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10 years of Father/Daughter - an interview & playlist from Mutual Benefit

Posted on March 6th, 2020

In case you missed it, our little label is turning 10 years old this year. To celebrate our anniversary, we're rolling out a monthly series of features on some Father/Daughter artists. They'll tell us who they are, give us a look into the making of their record, what they've been up to since, and even hand curate a playlist for us to soundtrack this 10 year anniversary party with. Our first entry in the series goes back 2011. Get some insight into the origin story of Jordan Lee (Mutual Benefit) and his half on the split LP, FD-004, Mutual Spirits.

F/D: How'd you first hear of / begin working with the label?
Jordan Lee (Mutual Benefit): The short answer is I was (am?) a big nerd on the internet that was really excited about the democratic promise of 2008-2013 online music communities. I spent years listening to and blogging other people’s songs while quietly working on my own and eventually worked up the courage to share my own work. I met Jessi from Father/Daughter and Holy Spirits through that world. Jessi had released 2 great EP’s from Levek and toothache and was really hoping to work together some day.

F/D: How about Holy Spirits?
Jordan Lee: In 2011ish Holy Spirts asked me to join them on a west coast tour. At that point I had never toured or even seen the Pacific ocean so it was an incredibly magical experience. They were really sweet and their shows were so beautiful. The experience was important enough to convince me to pursue music more seriously aka go into credit card debt. Jessi came to our show in SF and we pitched the idea of a split 12” and a waited with bated breath.

F/D: What were some of the inspirations for the record?
Jordan Lee: I wrote Mutual Spirits and another EP called I Saw the Sea at the same time. I think of them as a Yin and Yang to each other. The Holy Spirits tour kind of convinced me to drop out of society and devote myself to pursuing art full time. That came with a lot of excitement and a lot of fear. I moved to Boston and lived on the floor of a friend’s rehearsal space and learned how to steal groceries from Stop ’n Shop really well. Mutual Spirits focused on the giddy feeling of riding my bike around and feeling really free. I Saw the Sea was a bit more spiritual to me, it felt like letting go of a lot of parts of myself. When I saw the Pacific ocean for the first time I just kept crying. I had this feeling that I had been living my whole life in a little comfortable bubble and I wanted to explore and be way more open to different ways of living and being.

F/D: What was the recording process like for Mutual Spirits?
Jordan Lee: I recorded most of Mutual Spirits in the aforementioned practice space. It was in this old cavernous warehouse so I used different parts for different types of sounds. I remember the bathroom had perfect reverb for vocals so I did the harmonies in there which confused some of the other people who used the space haha. I also starting taking the chinatown bus to New York and doing some recording at a friend’s house there.

F/D: What are some of your favorite F/D albums thus far?
Jordan Lee: Christelle Bofale, Bent Shapes, Leapling, Lisa Prank, Nadine, Soft Cat to name a few. For one tour I played in Soft Cat’s band and got really attached to those songs.

F/D: What've you been up to since?
Jordan Lee: I recently realized Mutual Benefit has been a band for over 10 years which felt like a big milestone although as the only permanent member it would be hard to kick myself out. In some ways, the EP with Father/Daughter felt like the beginning of my journey with the “music biz”. Nowadays it feels a lot less intimidating than it used to and I can pick and choose what parts to participate in. I feel really grateful that it was Jessi who showed us the ropes early on and not some swarmy record exec. So yeah, I guess I’m doing the same kind of stuff as back then but just drinking a lot more water and keeping better track of my receipts.