Mutual Benefit is Brooklyn-based Jordan Lee and his debut album Love’s Crushing Diamond is a wonderfully warm collection of folk pop songs deserving your attention.
Would you say that to make this album, and even appreciate it as a listener, you need to know what deep love feels like?
Absolutely. While working on a lot of these songs I was confronting the idea that the people who make you the happiest also have the ability to reap a lot of destruction on your psyche when they aren’t doing well and there’s nothing you can do about it. I was working through a lot of “what’s the point of even trying?” feelings.
Is the problem with caring too much about someone. Is not being able to help them through dark times and was this your way of making the world a bit brighter?
During the initial writing process I wasn’t concerned in the least about how the songs would be perceived or even if the songs would be publicly released. It’s just the best way I know how to process complex feelings, like a journal or something. I was definitely grappling with exactly what you mentioned above and I suppose the conclusion that I gradually arrived at was to accept the innate tumultuousness of life.
The songs are so detailed and meticulous. Does your imagination dictate how they should sound rather than jamming them out?
I’m not experienced enough yet to know how a good song should sound from the onset. I only know what I don’t like. So I wrote these songs very quickly, over a couple of weeks, and then spent a year making them sound less bad. A lot of the instrumentation was based on who was around that day and was willing to deal with me being a cruel task-master. I traded a lot of dinner and beer for my friends’ immense musical talents.
Do you enjoy playing live?
It is a complex relationship. I love playing music as well as travelling and meeting new people but I don’t like how many things are out of my control, like playing a venue with a bad sound system and feeling like the next 45 minutes are just some blurry horrible dream that I’m forced to live out in front of a crowd of people. Usually, though, it is a really positive experience and it turns the songs into an evolving thing instead of static art on a disc.