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April 14, 2022

Interview with Hrishikesh Hirway

We had the pleasure of interviewing Hrishikesh Hirway over Zoom video!
Acclaimed musician and Song Exploder host/creator Hrishikesh Hirway’s first EP under his own name, Rooms I Used to Call My Own, is out now. The album features collaborations with...

We had the pleasure of interviewing Hrishikesh Hirway over Zoom video!

Acclaimed musician and Song Exploder host/creator Hrishikesh Hirway’s first EP under his own name, Rooms I Used to Call My Own, is out now. The album features collaborations with a long list of acclaimed artists, songwriters and producers including Yo-Yo Ma, Jay Som, Baths, Jenny Owen Youngs, Jimmy Tamborello (The Postal Service, Dntel), Jonathan Snipes (Clipping), John Mark Nelson and Grammy-winners John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen) and Kimbra.

Rooms I Used to Call My Own marks the first time Hirway has released music under his own name following five critically acclaimed records under the moniker The One AM Radio. A deeply personal work, the EP is informed by Hirway’s experiences as a podcast host; eschewing the inward gaze of his previous work as an artist, Rooms I Used to Call My Own instead focuses on collaboration, each song formed out of a conversation of sorts with everyone he’s brought into the project with him. Likewise, the subjects of the EP are all other people: the people he loves. The songs are about the deep love and appreciation he holds for his wife, Lindsey, as well as his parents and family.

Hirway is also set to continue his Spring tour with Jenny Owen Youngs, performing select dates throughout the west coast in May. They'll be on stage together, doing one combined set of all their songs, performing as a duo. Jenny and Hrishikesh have collaborated as co-writers on several songs and are both storytellers, as hosts of popular, award-winning podcasts: Hrishikesh with Song Exploder, The West Wing Weekly and Home Cooking; and Jenny with Buffering the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars Investigations. These special performances will be a mix of songs and stories from two dear friends; find tickets HERE and see below for a list of dates.

Hrishikesh Hirway has been producing music for over two decades; first with his project The One AM Radio, and later with MOORS, a collaboration with Oscar-nominated rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield. As a composer, his credits include the Netflix original series Everything Sucks!, the theme for ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcast and the theme for the Song Exploder series on Netflix. Hirway launched the award-winning podcast Song Exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and tell the stories behind their inspiration and creative process, in 2014. Since then, the podcast has been streamed and downloaded over 65 million times, and has featured guests including Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Solange, U2, Arcade Fire, Metallica, Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Roots and many more.

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1 (27s): Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieved stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Rishi here, way over zoom video. You'll definitely recognize Rishi, if not from his voice, because the guy is absolutely killing it in the podcast world. Of course, song Exploder, massive podcasts, even having a show now with song splitter on Netflix, he was the host of WestWingWeekly produces a bunch of podcasts, writes scores for a bunch of podcasts. And he's also a songwriter started out really as a songwriter and the podcasting fell in later in his life. 1 (1m 9s): So we hear his entire journey. Rishi talks about being born and raised just outside of Boston and Massachusetts. How he got into music started on piano, played piano in the jazz through middle school into high school then became a huge fan of drums. Started playing drums in the jazz room while in high school. And towards the end of high school is when he wrote his first song and actually performed it for the school. He ended up attending college at Yale. Brilliant. He's brilliant. So he goes to yell and then gets a degree in art. So we have a conversation about that. He tells us about that point in his life. When it was clear, he wanted to be a songwriter and he was using his job as a graphic designer to kind of fund his music until he's able to ditch the graphic design jobs. 1 (1m 59s): So he talks to us about that. We hear about the first records he put out as 1:00 AM, radio signing with danger bird records, producing records with danger bird and kind of taking over their art department, starting his podcast, song Exploder and all about this new record. His first record in 11 years, he hadn't done anything with songwriting for six years. Then around 2018, he writes a song with Jennie own Youngs and that songs on the record. But when the pandemic happened is when he was able to finish up this EAP. And he's doing a handful of shows with Jenny Owen Youngs, where it's half conversation about the songwriting process and then half him performing the songs. 