My process is, for the most part, a solitary one. It was not until very recently that I began to feel comfortable engaging others in my writing process at the time of writing. I have typically been a homework-giver: writing and fine tuning a song and then showing someone in advance of their coming in to record on it. It’s a very thorough, diligent and boring way to work. Boring compared to the opposite method of entering a session with the smallest notion of what the song or piece of music will be. As I look on it, it takes guts to work this way, and a certain amount of bravado. Suffice to say, I have historically had to be über comfortable with my collaborators in order to collaborate at all. When I booked time to record Groove Redundant, there was little doubt in my mind that I would only do it if Andrew, Josh and Max flew from their digs in Austin to New York. Of course, other suggestions were made, but I just couldn’t warm up to those ideas because I have had a continuous relationship with these musicians since starting to play in bands all the way back in 2010. We had succeeded at small things together, and we had also failed miserably at much together. I knew them all more than I had ever bargained for. So my thinking was, in an environment where risk taking was going to be important, I trusted these guys to be fluid and help me achieve what I had in mind for these songs. Or, I trusted them to help make art. Logistically speaking, they were going to have a lot of leeway because in very few cases did I have decisions made about rhythm section ideas. The rhythm section hitherto had been this sort of neighboring state with its own laws and customs. My little state also had its own laws and customs, yet we both were subject to some larger governmental umbrella. In some cases on songs, I had unknowingly crossed state lines and made choices that would influence what they did, but it only worked out for the better. By the way, Josh and Andrew both play drums, and Max plays bass. Anyway, it turned out to be an easy sell, and everyone showed up a couple days before we started tracking. It gave me a lot of pleasure to show them the gem that was Motherbrain. I remember leading them down the dingy industrial street towards the warehouse, which also shared space with a halal butcher, by the way. On some days, the smell of animal piss was overwhelming. It added a morbid sort of charm when you knew that your ultimate destination was a studio. We walked up a few flights of stairs and down a hallway to a completely nondescript door that opened upon what could a scene from some Rolling Stones tracking session. Instruments just casually everywhere, and cigarette smoke and coffee smells. And the tour just kept unveiling more delights in terms of the control room, and how not precious everything was. I think that was the real clincher: nothing was very precious, yet everything was quite musical and showed signs of having a deep history. I was happy to show my friends this, and I believe that it set a good tone for our work that would span the next five days. There aren’t any anecdotes that don’t already exist in every retelling of an album’s creation: we hit roadblocks, we had magical, inexplicable moments that were all captured, and a lot of hilariously inappropriate jokes; which I believe blossom in studio settings everywhere because everyone communicates via microphones and headphones, so no one gets the benefit of reading your facial expression. To me, the process was very collaborative, which is what I was really hoping for. The greatest cuts in my mind were taken as live as possible, with everyone on their toes, not knowing where the music was going. This, I have discovered thanks to hindsight and reflection, is my favorite way of working now, and I am grateful to have had these times as lessons in that regard. We were really shown the best time; nothing ever malfunctioned and there was as much coffee as you could handle, though I do think after a certain point there are diminishing returns on coffee and one’s creative process. Too much and suddenly I can’t hear anymore. After tracking, everybody flew back to Austin with their stories to tell, and I stayed behind and recorded overdubs for a couple months. This was fun yet painstaking work, and I hadn’t acclimated to the level of stamina it takes in order to focus for hours on vocal takes, for instance. Nonetheless, hours on vocal takes we spent, and all of this was then mixed in several days by Jon, who hitherto has not been mentioned, but worked for Bender as well for several years. Jon and I have had a rapport from working together, and he played on the record as well. Jon is very sharp, has the kind of humor that very sharp New Yorkers have, which is that palm to face kind of humor that you use like medicine when you live in New York, and he is also very tall. As I said, mixing happened very quickly. I suppose the most notable thing about this whole process was just how quickly the project came together. That is quite special I think: it requires some stars lining up and a lot of goodwill from everyone involved to make time. I still look back and feel very fortunate about this time.