The Art Of Process With Aimee Mann And Ted Leo



The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo is the newest artistic collaboration from legendary singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. Every other week, Aimee and Ted talk to friends across the creative spectrum to find out how they work. And sure, they're friends with a lot of musicians, but weirdly not as many as you'd expect. So you'll hear from comedians, directors, novelists, show creators - ok, yes, some musicians - writers, producers and more, as they discuss the process of turning an idea into art.


  • Ep. 16 - Open Mike Eagle “What if Somebody Knocked Down the Pyramids?”

    09/09/2019 Duration: 58min

    Ep. 16 - Open Mike Eagle “What if Somebody Knocked Down the Pyramids?”   Hello, hello!  This week, we sat with the great Open Mike Eagle, to talk rap, comedy, architecture, and mental health for touring musicians! I first met Mike a few years ago, when Aimee and I, along with Mike, were guests on a PAUL F. TOMPKINS show in Los Angeles, and we had such an amazing time hanging and talking with him at the show, that we stayed in touch. Now, I assumed that Mike knew Paul in the way that we comedy-adjacent musicians ALL know our comedian friends - the exact context in which we were meeting that day - guests on someone’s show - that’s how it works!  Hell, that’s how AIMEE and I really got to know each other.  HOWEVER, Mike has a little bit of a different story of how he came into Paul’s orbit, and I thought it was pretty hilarious.  I’ll say no more here, but it gets revealed in the course of this interview. I’ve loved his music for a long time - he’s an incredible lyricist, a much better singer than he thinks he i

  • Ep. 15 - Kim Gordon “Is Art Really All Design Now?”

    03/09/2019 Duration: 43min

    Ep. 15 - Kim Gordon “Is Art Really All Design Now?”   Very happy to bring you another interview in a different kitchen - this time, the mighty Kim Gordon’s (kitchen) (and interview)! I fairly idolized Kim for her presence in Sonic Youth, but I see her more now as an inspiration in how to live a creative life when life keeps getting longer.  I was privileged to attend the opening of her Wreaths show in LA a couple of years ago, not long after Aimee and I were lucky to catch an early live set of Body/Head, right around the time Kim was beginning to write her BOOK, etc., etc., you get the picture.  And I have trouble sticking to a podcast schedule. Anyway, Kim’s a legend for good reason, and I thank her for sitting down with us and I’m glad we DIDN’T talk a ton about music, but more about life and her return to her first love, the visual arts. Some links:   An example of the wreath art (that you can *purchase*) on “Wreath Painting Northampton Blue” 2011   An article in the Pittsburgh City Paper about

  • Ep. 14 - Chad Clark “This is Why it’s Good to be Transparent!”

    28/08/2019 Duration: 01h20min

    Ep. 14 - Chad Clark “This is Why it’s Good to be Transparent!” Apologies for the hiatus, folks. We are BACK and I’ll be attempting to turn the next few episodes out on a weekly basis to get us back on track In this episode, we start off with some rhombus talk and celebrate GETTING OLD. THEN WE GET TO CHAD CLARKE - practically the ideal guest for our concept. I’ve always admired Chard and his work.  I’ve always seen him as an incredibly inventive person with an ear for melody and orchestration AND a fearless vision for experimentation.  When I first that heard his band, Beauty Pill, had written and recorded an album AS A MUSEUM INSTALLATION, in full view of passersby, I was floored, and thus, when we started this podcast, I knew we had to have him on to discuss that (and, of course, many other things).  It’s hard to express how intense the record-making process is, interpersonally, under normal circumstances.  To do it in public seems, to me, fun in some ways, and downright terrifying in others.  Aimee and I h

  • Ep. 13 - Ian MacKaye “The Argument for The Conversation”