1 (2m 41s): So we hear all about his new record, his new EAP called rooms. I used to call my own. You can watch our interview with Rishi on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TechTalk at bringing back. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Amazon music, Google podcasts, it'd be amazing if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five-star review. 2 (3m 9s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 1 (3m 15s): We're bringing it backwards with Rishi here way. So this podcast is about you. We'll talk about your record and your journey in music and how you got to where you are now. I know you got it sounds great. Quite a bit, know quite a bit about podcasting, so I'm kind of, yeah, but anyway, I thank you for being here. 3 (3m 33s): My pleasure. Cool. Do you need me to do anything on my side in terms of recording or anything like that? 1 (3m 38s): No, you're good, man. You're all good. Yeah, we got it on this sense. So thank you. 3 (3m 43s): Okay, cool. 1 (3m 44s): Sweet. At first, I've talked to me about where were you born and raised? 3 (3m 48s): I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and I grew up in a suburb of Boston PVD, Massachusetts. 1 (3m 55s): Okay. What was it like growing up there? 3 (3m 57s): I think it was pretty normal, kind of suburban, suburban kind of existence. You know, I, I went to, I went to elementary school across the street from where I, from where I lived, it was literally across the street from my house and, and yeah, it was a small school and I went, you know, went to a bigger middle school and all that time there was, was fine. I mean, I think it was a boring, but looking back, it was probably boring in nice stable ways. 1 (4m 32s): Sure. And how did you get the music? Do you come from a musical household at all? 3 (4m 37s): No, I, I, my family is not really musical. My, my dad has absolutely no sort of vocabulary or aptitude for music. And my mom was a great singer sort of naturally, but she had no formal training and she didn't really, she didn't really know about music. She just hadn't had a really nice voice. 1 (4m 58s): She had a good voice. 3 (4m 59s): Yeah. But they suggested that maybe I might want to take piano lessons. My mom used to work at Sears in the mall and, and we would go to drop her off or pick her up. And next to Sears was, this was like a little store, local piano store called Scotty's piano and organ. And, and sometimes when we would go by, go by there to pick up my mom I'd stop in and, you know, play around on the keys a little bit, not knowing what I was doing, but then they suggested that I maybe take guitar lessons and they asked if I would be interested. And I was like, yeah, that sounds great. And because, because we had seen a sign at the store, they had a little sign that said private, you know, private piano lessons in the back they'll catch sort of showroom in the front. 3 (5m 43s): And then they had a little office in the back and they had a piano and, and, and that's how I started playing music. 1 (5m 48s): Wow. How old are you when you would go tinker around on that piano? 3 (5m 52s): I think this was when I was around seven. 1 (5m 54s): Okay. So seven, you had an interest and then your put you in lessons at seven years old and then you carry on with the lessons or was piano something you kind of gave up at a certain point? 3 (6m 4s): No, I kept taking piano lessons until I got into high school. I was in high school and I took piano lessons until I basically threw my piano teacher, got a key to the drum room at, at school. And, and then I kind of got distracted by the drums and I stopped, I stopped taking piano lessons when I was a sophomore and just was, I just wanted to play drums in bands. 1 (6m 30s): Okay. Did you play piano and abandoned all or prior to that? Or did you play in a school band? 3 (6m 34s): Yeah, I played jazz. I played piano in the, in the school jazz band. And then later I, I played drums in the jazz band as well, but really I wanted to be playing. I wanted to be playing modern music. 1 (6m 47s): Okay. What were you like influenced by that you wanted to play on drums? 3 (6m 50s): Well, I remember when I first got too into that drum room and I was trying to play, I would bring on a Walkman. I would bring a cassette copy. I had a tape that had a dub of 13 songs by <inaudible> on it. 1 (7m 6s): Oh, amazing. It was quite an intro to drama. 3 (7m 10s): So I would just try and play along as best as I could to, to the songs on that tape. 1 (7m 16s): What an amazing record to start with 3 (7m 20s): Brendan, Brendan Canty from Fugazi was my first drum teacher. 1 (7m 23s): Oh, that's amazing. Yeah. Especially going from jazz drums to <inaudible>. 3 (7m 28s): Yeah. Well, I had to first learn how to play drums at all from Fugazi before eventually making the switch from being the piano player and the jazz band to also sometimes I would play drums. 