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Big Red Machine Round-Up: Aaron Dessner Chats With NYT, Late Night Performance, New Song

We're a week away from the release of Big Red Machine's second album, How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?, and the promo is coming on strong.

Aaron Dessner chats with the New York Times about

[summary under the cut]
  • talks about how his collaboration with Taylor Swift came to be (he co-wrote and produced many of the tracks from her recent albums folklore and evermore): "One night I was just sitting at dinner and I got a text saying, 'This is Taylor. Would you ever be up for collaborating remotely with me?' I was flattered and said, 'Sure.' She said, 'Just send anything, even the weirdest random sketch that you have,' and I sent her a folder of stuff I'd been working on. And then a few hours later, she sent that song, 'Cardigan.'"

  • speaks on his studio, a converted barn on his NY property, and how odd it's been to be home for almost two years compared to his hectic pre-COVID touring schedule

  • Big Red Machine, his project with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, took a different approach for their second album, bringing on multiple collaborators (Robin Pecknold, Anaïs Mitchell, Lisa Hannigan, Taylor Swift, Naeem, Ben Howard, Sharon Van Etten) and having Aaron step up as a lead singer on a few songs. Says Justin Vernon, "I wanted it to feel much more inclusive and representative of all the extracurricular energy that we've been putting in over the years, trying to make the music industry a little more communist or something. And I got so tired of being lead singer guy, and I'm in another band. I was like, you've got so many connections. Let's reach out and see what other people have feelings on these tracks. And I wanted to continue to support Aaron and honestly challenge him, frankly, to get out in front more. There are little bits and pieces that I show up and do on the record, and I obviously wrote some words and sang some tunes, but really, this is Aaron's record."

  • talks about his approach to music ("little patterns," "build[ing] some sort of architecture out of it") as well as music's impact on his own mental health, with the rhythm and melody being soothing to him

  • some time is spent talking about how he and Justin Vernon started working together, pre-Big Red Machine and in various projects, like the Eaux Claires musical festival

  • talks a bit about the songwriting process behind several of the new Big Red Machine songs

  • finally, talks about his love of collaborating with different people, but balancing that with wanting to keep a family feeling - "I guess I could move to L.A. and set [a hit factory] up. But it wouldn't end well."



Performances with Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) and Anaïs Mitchell of "Phoenix" and new song "New Auburn" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:


[New Auburn]

A fifth track is released ahead of the album:
[Mimi feat. Ilsey]

Where is Aaron Dessner's Big Red Machine bandmate Justin Vernon in all of this?
Performing with Bon Iver at Honor The Earth's Water is Life: Stop Line 3 music festival against the Enbridge pipeline, as well as celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their album Bon Iver, Bon Iver with a special edition vinyl and two-night-only concert announcement.

source | source | source | source

I'm admittedly a huge stan of both The National and Bon Iver, and I've loved every track that Big Red Machine has put out from this album so far. As much as I love Justin Vernon's voice and their first record, I'm super excited for the new albums and its collaborations.
Tags: interview, live performance, music / musician, music / musician (alternative and indie), music video, taylor swift
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