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John Mayer
Albums like John Mayerís late 2006 release Continuum come around rarely. They stay in your personal playlist long after theyíve dropped out of the mediaís eye and the word Ďclassicí comes up from time to time when discussing the songs.

Here is the guitarist/songwriter/singer, and now producer, talking about music and everything that matters to him within the creative process.

This album marks your first credit as a producer; what was that experience like?
Mayer: I learned not to produce my own records anymore. No, Continuum is a record that I had to make on a certain term: mine. I had never experienced recording a studio album where the music was straight from me, and nowhere in between the creation and the execution did it get touched by somebody else. I just had a feeling going into this record that the only person who could do this record justice was myself and that I needed to really square up with myself.

A lot of times, I can be the kind of guy to look over at someone else and see what theyíre thinking and wait for them to be into it and be like ĎOkay I should be into it, good.í Iím the kid in class who wouldíve been done with my test first but passed it in second because I waited for someone else to get up from the desk. I didnít want to do that on this record. I wanted to really listen to what was being said inside my head.

[Musician] Steve Jordan produced the record with me and the way in which we work together is almost sympathetic and symbiotic in the way that my expertise doesnít really nudge its way into what he does and there are some things that I do that he doesnít have the skill set for. So together we make this really powerful production duo because heís thinking about the rhythm section that drives the tune and Iím thinking about the melodic stuff that makes that memorable.

Itís a really big commitment, because thereís no one whoís going to fight with you if youíre producing your own record. So you have to stay sharp all the time, and so I would constantly challenge myself to write better stuff and kind of instil patience with myself that Iím not usually into having.

Where did the album title come from?
Mayer: Continuum, for whatever reason, the word is kind of untouched by a lot of people. Itís not a word you hear all the time, but itís a word that has a lot of meaning in it. The record is titled Continuum because the music that I make is seemingly different from one another and I want to defend the idea that if itís from me, itís my music. I mean, my next record will be an acoustic album and it will be from the same person who made this kind of soul/blues/pop record and thatís the same guy who wrote Your Body Is A Wonderland and thatís what the fun part of music is ~ [watching] where that artist is going to go and hopefully they donít take you into the gutter.

There's a line between creative self-indulgence and making the music accessible [to the fans]. How do you find that?
Mayer: Oh, well thatís really easy. Thereís a really simple equation to staying in the game, the game being making music for people to listen to. You have to make music for you, but make sure that you represent a lot of other people. Sometimes it doesnít happen and thatís okay too. There are things that I pick up in my life and I realise ďWow, Iím the only one who likes thisĒ comparatively. You just have to make sure you donít fall too far off the path.
If youíre in touch with people, and you write for youÖ if Ďyouí equals Ďthemí then what youíre making will be cool for them. If you start to drift a little bitÖ sometimes you can realise after itís too late that you didnít really hit people in the right spot.

You can read the rest of our feature on John Mayer in the April 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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