“I always know when it’s done. It’s a feeling”: Jack Antonoff explains how he knows when a track is finished

“Ego in the studio is so hilarious to me.”

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Jack Antonoff playing piano onstage

Credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images for The Ally Coalition

As producers and engineers, we often have trouble knowing when a song or mix is finished. As music is so subjective, there’s technically no end point. But Jack Antonoff can always tell when a song is finished, and in a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, he explains how.

The superstar producer says, “I always know when it’s done. It’s a feeling,” and says he’ll want a new song to “live in the world”.

Antonoff, who released a new album with his band Bleachers earlier this month and is a frequent collaborator of stars like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Lorde, adds, “The one thing I’ve gotten better and better about is just listening to that, because what’s crazy about this work is, none of it adds up to an actual number.

“So it’s not like I did this and I did this, and we’re doing building blocks to get somewhere. It’s so random how many records we’ve recorded this way or that way, or this song. You spend hours and money and all this stuff doing it, and then you turn around and you’re like, ‘Ah, I think it’s an acoustic song.’”

He continues, “And then, you put it down in 10 minutes, and it’s got more emotional resonance than all the shit you did. Which is why ego in the studio is so hilarious to me, because it’s like ego in church, it’s like, ‘What, do you know God better than me or something?’ It’s crazy.”

In the interview, he also discusses his production style, explaining that he’s never been a “mathematician technician” and likes to find things that “may or may not make sense.” He talks about his love for the saxophone, and leaving things in recordings that other producers might take out.

And he says about making music with other people, “It is all feeling. It’s why I’ve been very happy to divorce myself from anything that’s just not here. Everyone I’m making records with were pretty insular … but I really just tend to work with people who just have a gut feeling about something and just want to find it. That’s all making an album is.”

You can check out the full interview here:


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