The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo is the newest artistic collaboration from legendary singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. Every other week, Aimee and Ted talk to friends across the creative spectrum to find out how they work. And sure, they're friends with a lot of musicians, but weirdly not as many as you'd expect. So you'll hear from comedians, directors, novelists, show creators - ok, yes, some musicians - writers, producers and more, as they discuss the process of turning an idea into art.
Ep. 16 - Open Mike Eagle “What if Somebody Knocked Down the Pyramids?”
Ep. 16 - Open Mike Eagle “What if Somebody Knocked Down the Pyramids?” Hello, hello! This week, we sat with the great Open Mike Eagle, to talk rap, comedy, architecture, and mental health for touring musicians! I first met Mike a few years ago, when Aimee and I, along with Mike, were guests on a PAUL F. TOMPKINS show in Los Angeles, and we had such an amazing time hanging and talking with him at the show, that we stayed in touch. Now, I assumed that Mike knew Paul in the way that we comedy-adjacent musicians ALL know our comedian friends - the exact context in which we were meeting that day - guests on someone’s show - that’s how it works! Hell, that’s how AIMEE and I really got to know each other. HOWEVER, Mike has a little bit of a different story of how he came into Paul’s orbit, and I thought it was pretty hilarious. I’ll say no more here, but it gets revealed in the course of this interview. I’ve loved his music for a long time - he’s an incredible lyricist, a much better singer than he thinks he is, and wildly creative in about fifteen other ways as well. One little Easter Egg that I’m proud of, is that he and Aimee were tied at 60 in the Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll for 2017, and I was just below them at 61. That was a nice cluster to see. *A CAVEAT* - there was a slight buzz on some of the tracks that I could NOT get rid of. I hope it’s not too distracting. LINKS: For music, merch, and news: MikeEagle.Net Mike’s recent Tiny Desk set. I include these often because I, personally, think it’s cool to see how people handle the constraints of the space - it really brings out people’s strengths.. *I* think; and I love this one by Mike. (Also peep our mutual friend, Jordan Katz, on trumpet, etc. in this!) One of the tracks off Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, “Hymnal.” I just like this one a lot, and IT features an exquisite verse by Sammus, who I also love. And here’s an example of what Mike does for every episode of The New Negroes” - Mike & MF Doom, “Police Myself” FIND US: @Mike_Eagle @AimeeMann @TedLeo @artofprocesspod @MaxFunHQ
Ep. 15 - Kim Gordon “Is Art Really All Design Now?”
Ep. 15 - Kim Gordon “Is Art Really All Design Now?” Very happy to bring you another interview in a different kitchen - this time, the mighty Kim Gordon’s (kitchen) (and interview)! I fairly idolized Kim for her presence in Sonic Youth, but I see her more now as an inspiration in how to live a creative life when life keeps getting longer. I was privileged to attend the opening of her Wreaths show in LA a couple of years ago, not long after Aimee and I were lucky to catch an early live set of Body/Head, right around the time Kim was beginning to write her BOOK, etc., etc., you get the picture. And I have trouble sticking to a podcast schedule. Anyway, Kim’s a legend for good reason, and I thank her for sitting down with us and I’m glad we DIDN’T talk a ton about music, but more about life and her return to her first love, the visual arts. Some links: An example of the wreath art (that you can *purchase*) on Artsy.com: “Wreath Painting Northampton Blue” 2011 An article in the Pittsburgh City Paper about the Warhol museum exhibit, which, in classic timing for this podcast, as of the moment I’m writing this, literally closed two days ago: “Kim Gordon's Lo-Fi Glamour exhibit at The Andy Warhol Museum is bold, crude, and dangerous” Great footage of early-ish Sonic Youth (1983), live in Poitiers, Fr., with Kim on vocals. Letterman performance of “Bull in the Heather” Free Kitten’s “What’s Fair” live at CB’s in 1994 Body/Head live & P’fork interview, St. Vitus, NYC 2013 (This is the show Aimee and I happened to be at, coincidentally) And one of my all-time favorite’s of Kim’s, “Shadow of a Doubt” Find us: @KimletGordon @AimeeMann @TedLeo @artofprocesspod @MaxFunHQ
Ep. 14 - Chad Clark “This is Why it’s Good to be Transparent!”
