Aaron Dessner on working with Taylor Swift on ‘Folklore’: “I’ve rarely been so inspired by someone”

"There’s a palpable humanity, warmth and raw emotion in these songs that I hope you’ll love and take comfort in as much as I do"

The National‘s Aaron Dessner has spoken out about collaborating with Taylor Swift on her surprise new album ‘Folklore’.

Officially announced only yesterday, Swift’s eighth studio album has arrived today (July 24). The record, which was recorded remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, also saw Swift collaborating with Bon Iver and Jack Antonoff.

Dessner, who is credited as a co-producer on ‘Folklore’, released a statement yesterday (July 23) to explain more about the part he played in Swift’s new album.

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“I was excited and honoured when Taylor approached me in late April about maybe writing some songs remotely together,” Dessner wrote. “I had been isolating with my family but writing a ton of music in the first months of quarantine which I shared. I thought it would take a while for song ideas to come and I had no expectations as far as what we could accomplish remotely.

“But a few hours after sharing music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written version of a song — the momentum never really stopped. Over the next few months, we remotely finished 11 songs (she also recorded several others with the amazing Jack Antonoff) of her magical new album ‘Folklore’.

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I was excited and honored when Taylor approached me in late April about maybe writing some songs remotely together. I had been isolating with my family but writing a ton of music in the first months of quarantine which I shared. I thought it would take a while for song ideas to come and I had no expectations as far as what we could accomplish remotely. But a few hours after sharing music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written version of a song — the momentum never really stopped. Over the next few months, we remotely finished 11 songs (She also recorded several others with the amazing @jackantonoff) of her magical new album “folklore”. I've rarely been so inspired by someone and it’s still hard to believe this even happened — these songs came together in such a challenging time. It wouldn't haven't been possible without so much help from first and foremost my engineer Jon Low (@heyjonlow). And my brother @brycedessner's beautiful orchestration on several songs from across the ocean. Justin (@blobtower) helped to write and sing a beautiful song and so many other friends from our community contributed brilliantly from their respective isolation — Ben Lanz (@lanzprojects), Bryan Devendorf (@postmoderndrummer), Bryce Dessner, @claricejensen, Dave Nelson (@dnelnelson), James McAlister (@900x), @jasontreuting, Josh Kaufman (@kaufyismynamo), JT Bates (@floortomjtbates), Kyle Resnick (@kresnick), Rob Moose (@mooserob), Thomas Bartlett (@tingalayo), and Yuki Numata Resnick (@kiyukiyukiyuki) — More on them later! I'm very proud of all these songs and profoundly grateful to @taylorswift for inviting me into and trusting me in her process. She is one of the most talented, hardworking and deeply caring artists I've ever encountered. There's a palpable humanity and warmth and raw emotion in these songs that I hope you'll love and take comfort in as much as I do. Album art by @bethgarrabrant.

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on

“I’ve rarely been so inspired by someone and it’s still hard to believe this even happened — these songs came together in such a challenging time.”

Dessner added: “I’m very proud of all these songs and profoundly grateful to Taylor for inviting me into and trusting me in her process. She is one of the most talented, hardworking and deeply caring artists I’ve ever encountered.

“There’s a palpable humanity and warmth and raw emotion in these songs that I hope you’ll love and take comfort in as much as I do.”

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Swift has also released the video for the ‘Folklore’ song ‘Cardigan’, which she directed herself.

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