Jack Antonoff has revealed some intriguing details about the challenges of re-recording the songs from Taylor Swift's 2014 album 1989 for the recently released 1989 (Taylor's Version).
Antonoff is Swift's closest creative partner and has contributed songwriting and production to every album she's recorded in the past decade. Their first collaboration was the song Sweeter than Fiction, from the 2013 film One Chance, but the first Swift album that Antonoff worked on was the original version of 1989 in 2014, producing the songs Out of the Woods, I Wish You Would, and You Are in Love.
After Swift's former label, Big Machine Records, sold the rights to the master recordings of her first six albums to a private equity firm, Swift decided to re-record all six albums, this time with the masters under her control.
Antonoff has been on board for the new versions of Fearless, Red and Speak Now, but it's not until the latest re-recording that Antonoff has been tasked with producing a new version of an album that he originally worked on with Swift.
The producer opened up about the challenges of recreating his own work in an interview with Vulture, recalling how he was unable to instantly dial in the synth patches used on the records, as he was working with classic analogue synths like the Moog Model D and Roland Juno-6 that lacked patch memory storage.
"I don’t work with any soft synths, so everything is a sound that’s made in the room," Antonoff told Vulture. "The funny thing is you can’t recall the sounds. So all the Bleachers guys helped a ton on that stuff. It became a really fun project for me and the band.
"I’ll have X amount of tracks that are just sound from the room. The internet was really interested in what sounded like a seagull sound in Is It Over Now? It was really fun, because it was all these analog instruments that we know and love: Moog model Ds, Juno-6s."
Antonoff goes on to liken the process of revisiting his old recordings to discovering a long-lost diary. "There are so many things on so many of those sessions that I was like, 'oh, you little freak'. Little layering I would do then, ’cause you go through phases, and it made me feel really sweet.
"That younger version of me that was just piling shit on, I mean, “Out of the Woods” is just like kitchen sink. That’s the glory of it: As someone who didn’t really have any success as a producer, there was no reason for me to pile all that shit on other than it was just giving me a lot of joy. And it made this weird, messy symphony and I love it to this day."