How the National’s Aaron Dessner, Bon Iver, and Jack Antonoff Found Inspiration in Taylor Swift

A different side of Swift on 'Folklore'

With the release of Taylor Swift's eighth studio album Folklore came an essay from the singer which describes her latest offering as “collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,” she writes. "It started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity."

With writing and production credits on the album going to Aaron Dessner of The National, Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver we can't help but wonder if Swift had been jamming to those bands prior to the record's inception.

Dessner, who produced and co-wrote eleven of Folklore's tracks explained to Apple Music's Zane Lowe how the album was created by all parties in the isolation of stay-at-home recommendations and spoke of the "instant chemistry" he and Swift shared in its production.

“It was months of work and it ended up being really a ton of work," Dessner told Lowe, "but I think it was possible because of this weird outbreak that was happening.”

Looking and listening back at the completed project, Dessner admits, “it feels very intimate." The topics tackled and “how her voice sounds is very raw and on the surface and kind of full frequency and just beautiful.”

The pair were fans of each other's past work, but diving into the weeds with Swift made Dessner realize that Swift is "really just one of the most hardworking, sharp, focused, talented people," he has ever encountered. Getting to work with his brother Bryce, and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon who he considers a “a very generous, community-oriented person,” were also welcome bonuses.

“It's complete. It's finished," says Dessner. "It feels produced, but I think it will feel fairly organic or raw compared to past things."

Songwriter Jack Antonoff (Fun./Bleachers), who in the past has worked with not only Swift but every other artist under the sun, was quick to offer an opinion of the contributions he made on the new record and to shout out Dessner in a series of tweets.

In her release essay, Taylor mentioned getting to work with some of her "musical heroes," considering him "basically musical family at this point."

Ending her essay, Swift says: "Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve," and she told them alongside some of her favorite musicians. Perhaps in time they'll become yours as well.

After that, "it’s up to you to pass them down."

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