Jack Antonoff is a busy man. In between writing with Taylor Swift, Lorde, and P!nk — to name a few – he still finds time to tour as Bleachers. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, he breaks down his crazy 2017 and reveals behind-the-scenes details about the artists he’s worked with. It’s been an especially important season for Swift, as her highly anticipated sixth album, reputation, arrived last November.
“It’s an intense album, and that’s what I care about,” Antonoff told the magazine. “In the course of a day — in the course of two minutes — you can feel like you can conquer the world, or you can feel like the biggest piece of garbage that ever existed. An album or song should feel that way too. It should have the whole gamut of what it actually is like for the artist to be alive at that moment.”
Antonoff co-wrote six songs off reputation, including lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” and “New Year’s Day,” the LP’s most stripped-down track. “The sessions were just her and I,” he revealed. “She would come over to my apartment, and we would talk and eat and talk more, and the things we talked about turned into songs.”
“She is great at remembering the heart and soul of the process. … But she’s really great at knowing what it’s about: talking about what the hell is going on in your life and somehow finding a way to take that exact emotion and make a song out of it. That was the theme of those sessions: ‘Let’s just tell this story, whatever that story is, because that’s the whole point.'”
For Antonoff, a critical part of collaborating with another artist is spending time with each other and writing together in the same room. He has zero interest in writing a song for somebody, even if that somebody is as famous as Rihanna is. “Why would I want to sit down and write a Rihanna song? I don’t want to write a Rihanna song,” he said later in the interview. “I don’t know what Rihanna wants. She knows what she wants. I would sit down and work with her, because then you could build together and understand what someone wants to do and how to bring it to life.”
Face-to-face communication is what made reputation come alive. Watch the video below to learn more about the story behind the album.