Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso Talks with Blake Mills on the Talkhouse Podcast

A pair of accomplished producers/musicians/studio runners talk gear and inspiration.

Blake Mills has the kind of resume that might make the average person feel really lazy. Not only is he an active musician, but also a Grammy-winning producer (for Alabama Shakes’ 2015 album Sound and Color), a collaborator to the stars—including the likes of Fiona Apple and Bob Dylan—and most recently, one of the guys in charge of the legendary Sound City studio in L.A. Mills’ newest musical project is a collaboration with legendary bassist Pino Palladino called Notes With Attachments. Just prior to that, it was the Pitchfork Best New Music designee Mutable Set, from 2020.

Nick Sanborn is half of Sylvan Esso, along with Amelia Meath. The duo recorded their third and latest album, the excellent Free Love, while they were constructing a brand new studio, called Betty’s, on their farm in North Carolina. The album came out in September of last year, which obviously meant touring was off the table, but Sanborn got plenty busy with production work, including helping to create the most recent Flock of Dimes record with recent Talkhouse guest Jenn Wasner. Since the album’s release, Nick and Amelia have kept busy, releasing videos, a killer remix of their song “Numb,” and a live album called WITH. And now they’ve rescheduled a big tour for this fall, kicking off at Bonaroo, where they’ll host the Super Jam. Check out for tour dates.

Sanborn and Blake get right into it in this conversation, covering the intimate relationships that make for good records, the joy and trepidation about returning to public stages, and even how weird it is to do the Talkhouse Podcast. Enjoy.

This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan. The Talkhouse Podcast theme is composed and performed by the Range.

(Photo Credit: left, Elizabeth Weinberg; right, Kourtney Kyung Smith; Edited by: Keenan Kush)

Your favorite musicians, filmmakers, and other creative minds one-on-one. No moderator, no script, no typical questions. The Talkhouse Podcast offers unique insights into creative work from all genres and generations. Subscribe now, and explore more illuminating shows on the Talkhouse Podcast Network.