    01/07/2019 Duration: 01h20min

    Fitting that these notes come to you today from what has become a liminal space between “home” and “tour” for me.  That space is, of course, “New Jersey,” and it’s fitting because it was from here (this very house, in fact) in 1987, that I wrote a letter to our guest, Ian MacKaye.  Ian’s new band, Fugazi, was asking people to rethink their relationships to each other in the space of “the pit” and consider not slam dancing/moshing.  This was a radical proposition back then, but I understood it, and I respected it.  I think coming from a break dancing background made the idea of a more inclusive dancing aspect to punk shows appealing to me.  What I didn’t respect, and what prompted me to write the letter, was seeing a bunch of people who had traveled with the band up from DC to The Anthrax in Norwalk, Ct., physically grabbing people and stopping them from slamming/moshing.  It seemed like just another form of policing and fascism to me.  It was an angry letter. Ian wrote me back - he agreed with me and assured

  • Ep. 12 - Jean Grae "I Need to Create the Things That are Still Unseen"

    20/06/2019 Duration: 01h04min

    Ep. 12 - Jean Grae "I Need to Create the Things That are Still Unseen"   It's JEAN GRAE, folks.  Hip Hop artist, writer, actor, singer, thinker... puppeteer? Jean was born in South Africa, raised in New York City, and makes so so many many good good things. IN THE INTRODUCTION, Aimee and I tackle some technical issues and try to figure out what a polymath is and why it might be more fun to say my whole name? IN THE INTERVIEW we start out with naps and animals, but eventually get to talking with Jean about her early life dancing, influences, from her parents (musicians both, links below) to Jim Henson, sci-fi murders, collaborating as a lone wolf, and why representation matters.  Along the way, of course, discuss past and current projects, INCLUDING the one-woman show, "Jeanius," that Jean's putting on at Joe's Pub in NYC this July THAT YOU SHOULD GO TO, AND a scripted series she's writing, directing, composing the music for, hosting, and starring in, called "That's Not How You Do That," based on the series of

  • Ep. 11 - Emily Nussbaum "The Trick is to Find the Third Thing"

    04/06/2019 Duration: 01h30min

    WE'RE BACK. A number of bumps in the road on the way to getting the last episode out resulted in the last episode becoming THIS episode; and THIS episode, is the Emily Nussbaum episode! Emily is the former editor of Nerve, writer for Slate and the New York Times, Culture Editor of New York magazine, where she created the Approval Index (where I was over the moon to have once achieved a spot in the Lowbrow/Brilliant quadrant); current Television Critic at the New Yorker (that's three of the five major periodicals with New York in the very title); she is a Pulitzer Prize winner and has a new book coming out called, "I Like to Watch: Arguing my Way Through the TV Revolution." This conversation was long and good.  We covered deadlines, miniseries, "First Draft Men," soaps, the evolutions, upheavals, and regressions of television, criticism as art?, and much much more. In fact, this episode WOULD'VE been longer had not one of those aforementioned bumps in the road been a digital failure that made a section of talk

  • Ep. 10 - EMIL FERRIS "Benevolent Vampires and the Starfish Army"

    06/05/2019 Duration: 42min

    Ep. 10 - EMIL FERRIS "Benevolent Vampires and the Starfish Army" CW: childhood sexual assault Welcome back! We have not actually been away for longer than our usual bi-weekly hiatus, but it feels like we have.  IN THIS EPISODE we sit down in her home city of Chicago with artist and graphic novelist Emil Ferris.  Emil's book "My Favorite Thing is Monsters" affected both Aimee and me deeply; SO deeply that, at our mutual friend, designer Gail Marowitz's suggestion, I was lucky enough to be able to enlist Emil into doing the art for my own last album, The Hanged Man (which was also, by the way, under Gail's brilliant design supervision).  Our conversation ranges from subtle energy and a race of benevolent vampires, to how blockages and limitations in one area of life can lead to deeper understanding and greater heights in others. As mentioned, there is a self-imposed content warning on this one because we do delve a little bit into childhood trauma, specifically, sexual abuse.  In accordance with MY experience a

  • Ep. 9 - Eli Attie "A Constituency of One"

