Musician, artist, and producer Richard Swift is based in Northern California. He is a member of The Shins, and has produced records for Damien Jurado, The Mynabirds, and Laetitia Sadier. His solo albums include The Novelist (2005), Dressed Up for the Letdown (2007), and The Atlantic Ocean (2009).
During Esopus’s relocation to Brooklyn, we spent countless hours ironing out the wrinkles of the move by dealing with telephone and cable-company representatives, ISP technical-support staff, billing-department account supervisors, and shipping company “logistics specialists.” Many of these individuals were clearly human beings, but a number of others—the live-chat companions “Brad” and “Ashley C.” come particularly to mind—we weren't so sure about. One afternoon, as we endured yet another endless loop of tinny, upbeat music while waiting for “a representative to be right with us,” it occurred to us that customer-service experiences could provide rich source material for the Esopus 19 CD. The enthusiastic responses from the musicians we approached made it clear we’d hit the jackpot. The 12 resulting songs, inspired by everything from telephone-support nightmares to Kafka-esque encounters with direct-loan servicing, create a communal catharsis for participants and listeners alike.