Big Red Machine have released ‘Mimi (feat. Ilsey)’ the newest single from their upcoming album, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? due out August 27 on Jagjaguwar / 37d03d.

Co-written by Aaron Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), and singer/songwriter Ilsey, ‘Mimi’ follows ‘Phoenix’ (feat. Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell), ‘Latter Days’ (feat. Anaïs Mitchell), ‘The Ghost of Cincinnati’, and ‘Renegade’ (feat. Taylor Swift).

Also read: #NEWMUSICMONDAY – August 9, 2021

Dessner recounts,

“I named this song ‘Mimi’ for my youngest daughter…I was thinking about how grateful I am for my children and how they light up even the darkest days.”

“Justin, Ilsey and I wrote words and melodies to this in isolation and we decided to interweave them, like characters in a book, full of longing and gratitude. Later James Krivchenia came to visit and brought the song further to life with his drums. Musically I feel like maybe we were seeking the open air and road of a Tom Petty song, just accidentally in an odd meter. So grateful to Ilsey for joining this collaboration – it felt so natural and joyful.” 

Collaborator Ilsey adds, 

“This song is almost a mirror to the process of how we made it.  Aaron, Justin and I wrote and recorded all of the parts separately.” About the subject matter, she explains, “The lyrics of the chorus reflect a longing for closeness and connection, but that longing is made to feel safe and less pained next to Justin and Aaron’s lyrics which have this strong theme of gratitude. All of this to say, what could have been a lonely chorus was made hopeful, and what could have been a lonely process was made joyful in getting to work with these two wonderful people.”

The generous spirit and desire to push music forward has never been more deeply felt than on Big Red Machine’s How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the second album from Aaron Dessner’s ever-morphing project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. 

Collaborators and friends show up across the album, continuing the reciprocal exchange of ideas that has come to define their creative community. Songs feature guest vocals and writing contributions from artist friends including Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold (‘Phoenix’), Ben Howard and This Is The Kit (‘June’s a River’), Naeem (‘Easy to Sabotage’), Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova (‘Hutch’) and Taylor Swift (‘Birch’ and ‘Renegade’). Swift’s sister albums folklore and evermore were co-produced by Dessner, and her encouragement helped Dessner realize “how connected this Big Red Machine music was to everything else I was doing, and that I was always supposed to be chasing these ideas.” 

Dessner says,

“That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”

How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? Tracklist

  1. Latter Days (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)
  2. Reese
  3. Phoenix (feat. Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell)
  4. Birch (feat. Taylor Swift)
  5. Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)
  6. The Ghost of Cincinnati
  7. Hoping Then
  8. Mimi (feat. Ilsey)
  9. Easy to Sabotage (feat. Naeem)
  10. Hutch (feat. Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, and Shara Nova [My Brightest Diamond])
  11. 8:22am (feat. La Force)
  12. Magnolia
  13. June’s a River (feat. Ben Howard and This Is The Kit)
  14. Brycie
  15. New Auburn (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)

Cover photo: Collage by Graham Tolbert. Photos by Graham Tolbert and James Reynolds.