1 (7m 39s): Okay. I got you. I got you. Where you learning, like as far as like piano lessons go, it sounds like you, your taste was a bit, you know, not classical piano, at least. Where were you learning any pop songs at all on, on piano or was it something that was more classically trained? 3 (7m 57s): I started, you know, my, my jazz piano teacher was an older guy and so every now and then he would bring in something for me to try and learn. I remember he brought in, he brought in Allentown by Billy Joel. And that was like, that sort of felt like the closest we could get to some kind of middle ground. 1 (8m 15s): He's like, well, it will give you a Billy Joel, anything else? No dice. 3 (8m 20s): I was like, you know, the song came out before I was born. 1 (8m 23s): Right, right. 3 (8m 24s): But it was still like for him, that was modern music. 4 (8m 26s): Okay. 1 (8m 28s): It's like, I got this hip new artist for you, his name, Billy Joel. Oh. So from, from that, from joining the jazz band, eventually playing drums in the jazz band, were you also in any Outback bands outside of, of the school starting with your friends? 3 (8m 45s): Yeah. And in school, most of the kids who played in bands, most of the kids had played in bands, played in cover bands. You know, it was just sort of, you, you kind of defined your pan by what you did. There, wasn't a lot of original songwriting that, that happened for the most part. And, but I was in, but I got asked to be in a, in a band with some friends and we played, we were the only band, you know, it was kind of a, it was a high school where there was a lot of, you know, Allmand brothers, Steve Miller, grateful, dead, you know, kind of a granola kind of stuff. And we were the only, only people, probably in the whole school who listened to stuff like Fugazi and minor threat. 3 (9m 28s): And, and so we would, we would play our punk songs and we were probably the only ones who cared about it. 1 (9m 34s): That's interesting. I wouldn't have guessed though, like almond brothers type bands that Steve Miller like that coming from. I mean, cause we're not that you're not that much older than me, just a few years older than me. And I don't remember kids in my elementary or high school, at least that were into that. It was more of like either punk or whatever, nineties hip hop that was happening at the time. It's just interesting. Yeah. 3 (9m 58s): It was pretty weird. I mean, so I went, so for high school, I went to a private boarding school and it was culturally, it was culturally pretty different from, from where I grew up. I mean, where I grew up, it was like, like I said, in the suburbs of Massachusetts, it was basically like people listened to whatever was on the radio before I, you know, before I left for high school, the stuff that I was drawn to the most was stuff like public enemy and ice tea and, and NWA. And then, and also I was also getting into like Metallica and Megadeath was sort of, those were the two, two sides of the things that I was into. And then I got into high school and I discovered punk. 3 (10m 38s): But at that school, it was just, yeah, it was just a lot of, I mean, it was a PR, it was actually a pretty diverse school. In fact, it was much more diverse than where I'd come from, where I was, you know, the only, oftentimes the only non-white person in a class compared to that at my high school kids were, were, you know, coming in from not just around the country, but around the whole world and kids were on financial aid and like half the school was on financial aid. So there was a very diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds. Cause I was a little worried going there being like, am I going to be the only kid on financial aid is, you know, how's it going to be sure. I feel really weird, but actually there was such, such diversity that it wasn't like that. 3 (11m 21s): But even despite the kind of combination of the melting pot of all these different kinds of people coming together, I would still say there was a dominant cultural paradigm of like Northeast new England prep school vibes. Because even if those kids who belong to that kind of demographic, weren't the majority, they still were like the plurality of the school. And so, so, you know, I would have my perspective and the kid next door to me, my who, you know, grew up in Taiwan and also listen to NWA. Like he might have his perspective, but it didn't really compete with the, you know, 35% or 40% of the kids who all were like into fish and grateful dead. 1 (12m 7s): Right. Right now that's really interesting with, with this high school, was it something that you, a place you wanted to go or like in, it sounds like a pretty, I looked it up online earlier before we spoke and it's like, you know, you probably have to like either audition or not audition, but is there like a process to get into the school? Yeah. You have to have a certain GPA or like, 3 (12m 30s): Yeah. It's almost like applying to college. You know, I had to take the SSA Ts, which is like the SATs for high school and you have to take, and you have to, you know, have recommendations and all the stuff that you basically do for, for college, you have to do that for, for high school. So it was a combination of like, yeah, your GPA and your standardized testing and all of that stuff. And I, I did want to go there because for one thing, I was kind of tired of feeling like I was considered a nerd in, in school. You know, I kind of felt like I had a pretty narrow identity in, in this, in the school where I had been going into my middle school. And in my, essentially my community, I felt like I was kind of seeing kind of narrowly. 