Ep. 14 - Chad Clark “This is Why it’s Good to be Transparent!” Apologies for the hiatus, folks. We are BACK and I’ll be attempting to turn the next few episodes out on a weekly basis to get us back on track In this episode, we start off with some rhombus talk and celebrate GETTING OLD. THEN WE GET TO CHAD CLARKE - practically the ideal guest for our concept. I’ve always admired Chard and his work. I’ve always seen him as an incredibly inventive person with an ear for melody and orchestration AND a fearless vision for experimentation. When I first that heard his band, Beauty Pill, had written and recorded an album AS A MUSEUM INSTALLATION, in full view of passersby, I was floored, and thus, when we started this podcast, I knew we had to have him on to discuss that (and, of course, many other things). It’s hard to express how intense the record-making process is, interpersonally, under normal circumstances. To do it in public seems, to me, fun in some ways, and downright terrifying in others. Aimee and I have always put a premium on mental health and relationship maintenance, and making a point of trying to listen, be open, and help each other get over our own blockages in writing and in the studio, as well as while touring. Imagine being crammed into a car/van/bus with a group of varyingly stable “creatives,” every day, day in and day out, year after year. That’s our life; and sometimes it’s flowing and beautiful, sometimes it’s grating and grim (sometimes all of the above at once). I just bring this up because I want to note how lovingly Chad speaks about his bandmates, even when describing the inevitable chafing that would periodically happen during the process of recording said album, “Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are.” It speaks to the purity of his intentions, the kindness of his heart, and to something that I think Aimee and I have treasured as we’ve gotten older - finding the right people to work with and creating the space for them to do their work. It takes time, along with all the personal growth one has to go through, but boy is it worth it. Just some of the things this episode keeps me thinking about. I hope you’ll find it as sweet and interesting as we did. Our sponsor for this episode is WARBY PARKER. Great, stylish glasses with quality frames at remarkably affordable prices! They’re running a free, no obligation, try-on at home program for our listeners at warbyparker.com/ART Here’s the official video for “Afrikaner Barista” from the album. And the band live at NPR’s Tiny Desk series. AND FINALLY: a fave from Chad’s old band, Smart Went Crazy: “DC Will Do That to You.” Find us: @beautypill @aimeemann @tedleo @artofprocesspod @MaxFunHQ
Ep. 13 - Ian MacKaye “The Argument for The Conversation”
Fitting that these notes come to you today from what has become a liminal space between “home” and “tour” for me. That space is, of course, “New Jersey,” and it’s fitting because it was from here (this very house, in fact) in 1987, that I wrote a letter to our guest, Ian MacKaye. Ian’s new band, Fugazi, was asking people to rethink their relationships to each other in the space of “the pit” and consider not slam dancing/moshing. This was a radical proposition back then, but I understood it, and I respected it. I think coming from a break dancing background made the idea of a more inclusive dancing aspect to punk shows appealing to me. What I didn’t respect, and what prompted me to write the letter, was seeing a bunch of people who had traveled with the band up from DC to The Anthrax in Norwalk, Ct., physically grabbing people and stopping them from slamming/moshing. It seemed like just another form of policing and fascism to me. It was an angry letter. Ian wrote me back - he agreed with me and assured me that the people doing this were not under instructions from the band and he didn’t agree with the physical policing of the space either, and that was that. We reconnected in person when I moved to DC about five years later, and Ian remembered the exchange. He SAYS he kept the letter, and I live under a standing threat that it will be produced for all to read if our arguments ever get TOO argumentative. And as I sit here thinking about this now, I realize it’s one of many things I’d like to revisit with him, because I wonder how our stances on that issue may have evolved. I’ve certainly spent a lot of time on the edges of pits since then, attempting to take the blows so people less willing (or able) to can just watch the bands. I’ve jumped off my own stages to stop fights. Would I do it to stop unruly pit action these days? At MY shows these days, it pretty much never happens, but I might. You take a responsibility for the space when you take the stage - it’s a responsibility that Ian MacKaye still takes seriously, and his is an example that I’m glad I’ve had in my life. Other things we discuss that I’d like to expand on and encourage our listeners to think more about are: 1. Characters and masks - I keep thinking about this idea of what’s “real” and what’s not, and I’m thinking more about who gets to define that and what it means to different cultures. Yes, as we discuss in the interview, one can see how a certain type of person uses masks and characters to AVOID responsibility, but