How Jack Antonoff, pop's busiest producer, survives his hectic schedule
"I have to be asleep by midnight because I need to be up by 8:30 or 9 so I can get oatmeal and be back in the studio," the producer tells EW.
Jack Antonoff is an extremely busy man.
His new trio Red Hearse just dropped their first album, he co-wrote and co-produced eight tracks off Taylor Swift’s Lover, he helped shape Lana Del Rey’s Norman F—ing Rockwell! (out Friday, Aug. 30), he’s been in the studio collaborating with the Dixie Chicks on their first album in more than a decade, and he’s working on new material with his band Bleachers.
So how does he have the time to do it all? “I always feel oddly like I’m on another planet,” Antonoff tells EW with a laugh. “I was somewhere yesterday and someone said to me, ‘Do you sleep?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! Nine hours a night.'”
The 35-year-old musician adds that he gets through his busy slate by taking it one project at a time. “Maybe it’s the community I’m in but in my world, I’m going to the studio every day; it’s just what we do,” he says. “If you focus the time correctly, you don’t have to know what you’re doing, but you have to know why you’re doing it. Ever since I figured that out — why I’m doing it — then time becomes less of an issue. A lot of this work is about chucking the goal posts super far and just following it. Whoever I’m making records with, if I’m making my own records, if I’m making Dixie Chicks record or whatever it is, you’re there for the same reason because you really believe that the group can do the thing right.”
Antonoff also explains that his schedule is actually a lot simpler than it may seem to the outside observer. “I really take things one day at a time because I’d just get too stressed out if I thought too far ahead,” he says. “So today I’m in LA, then I’m going to the studio, some people are going to meet me there and I’m going to work. I have to be asleep by midnight because I need to be up by 8:30 or 9 so I can get oatmeal and be back in the studio for three hours because I know tomorrow I have to finish this vocal on this Bleachers thing. And then I’m going to fly back to New York and then on Sunday…I’ll probably get to the studio at like 1 and maybe that will be a shorter day. Maybe that day will just be to f— around. The next day, so and so’s coming in. It’s all very simple… It’s these little baby steps and climbing a mountain, if you pan back I would just turn to dust.”
Adds Antonoff, juggling multiple projects is also about reminding yourself why you’re recording music in the first place. “Yesterday I was in the studio with Kevin Abstract, who I love. I was so excited when he was coming in, like when you were a kid and had a playdate. I never want to be in a position where I’m really bummed about the next day. I think that would be a missed opportunity for something I could do good.”