Antonoff’s best letter of recommendation, though, is his ongoing collaboration with Taylor Swift. They met at the 2012 Europe Music Awards and became friends through the award-show-and-festival circuit. The “mainstream sector” of musicians isn’t very big, Antonoff says. “You start seeing people around. And, you know, it’s music. It’s not like everyone’s awesome. It’s not like a group of teachers. So it’s pretty easy to tell who’s garbage and who’s not right away, and most people suck, to be honest, or they’re just really wrapped up in what’s going on with themselves. And Taylor’s truly the nicest, most interesting person that I’ve met in that circle.” While hanging out at Swift’s house in Rhode Island, they bonded over their mutual love of a particular snare drum from a Fine Young Cannibals song. That became the inspiration for “Sweeter Than Fiction,” which they wrote by emailing ideas back and forth. “I think she’s a modern Joni Mitchell, I really do,” he says.
—Jack Antonoff on Taylor Swift x