Mirror Sound

Jun 10, 2023

Mirror Sound is a book I co-created with Lawrence Azerrad about the people and processes behind self-recorded music, published by Prestel in 2020. Featuring photography by Daniel Topete and a foreword by Carrie Brownstein.

I started contemplating the idea of a book about self-recording artists as a teenager when I was discovering the process of recording music for myself.

While in college, I approached Lawrence about the idea, knowing that he had already authored a large, beautiful art book before, Supersonic, about the design and lifestyle of the Concorde jet. We spent the following few years pitching publishers and honing in on the concept of the book, which Prestel, the publisher of Supersonic, eventually purchased.

Lawrence, Daniel, and I made the book in 2019. We assembled the photo shoots and interviews out of trips to California and New York, and phone calls with artists elsewhere. Much of the process entailed Daniel and me driving around in a rented lime green Kia Soul, stepping into converted storefronts and sunlit living rooms, talking to artists I’d never met before.

By the time the book came out, most people had become constrained to their homes because of the covid pandemic. We weren’t glad that unfortunate global events had made the themes of our book more relevant, DUH, but we recognized that its message of making music with whatever tools and spaces are available to you had taken on a different weight. (And of reevaluating what resources are really “available” to you, after all.) It’s a message I’m still trying to remind myself of all the time: not to let misguided ideas about how and where music should be made to prevent you from doing the work/play of making it. Even when circumstances are less than ideal. Even when you don’t have the time, don’t have the highest-quality mic, etcetera. In general, you can make records if you want to! And that’s a miraculous thing.

Mirror Sound is available at Bookshop.org, Amazon, and wherever you buy your books.