3 (13m 13s): And I just, I just, I don't even know if I could articulate all of that, but I got excited about the idea of going to a school where other kids were, were excited about that stuff and where I wouldn't feel like I was an outcast or pride, or just like seen as a nerd where it would just be like, there are other kids like me at the school too. 1 (13m 31s): Right. Right. And obviously you're very smart. You ended up going to Yale and you must've been, you know, to, to, to score, to get into the school in general, was, were academics really important to you then? 3 (13m 46s): They were very important to my family. You know, the part of the reason why my family was even in America was because my dad had come to America to get his graduate degree. And I think they felt like coming to America was a place to get a great education. And, and so they wanted a great education for their kids. So, you know, that was part of the reason too, why, why they were pushing, why they were excited about the idea of me going to private school, even, even though financially would have been difficult because they're like, look, we gotta make the most of whatever opportunity is possible. And so that in combination with you, you know, where I went, Phillips Exeter, they had really great financial aid packages available for, for people who qualified and who, who got it. 3 (14m 36s): And so luckily I was able to go and my parents made whatever sacrifices they needed, you know, th th for them, it was like, that was the thing, which was, which was cool, but also made it very hard to go from, Hey, I'm on this path of like, academics me is telling them, Hey, I want to be a songwriter and a musician and make music for the rest of my life. 1 (14m 58s): Right. That was going to be my next question. Cause you go to Yale and you major in art. He was at a kind of a shock for them, like, wait a second. You're going to 3 (15m 7s): Like 1 (15m 8s): The pinnacle of colleges and you want to major in art, 3 (15m 13s): Even, actually even just going to yell was a little bit of a surprise for them. I think they would have, you know, when, when as Indian immigrants, they basically only knew two colleges in America before they'd come here, which was Harvard and MIT. And, and so they were like, well, these are the places that you want. You know, the, these are the places that you should try to go to. And, you know, even before that, I think there were kind of, there were three paths that they had envisioned for me, which is I could be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. And when I told them that I wanted to go to Yale or that I had applied, I actually applied without telling them. 3 (15m 55s): And I, I applied there because my favorite English teacher had gone there and I thought, I want it to be like him and follow in his footsteps. And I had the sense that like yell was wasn't artsy school, more so than, than Harvard was or something like that. And I was just like, well, if I'm going to, you know, take a shot at trying to get, get into one of the best schools, I want to go to the one that feels like, I don't know that, that the door might be open to these kind of artistic inclinations that I felt like I had, even if I hadn't fully developed them yet. So I kind of did it without telling them, and until I got in, and then I, you know, I applied early and I got in and I was like, Hey, so this is where I'm going to college. 3 (16m 36s): So at that point it was out of their hands. 1 (16m 40s): What was that? Something they were upset about or was it just like, oh, okay. 3 (16m 43s): No, it wasn't, it wasn't exactly what they were upset. It's just, they were like, they were like, well, that's cool. But like, how come you didn't apply to one of these other places instead one of these places that we've known about, and you know, if you'd gone to MIT, then you could become an engineer or you could become a doctor. If you went to Harvard, you could become a doctor or a lawyer, you know, these things. And I was like, well, I mean, I think they recognized that you could still be a doctor or a lawyer go to yell, obviously, but, but it just wasn't, it wasn't a school. It just, wasn't a part of the plan that they had hoped for or something like that. It's not to say it was a disappointment, it's just not right. 