Father John Misty‘s covers of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Welcome To New York,” which he released shortly after hearing Ryan Adams‘ 1989 cover album, were widely viewed as a prank. After all, the songs were presented through The Velvet Underground lens, and he explained taking them down by saying Lou Reed told him to in a dream. But in a new interview with Louisville’s WFPK, he says the covers were a product of “pure creativity,” and not “extreme cynicism” — an allegation he said has been leveled at him in “off-brand thinkpieces.”
“I hadn’t even really heard the original material,” he told the station’s DJ (though he admitted, “I’m sure I’ve been walking by a Cinnabon or something at the airport and heard it”). He said he recorded the takes in under an hour, and by the time he returned to his tour bus the day he posted them, his “TM [tour manager] was like, ‘It’s the top trend on Facebook! It’s on USA Today!’ And I was like, ‘this is ridiculous,’ so I went and took them down, thinking, ‘now that’s over’.”
Taylor’s camp reached out to Misty’s label, Sub Pop, to ask why the covers were taken down and encourage them to go back up — an example of Swift’s “post-modern power,” in Misty’s words. “That’s not her narrative, that’s not her image,” he added of the public’s assumption that she made him take the covers down.
Listen to Misty’s full interview below, which includes more insights from the singer/songwriter and an in-studio performance.