Introducing Listening: A New Podcast From Mailchimp Presents, in Collaboration with Talkhouse
Today, Mailchimp Presents and Talkhouse launch Listening, a brand new podcast that explores how some of the most acclaimed, inventive and beloved musicians hear and process the world around them. Featuring Jeff, Spencer and Sammy Tweedy, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, Mdou Moctar, Neko Case, Laraaji, JLIN, Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, Vagabon, MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, and Björk, each of the series’ 10 episodes invites the artist to create a composition that allows others to intimately experience a particular time and place in their lives. Alongside host and producer Elia Einhorn, the subjects open up their sonic diaries to not only discuss the creation of their piece and the transformation of various sounds into a unique, musical portrait, but the enriching art of deeper listening at large.
Structured into three acts, every installment of Listening invites the listener to try on the ears of its featured artist and experience what their world sounds like, before hearing the composition that was produced specifically for the program, and then taking a step behind the curtain to learn the processes and motivations that animate the artist and their work.
In the first of four episodes out now, Jeff, Spencer and Sammy Tweedy discuss their experience of listening, creating and playing music together. The Grammy Award-winning Wilco founder and his sons also debut their Listening piece, and reveal how weekly, live-streamed jam sessions became a bright spot amidst the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second installment, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee premieres her composition and talks about her decision to get sober, living in the middle of the country, listening to oneself and hearing new things in old material. Mdou Moctar, a torchbearer for modern Tuareg blues, takes the third episode on a sonic journey across his native Niger, all the way to his remote, religiously-rooted hometown of Agadez. For the fourth episode, Neko Case offers a recording from her rural farm in Vermont, while delving into the sounds that surround her environment, the trust she has developed for her own ears, and more.
Talkhouse and Mailchimp Presents will continue to unveil two new episodes of Listening on a weekly basis for the next three Wednesdays, accompanied by the unprecedented, exclusive release of each individual artist composition as a standalone piece within the series’ feed. Equal parts podcast and concept album, listeners will enter the sounds of Laraaji’s Harlem home and experience the intuition and patience of JLIN’s avant-garde electronic music. Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt will open up about his mystifying battle with long COVID, while MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger will navigate the themes of parenthood, joy, hope and loneliness. Vagabon will showcase the sounds she cherishes from growing up in Cameroon, and the series will culminate with Björk, who teleports Listening to a recent, magical performance with Iceland’s Hamrahlíð Choir, recontextualized in collaboration with legendary field recordist Chris Watson.
“I think this very well might be the most ambitious music podcast series ever made,” says Ian Wheeler, Founder of Talkhouse Creative Studio and Executive Producer of Listening. “We’re so incredibly grateful to the artists and our partners at Mailchimp for working with us to create something so wonderful and meaningful."
“The last couple of years have blurred the lines of how we live, what’s important and how we express ourselves,” adds Julie Douglas, Senior Podcast Manager and Executive Producer of Mailchimp Studios. “And this podcast is a reflection of that, with amazing artists-musicians creating a kind of call and response to the world in the form of original compositions with companion commentary, and our friends and collaborators at Talkhouse acting as thoughtful translators and bringing these stories to life.”
Listening was also produced by Jenner Pascua and Samiah Adams at Talkhouse, with additional contributions from host/producer Elia Einhorn, producer, engineer and sound designer Mark Yoshizumi, and producers Katie Lau, Madeleine Campbell and Reese Higgins at 3dB. The series marks the first of multiple, marquee partnerships between Talkhouse and Mailchimp Presents, embodying the first-person, creator-centric storytelling that is synonymous across all of Talkhouse’s award-winning podcast network, from the flagship Talkhouse Podcast to the newly-added SHEROES and Jokermen, plus That’s How I Remember It With Craig Finn, Feist’s Pleasure Studies, Emil Amos’ Drifter’s Sympathy, Sing For Science, 365 days with mxmtoon, Aquarium Drunkard’s Transmissions, The New Republic’s The Politics Of Everything, Open Mike Eagle’s Stony Island Audio and more.
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