    22/04/2019 Duration: 01h11min

    Ep. 9 - Eli Attie "A Constituency of One"   This episode, we're talking to Eli Attie - speechwriter for NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, and Vice President Al Gore; AS WELL AS a writer for the West Wing, House, Rosewood, For the People, and others!  He gives us some great insight into what makes for good and bad political speechwriting, and how it dovetails and differs with dramatic writing. The overarching theme of the episode is the "constituency of one" - who is your actual audience, who are you trying to please… Something we've all become a lot more familiar with in the political realm these past two years. A couple of other things that get mentioned that I just want to address really quickly: 1. My Medicare plan would not suck. 2. It's not that hard for ME to see Aimee converting to Catholicism. 3. It's true - Air Force 2 IS, in fact, a tiny fraction of the size of Air Force 1, AND, apparently, there's no booze served on it! I also really wanted to include some examples of the

  • Ep. 8 - Eric White "Usually it's the Opposite and it's Terrible"

    08/04/2019 Duration: 56min

    Ep. 8 - Eric White "Usually it's the Opposite and it's Terrible" Another harsh corporate takedown by your hosts in the intro! Extreme temperatures misremebered! And artist Eric White!  We talk about music's influence on his painting, sleep deprivation, the bolt of lightning, and the value of having an outside eye to help edit.  Links to Eric's work, and a couple of other artists that are mentioned, below.   Links: Eric White on the web. Eric on working with Tyler the Creator for his recent album cover. Gallery shows at Grimm galleries in NYC this past fall, now up in Brussels and Amsterdam. LP cover series. Peter Blake "On the Balcony." Gee Vaucher's Crass art. The Art of Process on Twitter: @artofprocesspod    This episode is sponsored in part by Care/of, a monthly subscription vitamin service. for 50% off your first month, go to and enter the code PROCESS50 at check out!

  • Ep. 7 - Money Mark Nishita "I Gotta Find my Own Ice Cream"

    25/03/2019 Duration: 54min

    WEEK TWO OF THE MAXIMUM FUN PLEDGE DRIVE! In this episode, we sat down with "Money Mark," Mark Nishita, musician, inventor, producer, etc.  We touch on everything from being a middle child, to the Chinese Exclusion Act, piano rolls, and the macho/privileged side of crate digging for break beats with the Beastie Boys.  A couple of things that don't necessarily NEED explaining, but that I will anyway, are that: 1. Mark references a panel that he and I were on at South by Southwest in 2018. It was broadly about surviving and adapting as an artist in the changing business/media/technological environment, and I found his contributions to the discussion to be smart, inspiring, and challenging. I think I immediately texted Aimee and suggested we interview him for the podcast. 2. In our introduction, I started down a path of bringing up a song about music that I actually LIKE, before we got sidetracked down Main St. into Seegerville.  The song I was going to bring up is "Geno," by Dexy's Midnight Runners.  This was d

  • Ep. 6 - Rhea Butcher “A Weird Flesh Skeleton (and the Maximum Fun Pledge Drive)”

    18/03/2019 Duration: 57min

    Ep. 6 - Rhea Butcher “A Weird Flesh Skeleton (and the Maximum Fun Pledge Drive)”   VERY happy to bring you A SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE in what would’ve otherwise been a dark week for us (in the sense that we wouldn’t normally be delivering a podcast because we’re on a bi-weekly schedule, because, I mean… it’s always pretty dark these days… and weeks) with our friend, comedian Rhea Butcher! If you like our dumb intro conversations, then, my friends, you are in for a treat, because this may be our dumbest ever.  It’s mainly about Saltines vs. Rice Crackers. No ads this episode, but we do take a few breaks to talk about the MaxFun annual pledge drive, which kicks off today, Monday, March 18, 2019.  The entire network is largely listener supported, so thusly, we rely on your support.  You can make a one-time donation or become a member with a recurring monthly contribution.  These range from five dollars a month all the way up to two hundred dollars a month, and there are, as you’d imagine, some great gifts for all t

  • Ep. 5 - Andy Kindler "And There's One Guy Still Upset With You in Stuttgart"