what about the idea of being able to self-create one’s identity? What about drag and camp? Glam and goth? What about when society tells you you’re NOT “real” what then? 2. Well… maybe just the one thing is good for now - I’ve already gone on too long. Feel free to tweet at us if anything else strikes you! Also, I realize that I said Dischord started in the 70s - I was thinking the Teen Idles 7” came out in 78/79, but it was, of course, 1980. SPONSOR! Our sponsor for this episode is MYRO - natural, plant-based deodorant subscription with a reusable capsule dispenser! I love it. mymyro.com/ART use promo code “ART” for 50% off your first order. As promised, here are some MUSIC LINKS: TEEN IDLES “I Drink Milk” (1980) BAD BRAINS Live at CBGB 1979 Hard to overstate how important these people were to many of us, especially as an all black band in an increasingly white scene. Check the slickest move ever as HR avoids a flung beer can (or ashtray?) with a flick of his head at 8:43. Legendary. MINOR THREAT Live at Buff Hall, Camden, NJ 1982 VOID “Who Are You?” One of my favorite songs of all time. Hilarious to hear Ian say they thought they sounded like Ratt, and yet… now that I know that… I kind of get it! THE EVENS “Aroun
Ep. 12 - Jean Grae "I Need to Create the Things That are Still Unseen"
Ep. 12 - Jean Grae "I Need to Create the Things That are Still Unseen" It's JEAN GRAE, folks. Hip Hop artist, writer, actor, singer, thinker... puppeteer? Jean was born in South Africa, raised in New York City, and makes so so many many good good things. IN THE INTRODUCTION, Aimee and I tackle some technical issues and try to figure out what a polymath is and why it might be more fun to say my whole name? IN THE INTERVIEW we start out with naps and animals, but eventually get to talking with Jean about her early life dancing, influences, from her parents (musicians both, links below) to Jim Henson, sci-fi murders, collaborating as a lone wolf, and why representation matters. Along the way, of course, discuss past and current projects, INCLUDING the one-woman show, "Jeanius," that Jean's putting on at Joe's Pub in NYC this July THAT YOU SHOULD GO TO, AND a scripted series she's writing, directing, composing the music for, hosting, and starring in, called "That's Not How You Do That," based on the series of instructional albums for adults, of the same name, she put out a couple of years ago. I am told there are indeed puppets. Links to all of that and MORE, right here: "Jeanius" at Joe's Pub Jean Grae on Bandcamp Jean and Quelle Chris' "Everything's Fine" Abdullah Ibrahim, "Mannenberg" Sathima Bea Benjamin, "Africa" @JeanGreasy @AimeeMann @tedleo @artofprocesspod @MaxFunHQ
Ep. 11 - Emily Nussbaum "The Trick is to Find the Third Thing"
WE'RE BACK. A number of bumps in the road on the way to getting the last episode out resulted in the last episode becoming THIS episode; and THIS episode, is the Emily Nussbaum episode! Emily is the former editor of Nerve, writer for Slate and the New York Times, Culture Editor of New York magazine, where she created the Approval Index (where I was over the moon to have once achieved a spot in the Lowbrow/Brilliant quadrant); current Television Critic at the New Yorker (that's three of the five major periodicals with New York in the very title); she is a Pulitzer Prize winner and has a new book coming out called, "I Like to Watch: Arguing my Way Through the TV Revolution." This conversation was long and good. We covered deadlines, miniseries, "First Draft Men," soaps, the evolutions, upheavals, and regressions of television, criticism as art?, and much much more. In fact, this episode WOULD'VE been longer had not one of those aforementioned bumps in the road been a digital failure that made a section of talk unrecoverable. It was when we started to discuss the amazing "PEN15" (on Hulu); but I wound up dropping us back in (after the second break) to the middle of that section because I felt like to lose it entirely would also have been to lose where the conversation went from there, re. women and storytelling in the industry, and I didn't want to lose that. It's not hard to follow, but if a stray reference to PEN15 throws you off for a second, that's why. Our sponsors for this episode are: Casper Mattress - go to casper.com/art and enter "art" at checkout for $50 off select mattresses! Storyworth - visit storyworth.com/art for $20 off your subscription! Order Emily Nussbaum's "I Like to Watch: Arguing my Way Through the TV Revolution" at emilynussbaum.com Find us all at: @tedleo @aimeemann @artofprocesspod @emilynussbaum @MaxFunHQ
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love This Podcast!
I really enjoy the conversations that Aimee and Ted have with artists in various fields. It's a great mix of witty banter and down-to-earth discussions that uncover how artists make the things they make. I've listened to all of the episodes and really hope Aimee and Ted return to make more!
My favorite podcast
I’m obsessed. They ask the questions I want to know the answers to. I love processes. One million thank yous.
Sticks With You
Lessons I’ve learned from this podcast still ring in my ears, months later. Aimee and Ted are so thoughtful and open, and their guests are nothing but stellar.