1 (17m 18s): It was just funny to be like, and then I didn't tell them that I was applying to you. Any other pair would be like, you know what I mean? 3 (17m 26s): But so first they had to get over that. And then when I got there and then I was like, and so I'm going to be an art major. And that really kind of made them hit the brakes. And they were like, how is that? How do you make a living? You know, like, how do you, the, I think for them, they had made all these sacrifices to try and give me the best education possible, but also, you know, with the ultimate goal of not just the education itself, but having like a secure life and feeling like I could have a good life in the end for them, that really was like, oh yeah, that's what doctors have. And we know a lot of people who are doctors, my parents aren't doctors, but they knew, you know, my aunt and uncles in India were doctors. 3 (18m 6s): And that was just, that was the, that was the path. And then otherwise an engineer and otherwise a lawyer. So yeah, it really didn't compute for them. And then, then they started to get really worried. Like I think a path that felt pretty good. They were like, okay, good. You're doing well in school. Okay. You're going to good schools. That was all good. It was, it felt like things were fine. And then, and then I was like, I'm an art major. Also I'm playing in bands and this is what I wanted to spend most of my time doing. They started to, you know, started to feel some level of panic, I think 1 (18m 42s): Real quick, before I move, I'm going to edit this part out. Your camera w is pulling focus from you into the background. I just want to make sure that 3 (18m 50s): Yeah, I think I just need to make sure I keep my face in one place. 1 (18m 53s): Oh, I didn't know if he could like lock it on you or something. Okay. Okay, cool. I just didn't want you to be like, and then you watch it and you're like, what is going on? Okay. I just wanted to double check. Cool. Adam we'll pickup now. Okay. So going to yell, you're, you're getting, you're deciding on an art degree. What does that look like? As far as a degree in art, where you going from? Is it music based or just like, what were you studying? 3 (19m 17s): I studied graphic design and photography. And the way I got into the idea of being an art major at all was because of seeing a class listing for graphic design and reading what that was. I realized it was just a name for something that I was already doing. I just didn't know the name of it because I had spent so much of high school making posters for my bands. And I loved, you know, I loved packaging and, and album design for, for my favorite bands. So it was because of music that I started doing, that kind of stuff. I just didn't know it was called graphic design. And I thought, well, here's a way for me to have to like, deepen this way that I engage with music in some totally different area. 3 (20m 0s): And it was just something that I was excited by. I, I liked the idea of like making book covers and album covers and websites. So all that seemed like that would be in my future if I studied this and then I took a photography class and then I just fell in love with photography. 1 (20m 17s): Okay. Real quick to rewind here for half a second, the bands that you were in, in high school, where you writing the songs for these bands, I mean, you talked about being kind of like in punk punk bands, and that was the thing that you were, were into different than the almond brothers and all the other things that they other kids are doing with this court, with this group of friends that you started this bandwidth. Is it something that you're, it was just kind of a fun thing you're doing where you're taking it a bit seriously where you're playing shows around the Boston area. 3 (20m 42s): And so in high school, like the kids would just play, you know, parties at school and, and they would just play covers. The first time I ever wrote a song was actually the end of my time in high school. I started to learn how to play guitar with the idea of trying to learn another instrument and maybe try and write music. And so I wrote a song in high school and I performed it, you know, my senior year at a, at a concert. And that was my first time after kind of outside of the, the, these band experiences. That was my first time with any kind of original music. And then when I got to college, that was, I was like, oh, this is what I want to do. 3 (21m 24s): I want to write songs. And, and so I started playing in band in a band in college with two other guys, and we all wrote songs and, and I played guitar and drums. I mainly played drums, but on a couple of songs we would switch and I'd play guitar. 