    12/03/2019 Duration: 01h01min

    Ep. 5- Andy Kindler "And There's One Guy Still Upset With You in Stuttgart" Late again!  But this is how it goes.  I had an iLok/ProTools freak-out that wasn't my fault, and I lost the file with Aimee's intro and outro, and had to have her dig through her computer, find some wifi on the road, and re-send it to me (then me re-edit it), all of which WAS my fault. This week we start out somehow getting into a discussion of parody songs for pets (specifically cats, dogs, fish, and iguanas); AND THEN we get to the main event: comedian Andy Kindler! We recorded this right after we'd completed two nights of holiday shows at Largo in LA, for which Andy portrayed our Jacob Marley/Ghost of Hanukkah Present, and did the narration on our version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which is what he's referring to when, about halfway through the interview, he sings out, "WITH ARSENIC SAAAAUUUUUCE!" This interview winds up being partially about Andy's coming to terms with his OCD and Anxiety disorders, how they affected hi

  • Ep. 4 - Rachel Lichtman "You're gonna make it after all"

    25/02/2019 Duration: 51min

    Sorry for the delay this Monday, but we're happy to present to you, this conversation with our friend, Rachel Lichtman; among other things, the co-creator of the "Something Cool" podcast; director of music videos for Juliana Hatfield, Creamer, and yours truly (me); director of "The Guys Who Wrote 'Em," a documentary about songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who wound up writing the Monkees' most iconic songs. And I want to make a plea here - this doc is hard to find, but if anyone knows anyone at PBS, it belongs on something like Independent Lens, or as its own episode of American Experience - I'm serious about this.  It's all built around archival footage, not Graham Nash sitting in front of a mixing board, and it's incredible and important. MOST RECENTLY THOUGH, Rachel's been devoting every bit of her time and energy into building an entire feminist retro-futurist world under the umbrella of "Network 77".  We talk at length about the "Dottie Carroll" mini-doc, found within the first episode of Network 7

  • Ep. 3 - Dan Wilson "In the Belly of the Rock"

    11/02/2019 Duration: 44min

    On this episode of The Art of Process, we talk to one of our favorite songwriters, Dan Wilson. From his start in the Twin Cities indie scene of the early 80s to his rise as a noted "song-whisperer," working with artists ranging from Adele, to the Dixie Chicks, to Pink, and many others among and between, he's displayed an integrity and a commitment to artistry that shows through in all of his work. Join us as we discuss everything from meeting in the slow bake of a hot tent with yogurt on the side (it's every bit as gross as it sounds), to the melancholy loneliness of solo songwriting versus collaboration, experiments in ALL CHORUS songs, and the rise of streaming services like Spotify, and how they've become something of a new tail wagging the old dog of songwriting in ways both frustrating and potentially fun. Special thanks to Laura Swisher at for being our "podcast-whisperer" and continuing to help us through the process of getting this off the ground and establishing som

  • Ep. 2 - Rebecca Sugar

    28/01/2019 Duration: 49min

    The multi-talented Rebecca Sugar is the creator and showrunner of the wildly imaginative Steven Universe on Cartoon Network. Ted, Aimee, and Rebecca discuss how the show is able to appeal to both children and adults, how to tackle a blank page, and how early love of some art (and rejection of others) influenced their careers. Oh, and also, what art is for, what it means and what its purpose is.

  • Ep. 1 - Wyatt Cenac

    28/01/2019 Duration: 49min

    For their first episode, Aimee and Ted are joined by Emmy-award winning writer / actor / comedian Wyatt Cenac. The trio cover a lot of ground, including: defying commercial expectations in your creative work, the nature of live performance, and the inspiration for Wyatt's show Problem Areas, which is coming back for a second season on HBO later this year

  • Coming soon to Maximum Fun: The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo

    21/01/2019 Duration: 01min

    Subscribe now to hear intimate conversations about craft and the creative process, featuring Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, and artists from a variety of fields - comedians, directors, novelists, show creators, writers, producers, musicians and more. New episodes every other Monday, starting January 28!