Less than 12 hours after Taylor Swift’s tenth album, midnightdown October 21, 25-year-old New Zealander posted a Video on Twitter In it he correctly recorded himself guessing, one by one, when listening for the first time, each song on the album produced by Jacques Antonov.
Caleb Gamann commented on his clip, which currently has over 84,000 likes, “I can immediately tell if Jacques Antonoff worked on a song because of his deep dislike for his production style.” To be fair, 17 out of 20 tracks were played midnight Antonov produced, but there was something rather euphoric about watching this man reverberate on the exact songs — “The Great War,” “High Treason” and “Could it have been, it should have been” — which were produced by Aaron Desner in while that. “Snow on the Beach” was the first movie that made Gamman hesitate, until he heard Swift’s voice pounce. “No, that is,” he said with a chuckle. It was ‘Midnight Rain’ that really impressed me. Gaman could tell that it was Antonov before he heard a lyric at the fall of an exhale (or a scream?). This is the one that made me want to talk to him, because what the actual fuck?
Antonov offers not so much a formal musical role as an emotion-based product that female singers and songwriters especially love to work with. As Antonov himself Tell Watchman In 2017, his method was to deconstruct “the saddest, most disturbing, real things that someone might go through, and then find a way to sew those things into pop songs.” what does that mean???? in PitchforkQuinn Moreland quickly connected this charm to the earth, summing up his voice as “essentially, nostalgic guitars and string arrangements, and bulbous choruses.” However, Antonov’s ubiquity – in the past year alone he collaborated with Swift, Lana Del Rey, Lord, Saint Vincent, Clairo, and even had an affair with Olivia Rodrigo – makes it really difficult to analyze what is and isn’t an Antonov song. In Morland’s words: “As the designated agent of pop music, his sheer presence may have settled this place between mainstream pop and indie music.”
Gaman is not a musician. It is a video product. He has a YouTube channel where he deconstructs content, mostly movies and games. This does not mean that he has no history with Antonov. As a high school student, when he was still a reasonable drummer, he remembers that he had to perform (can’t remember why – probably due to vocal shock) songs for the Antonov band at that time, fun. (“I didn’t like him,” he says. “But I didn’t know I would definitively hate her at that point.”) After Antonov started his one-man band, Bleachers, a former Gamman had fallen in love with the female-faced remix album of 2015 for the release of the band the previous year. But, as he reveals in our conversation below (intense because no one speaks in Q&A format, at least not me) his hatred for Antonov’s voice is much richer than just sour grapes.
One of your tweets He says, “I am the only person alive and I have a good knowledge of the media, so whenever someone disagrees with me it is objectively an idiot.” I know it was just a stupid tweet, but where does that motivation come from?
I have a BSC in Creative Media Production. Part of that was analyzing things, so I have a formal background in it. But that’s always been the interesting thing for me – I think I enjoy unpacking something more than I enjoy watching it, or whatever. I think I somewhat destroyed my ability to seriously engage in anything. I’m going to break something down as things go.
Have you always been this way?
I’ve always been very specific in my tastes. I don’t want to watch too much or listen too much. I can get a great investment in something. Maybe it’s a little defense mechanism rather than being in bondage to a piece of music and being manipulated. It has always been like this. But how good I am at criticism has changed.
Why are you taking this approach?
I know. In elementary school, I just wanted to listen to U2.
It’s funny that you’re playing Jack Antonov and you love U2.
I will do on U2 now. It’s like that story about Steven Spielberg, where after he saw special effects in a movie, he’d come home and re-engineer them so he could get past them.
When did you first encounter Jacques Antonov?
It might be fun. “we are young“It would be most people’s first experience with it. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t completely hate it right away. It was only when production started for other people that I started to dislike it — and then it instantly became. I had loved early on Taylor Swift. I was even in 1989, who was Jacques Antonov – not all that, but he was involved – and I didn’t hate it. But then everything that Jacques Antonov did began to be postponed.
Well, what’s the deal? why?
I feel like I can work backwards and explain it. But there was just something about it where if you just heard about his production, it would raise my heart rate. I’ll say, “Oh, honey.” Definitely the way he handles singing is frustrating to me. It’s almost the same as ASMR-y, and will do digital formatting – using auto-resetting as a compatibility – rather than doing it natively. He’ll even make whisper tracks, so you get all that whistling and mouth noise. The main thing is digital singing that sounds very close and personal, like excessive intimacy. Altogether, the way it handles those sounds is also very broad. It’s extending the stereo, so it’ll sound like it’s all around you.
Oh, you mean like U2? I’m just kidding.
Hence, I suppose I’m not huge on crystal-clear bass. He uses classic drum sounds, then puts an effect on them so that they all sound a little faded. He often flips the high end of the volume so that you only get the sounds of the bass drums. Oh, and it will outlast them. I think all drums will have a tone, but he will use it to do something in tune. It just creates a complete mixture for me that, in general, is not convincing.