1 (21m 40s): Oh, okay. With the song that you played in high school, what was that like that moment, like having, okay. And I wrote this song, I'm going to play it in front of my whole peer group of people. And not only that, this is the first song I've written was talking about it like a vulnerable moment. Like, what was that like? 3 (21m 57s): Yeah, it was, that was pretty terrifying, but, but exciting too. 1 (22m 4s): I think it's funny, like when it comes to those situations where you'll speak with an artist and you'll hear that their first performance ever was like in front of the school. And to me that like, that seems so much more terrifying than just like playing a coffee shop to some people that you might not ever run into ever again. But yet you're playing to like a group of people that you're going to have to see tomorrow or Monday morning they can be, and kids are brutal. They can be critical like that wasn't even something that entered your mind. It was just, I want to get up here and do this. 3 (22m 35s): I think they, I think both, I was worried about people being critical, but I also felt like I wanted to do it also. I was seeing, it was like towards the end of my senior year and you know, I wasn't gonna lie. I wasn't gonna stick around there that much. And it wasn't in front of the entire school. Luckily, you know, it was, it was a small performance in, in the church, the school church in the evening, and people knew that I was playing. So a bunch of my friends came specifically to hear me play that night. 1 (23m 6s): That's awesome. That's supportive of them. That's cool. Yeah. Yeah. So yells, when you start the real first real band that you're in writing songs. 3 (23m 14s): Yeah. Yeah. And, and we, we played shows and we put out, we actually made a record. Yeah. We put out a CD, a couple of friends of mine started record label and they, they put out our CD. So that started to feel real. And then towards the, towards the end of that, I, I started playing shows just on my own playing shows, again, just guitar and voice. And then, and then later I added a drum machine, but I started playing solo shows. And that was what I felt like I don't want to just play in front of kids. I go to school with like, I want to play in front of strangers, not because of the safety of it, but really the opposite. 3 (23m 55s): I felt like it's not real. If it's just your friends coming to see you play, you, you need to kind of test this in front of people who have no vested interest in you. And if they respond to it, then that starts to feel more like I'm doing something real and not just some kind of self-indulgent hobby. 1 (24m 12s): Sure. Was that a 1:00 AM radio? Is that, that was that you or yourself or was that, that was okay. Yeah. And so you started that and B you're still in college at this point. And was that the path was now, you know, shifted to, I want to be a graphic designer. I'm going to go to college for art, but I really liked the song writing thing. How do you kind of try to make that your, your career path at that point? 3 (24m 37s): I wasn't thinking about it as a career path. 1 (24m 40s): Okay. 3 (24m 40s): I honestly didn't even know what that meant. I didn't know what it meant to be a musician professionally or how one could even have a career. So I was thinking, well, I got into graphic design because of music, but it has this possibility for, I could make a living doing that. And that would be my, sort of my, my version of a creative but stable career. And in the, and then around that, I would just try and play music as much as I could. I started to meet people who were in bands who were going on tour. And that seemed really exciting, but I didn't know anybody who, whose job was, it was to be a musician. 3 (25m 21s): So it was pretty hard to, to envision. So by the time I finished college, I was just like, I just knew that it was what I loved, but I didn't know how to, I had no aspirations of being my job because it just didn't seem like anything I could imagine. 1 (25m 39s): And what do you, what do you do to do graduate in just try to get a job as a cracker graphic designer for a big company, or like, what is the step after that? I finish, 3 (25m 49s): I applied to a few different places, like a couple of graphic design firms in Boston. And, and I, I didn't know, you know, I had this feeling of like, I wanted to move to Los Angeles because one, one thing that I could imagine as a career, because I knew that there were people who did this over and over again, was making music for films. I was like, that seems like something where there's some, it seemed exciting again, I didn't know anybody who did it, but I was like, maybe that's something that I could do that feels like I could do that. I could work towards that while also trying to make more records and play more shows, but it was just too hard. 3 (26m 29s): Again, the possibility of moving across the country where I didn't know anybody to do a job that I didn't have, you know, I was just like, how, where will I live and how will I pay my rent? I just had no idea. So out of fear, to some extent of, of the unknown, I ended up just staying in Massachusetts and moving in with my parents and getting a job, working for like an internet startup doing, doing graphic design. 1 (26m 54s): Okay. And from, from that gig, like w you know, kind of tell me is your career, if we were rolling through your resume, like, so that you have that job, and then are you, is music still just kind of the thing that you're doing as a hobby and how does it then kind of progress? 