John Congleton is a respected music producer, engineer, mixer, writer, and performer. He’s known for his versatility, hands-on approach, and ability to guide artists to learn something about themselves through the recording process. He’s worked with a broad range of artists including St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Bill Callahan, David Byrne, Lower Dens, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Mountain Goats, Modest Mouse, The New Pornographers, Swans, and so many more. He even won a Grammy for producing St. Vincent’s self-titled album.

As a performer, he was the founding member of the band The Paper Chase and currently writes and performs for his band, The Nighty Nite. He has also written music for various other projects, including MTV’s Jackass, the Discovery Channel, Friday Night Lights, Evil Lives Here, and more.

We had a deep conversation about his introduction to music production, mental health and treatment, creativity, making intuitive decisions, making as a form of therapy, politics, working with artists, making music, and a lot more. Listen above or on iTunes.

Show notes

In this episode, we covered:

  • His introduction to music and engineering
  • Releasing fear through storytelling
  • Depression and anxiety as time travel
  • The thin line between a breakdown and a breakthrough
  • The idea of a ‘cratering moment’
  • The difference between workaholism and work as an anecdote to anxiety and depression
  • Making intuitive, gut-based decisions because, in the end, work isn’t that important
  • John’s coin flip approach to help people make intuitive decisions
  • His experience with therapy and treatment for depression
  • What it means to take care of a society
  • Wealth inequality and its impact on societal anxiety
  • Self-discovery through making things
  • How he creates a space for people to be foolish and create work true to them
  • Boundaries and the importance of spending time not being an artist

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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