How do you choose these items and know it is him, though? It’s not like there are no people who do the same things.
definitely. I really like the clean frequency sound when it’s on computer music [British label founded by producer A.G. Cook] a path. And I really loved the digital format when Kanye West went through that stage, not to bring it to that stage. But being able to tell whether it’s Jack or not isn’t very rational.
It makes me think you have a really intimate knowledge of his work even though you don’t like it.
Because he’s worked with so many artists that I love, I kind of do.
What is your favorite?
The album he did with Lana Del Rey I thought was okay. I didn’t think it was Lana’s best album, it was like Lana’s solid album. It doesn’t have a lot of jack embellishments.
Norman fucking Rockwell?
yes. He also sang a song called “foreign girls. The first time I heard that song, it was on a broken speaker system and only the right channel from the speakers was working, and I thought, “This song is great.” And I looked for it and saved it. Then I listened to it again on the headphones and it turned out in the left channel, there The crazy saxophone run that went through everything and it was unbearable.
This is so funny. What is the platonic ideal of Jack Antonoff’s worst sound for you?
The reputation For Taylor Swift’s album, that was pretty tough. I can’t listen to any of that, it’s so embarrassing.
I think a lot of people would agree with you. What do you think of Lord’s album [Melodrama, which a number of critics consider a masterpiece]?
Yes, I mean, it was Jack. I’ve listened to a little of it, but I was kind of like, I could hear it there.
So, wait, how did you find out you had this skill?
Maybe that was when reputation went out [November 2017]That was when I determined that when I heard a Jacques Antonoff song, I wouldn’t like it physically. By the way, I’m perfectly fine with just about any piece of music. Any piece of music I hear, I say, “That’s cool.” It’s just Jacques Antonov that I don’t like. It is a material thing. I know it’s a jack in my bones.
Nothing else hits you the same way? Wondering if there are any tastes or touches?
You mean something sensual? I do not think so. I can’t really think of anything else that would do that.
Eagle did this crash Among all the elements of Jacques Antonov: poppies, rhythmic acoustic guitars, big chord booms, big ’80s synths, big choirs, intimate songwriting, a woman with a guitar or a piano. And I love, these all seem random.
yes. And kind of applies to at least half of the music.
That’s why I was confused. I like, this does not help me as a switch.
I listen to music and hear productions mostly. I’m not good with words. I don’t have a hard time understanding the speakers, but once you start singing it just becomes noise, like part of the mix or something. By the way, I wasn’t expecting to have 100% success. [in the video]. I think I only did it because most of them are Jacques Antonov. My friends know I can do this. I’ve done this notably with Jacques Antonoff who has produced albums in the past. I usually get some false positives. There were some on Taylor Swift’s last album that I think was a New Zealand producer [Joel Little] And I was like, ‘This is definitely Jacques Antonoff.’ And it wasn’t. But he was doing it that way, so that could happen. It’s a style going around and I think more people are adopting some of the tics.
I guess it’s a slippery slope between having a voice versus being a little lazy about your voice?
People were saying he’s like JJ Abrams to music and I can see that. I think any major producer who makes super commercial music, you will continue to do what works. But he must be great to work with. Everyone seems to love working with him.
I’ve been reading about how people like to work with him because he brings out their voice more, rather than showing them his own. But I feel as he does.
Yes, I think Clairo [Sling, 2021] And Lana are two of his projects that differ from his voice, but everything else he produces is Jacques Antonoff’s voice.
I wonder how much reverberation comes from just spreading that sound.
I think the fact that the video has had any effect, I think the reality has caught up with my opinion. I’ve been quietly spreading my hatred of Jacques Antonoff for years. But now it has flipped.
What made you decide to make the video?
did you see Those guys who play GeoGuessr? There is this game where you can spit in a random place in Google Street View and you have to guess where you are. There is this man [Georainbolt] Who is the best in the world at doing this. By just looking at a photo of a place for a second, he can determine where it is on the map. This was the style of the video. I was doing this as extra stuff on my website. I saw that [Swift] I dropped the album, and made a note to myself that was, “When I wake up tomorrow, I must shoot this video in the style of this guy’s videos.”
What music do you really like – the exact opposite of Jacques Antonov?
I might say AG Cook. If you are familiar with PC Music, Charli XCX has recently finished production [and for Beyoncé]. He does a lot of things similar to Jacques Antonoff, but in a way, he’s very palatable to me. It might push things even further. He’s ready to go ultra-clear or ultra-digital sound, while Jack Antonoff sits inside that. AG Cook is a good analogy, because if you try to deconstruct what Jack Antonoff does, point to him, you can say the same things about AG Cook, but it’s much more extreme and more interesting.
You just hate Jacques Antonov. It’s very clear to me that you hate this poor man.
I don’t even know the guy. I know less biographical information about Jacques Antonoff than most people I have spoken to. I have no interest in him. It’s just my voice, I can’t stand it.