poker skills when the game hit new levels of popularity in the early 2000s thanks to the advent of online play.
You can watch Albini’s full interview with Poker Stars below to learn more about his poker background and other topics.