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Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine on Collaborating on A Beginner’s Mind: There Was “Mutual Trust and Respect”

The two indie folk artists on writing and recording together for the first time

sufjan stevens angelo de augustine interview
Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    For fans of both Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine, it might come as a shock that it’s taken them until 2021 to put out a collaborative album together. The two prolific indie-folk titans have been associates of sorts since at least 2017, when Stevens proposed releasing De Augustine’s second LP, Swim Inside the Moon, on his own Asthmatic Kitty Records.

    De Augustine, whose featherlight vocals and gently-plucked acoustic guitars echo those found on Stevens’ beloved 2015 album Carrie & Lowell, is such an on-the-nose disciple of Stevens’ that it was only natural for the duo to pair up on their new album, A Beginner’s Mind (September 24th).

    With each track inspired by a film they watched while holed up at an upstate New York cabin together — ranging from Bring It On to Silence of the Lambs A Beginner’s Mind testifies to how in-sync both Stevens and De Augustine are with each other.

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    “It’s exciting to engage in the creative experience with someone else and find out that what you can make together is better than what you can make by yourself,” Stevens, a serial collaborator, tells Consequence. “I think we’re bigger than the sum of our parts.”

    But living with a creative co-worker takes patience and compromise. To ring in the release of A Beginner’s Mind this week, Stevens and De Augustine chatted with Consequence about the making of the record and what they learned from creating together.


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