Top Quotes from Brian Eno

I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness, and a better sense of humor.

Brian Eno

Musicians are there in front of you, and the spectators sense their tension, which is not the case when you’re listening to a record. Your attention is more relaxed. The emotional aspect is more important in live music.

Brian Eno

Control and surrender have to be kept in balance. That’s what surfers do – take control of the situation, then be carried, then take control. In the last few thousand years, we’ve become incredibly adept technically. We’ve treasured the controlling part of ourselves and neglected the surrendering part.

Brian Eno

Democracy is a daring concept – a hope that we’ll be best governed if all of us participate in the act of government. It is meant to be a conversation, a place where the intelligence and local knowledge of the electorate sums together to arrive at actions that reflect the participation of the largest possible number of people.

Brian Eno

When governments rely increasingly on sophisticated public relations agencies, public debate disappears and is replaced by competing propaganda campaigns, with all the accompanying deceits. Advertising isn’t about truth or fairness or rationality, but about mobilising deeper and more primitive layers of the human mind.

Brian Eno

Emotion creates reality, reality demands action.

Brian Eno

I’m actually an evangelical atheist, but there is something I recognise about religion: that it gives people a chance to surrender.

Brian Eno

I don’t live in the past at all; I’m always wanting to do something new. I make a point of constantly trying to forget and get things out of my mind.

Brian Eno

It’s not the destination that matters. It’s the change of scene.

Brian Eno

There are certain sounds that I’ve found work well in nearly any context. Their function is not so much musical as spatial: they define the edges of the territory of the music.

Brian Eno

There are certain sounds that I’ve found work well in nearly any context. Their function is not so much musical as spatial: they define the edges of the territory of the music.

Brian Eno

The Marshall guitar amplifier doesn’t just get louder when you turn it up. It distorts the sound to produce a whole range of new harmonics, effectively turning a plucked string instrument into a bowed one.

Brian Eno

In the 1960s when the recording studio suddenly really took off as a tool, it was the kids from art school who knew how to use it, not the kids from music school. Music students were all stuck in the notion of music as performance, ephemeral. Whereas for art students, music as painting? They knew how to do that.

Brian Eno

I don’t like headphones very much, and I rarely listen to music on headphones.

Brian Eno

Feelings are more dangerous than ideas, because they aren’t susceptible to rational evaluation. They grow quietly, spreading underground, and erupt suddenly, all over the place.

Brian Eno

Singing aloud leaves you with a sense of levity and contentedness.

Brian Eno

People tend to play in their comfort zone, so the best things are achieved in a state of surprise, actually.

Brian Eno

If you want to make someone feel emotion, you have to make them let go. Listening to something is an act of surrender.

Brian Eno

Anything popular is populist, and populist is rarely a good adjective.

Brian Eno

Painting, I think it’s like jazz.

Brian Eno

Lyrics are the only thing to do with music that haven’t been made easier technically.

Brian Eno

Human development thus far has been fueled and guided by the feeling that things could be, and are probably going to be, better.

Brian Eno

When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness because a capella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That’s one of the great feelings – to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue.

Brian Eno

Honor thy error as a hidden intention.

Brian Eno

Lyrics are always misleading because they make people think that that’s what the music is about.

Brian Eno

For the world to be interesting, you have to be manipulating it all the time.

Brian Eno

I believe in singing to such an extent that, if I were asked to redesign the British educational system, I would start by insisting that group singing becomes a central part of the daily routine. I believe it builds character and, more than anything else, encourages a taste for cooperation with others.

Brian Eno

The English don’t like concepts, really, not from a pop star. It’s alright if they come from an ‘intellectual,’, but from a pop star you’re getting ahead of yourself. Part of the class game is that you shouldn’t rise above your station, and to start talking about concepts if you’re in the pop world is getting a bit uppity, isn’t it?

Brian Eno

I’m very good with technology, I always have been, and with machines in general. They seem not threatening like other people find them, but a source of fun and amusement.

Brian Eno

I believe in singing to such an extent that, if I were asked to redesign the British educational system, I would start by insisting that group singing becomes a central part of the daily routine. I believe it builds character and, more than anything else, encourages a taste for cooperation with others.

Brian Eno

A big ego means that you have some confidence in your abilities, really, and that you’re prepared to take the risk of trying them out.

Brian Eno

The basis of computer work is predicated on the idea that only the brain makes decisions and only the index finger does the work.

Brian Eno

The biggest crime in England is to rise above your station. It’s fine to be a pop star. ‘Oh, it’s great, lots of fun, aren’t they sweet, these pop stars! But to think you have anything to say about how the world should work? What arrogance!’

Brian Eno

I would like to see a future where artists think that they have a right to contemplate things like global warming.

Brian Eno

I used to think that, given enough goodwill, anybody would be able to ‘get’ any music, no matter how distant the culture from which it came. And then I heard Chinese opera.

Brian Eno

My kind of composing is more like the work of a gardener. The gardener takes his seeds and scatters them, knowing what he is planting but not quite what will grow where and when – and he won’t necessarily be able to reproduce it again afterwards either.

Brian Eno

In the future, you won’t buy artists’ works; you’ll buy software that makes original pieces of ‘their’ works, or that recreates their way of looking at things. You could buy a Shostakovich box, or you could buy a Brahms box. You might want some Shostakovich slow-movement-like music to be generated. So then you use that box.

Brian Eno

One of the things you’re doing when you make art, apart from entertaining yourself and other people, is trying to see what ways of working feel good, what feels right.

Brian Eno

I’d been making music that was intended to be like painting, in the sense that it’s environmental, without the customary narrative and episodic quality that music normally has. I called this ‘ambient music.’ But at the same time I was trying to make visual art become more like music, in that it changed the way that music changes.

Brian Eno

I thought it was magic to be able to catch something identically on tape and then be able to play around with it, run it backwards; I thought that was great for years.

Brian Eno

Avant-garde music is sort of research music. You’re glad someone’s done it but you don’t necessarily want to listen to it.

Brian Eno

I think we’re about ready for a new feeling to enter music. I think that will come from the Arabic world.

Brian Eno

Perhaps when music has been shouting for so long, a quieter voice seems attractive.

Brian Eno

What I believe is that people have many modes in which they can be. When we live in cities, the one we are in most of the time is the alert mode. The ‘take control of things’ mode, the ‘be careful, watch out’ mode, the ‘speed’ mode – the ‘Red Bull’ mode, actually. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s all part of what we are.

Brian Eno

Every collaboration helps you grow. With Bowie, it’s different every time. I know how to create settings, unusual aural environments. That inspires him. He’s very quick.

Brian Eno

You can’t really imagine music without technology.

Brian Eno

If you grow up in a very strong religion like Catholicism you certainly cultivate in yourself a certain taste for the intensity of ideas.

Brian Eno

Everybody is entertained to death.

Brian Eno

Pop is totally results-oriented and there is a very strong feedback loop.

Brian Eno

Even though I’m known as a pop musician, I have a seriousness about what I do.

Brian Eno

Zappa was very technical and impressed by things that were musically challenging – weird time signatures, strange keys, awkward chord sequences. Zappa was important to me as an example of everything I didn’t want to do. I’m very grateful to him, actually.

Brian Eno

My guitar only has five strings ’cause the top one broke and I decided not to put it back on: when I play chords I only play bar chords, and the top one always used to cut me there.

Brian Eno

One often makes music to supplement one’s world.

Brian Eno