Jordan Lee of Mutual Benefit on The Morning Mix

Jordan Lee has never been one to stay in one place. This musician, who goes by the moniker Mutual Benefit, grew up outside of Columbus, Ohio, but moved as quickly as he could to Austin, Texas. There he studied how to record rock musicians. He says that since then, he hasn’t lived in one place for more than 3 months, having moved back and forth from Boston, New York, Saint Louis and back to Austin. “A lot of the time, moving is an easy way to find inspiration when you’re just surrounded by different people and imagery and things like that. At least with this record I tried to draw from a lot of different influences and also that idea of almost alienation, but maybe the positives of it where everything is new around you and you have to get your bearings,” Lee says.

The do-it-yourself method is very important to Jordan Lee. He says, ““There are some times when professionalism is important, and some times it’s important to just be with your friends in your basement making sounds.” But he isn't as confident in this ideal as he might seem.  “Actually sometimes I lay awake at night afraid that maybe I’m betraying that with how I’m going right now. The idea is not waiting for anyone else to give you opportunities, and to build communities and work with peers, a lot of collaboration. I didn’t have any sort of plans of going through any sort of record label, I was actually just planning on coming out on cassette tape.”

Mutual Benefit has a sweet, breezy sound to it, especially on the new album, Love’s Crushing Diamond. Lee drew inspiration from Elliot Smith. “With this record, the biggest element was incorporating field recording and maybe before we did 20 minute jams that sound ridiculous but taking five or six seconds of that and cutting it up, making that the basis of the song, looking at each sound and seeing that it has the potential to be something else.”

Love's Crushing Diamond is out now. Check out Mutual Benefit's bandcamp page for more information.