3 (27m 9s): What, what changed was I went on a tour. I went on a tour during that time, you know? So this was like, when I was 21 years old, I went on a tour and it felt really exciting. Like it was a longer tour. And I actually came back from it with money in my pocket. Like I made enough money that I could buy. I remember I bought an eight track digital recorder with the money that I made from it, so that I could start working on a full length. I'd put out a couple of things. I'd put out like a couple of seven inch singles and I'd put out a CD, like an EAP, but, but I was like, I'm working towards a full length and I wanted to record it myself. 3 (27m 50s): So I got this eight track with the money that I'd made. And that started to feel like, Hey, this is something that, you know, I could imagine a version of this, where everything got bigger and I could really do this. And so in my heart, I made this decision where I was like, I'm not, I'm not doing music on the side. Music is going to be what I'm aiming at. And, and I will have this job at the exact same job that I had yesterday. But tomorrow I'm thinking of this as just a, it's just a means to an end of getting to be a musician full time. I will keep working at this as, for as long as I need to, until the music is my entire life. 1 (28m 28s): Okay. So that was just like, now you now it's switched music is the, we're going to try to make this happen. And this graphic design job is paying the bills and feeding me until we can make that happen, essentially. 3 (28m 42s): And even though my day, my day to day life looked exactly the same. My internally, I felt differently about it. 1 (28m 50s): What's that tour. Was that something that you did on your own, or did you book ed? You go with someone 3 (28m 54s): I opened for my friend's band, this like hardcore band that I was friends with from Connecticut called drums dream. And they had a, had a following, you know, kind of all over the world in like a, in a, in a community of like heavy punk rock, kind of screamo music fans. And my music as the one, I am radio sounded, nothing like that. I mean, it was very quiet and, and it was just me, like I said, just me and an electric guitar and sometimes a drum machine, but they were fans of my music and I was fans of their music. And they said, would you like to come with us? 3 (29m 35s): And it was, it was a lot of fun. So they, they, they booked it and I got to tag along and it was great. 1 (29m 42s): Wow. Were you nervous at all going on stage before to a, a crowd waiting for like a heavier band and not being in that same genre? 3 (29m 51s): Yeah. It was always a little bit of a challenge to see whether or not people were even open-minded to the idea of a music that was so different and not all of them were, but I found that it was actually a much more receptive audience than you might imagine, because, you know, like it was like, you know, there's still emo and screamo. 1 (30m 14s): Right, right. 3 (30m 16s): So, so there was definitely some appetite for, you know, contemplative, introspective, quiet music. 1 (30m 24s): I think that the industry now is so, so it's just different than, you know, at least when I was growing up, if you liked punk rock, like you liked punk rock, like you, weren't going to tell your friend that you were into the whatever Britney Spears record. If you liked one of her songs, I only listened to rancid and op Ivy and like, you know, whoever else is on fat records at the time or whatever it may be. And now it's more with playlisting. And just, even if you look at like a festival lineup, it's like the, the lineups are just so diverse and it's so different nowadays. And I think if you saw two bands that weren't similar on the same bill, now, it wouldn't be as big of a deal. 1 (31m 7s): But in the sense back then it could have been like a totally different response from the crowd. 3 (31m 15s): Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It was, you know, and there were some times where there would be kids who were there to marsh and they were like, what the hell is this? 1 (31m 24s): Right, right. That's funny. Okay. So that's going, you get home and get the eight track. And are you working on what became the next record at that point? And was it all done by you? 3 (31m 37s): Yeah, so the, the full length that came out, my first full length as the 1:00 AM radio was something that, yeah. I wrote and recorded. I'm eventually I moved to Brooklyn for a little while, between living in Massachusetts and living in Brooklyn. That's where I, where I recorded, you know, whatever bedroom I was in is where I made the record. 1 (31m 59s): And at what point does the, do you get to lose the graphic design job? 3 (32m 6s): I, I had my first year as a musician who made his living entirely for music in 2007. So it was a few, it took a few years before I, before I was busy enough with music and successful enough with it that I didn't have to worry about doing freelance design jobs, but that only went, that only lasted for about a year and a half before I got asked by the record label that I was, I was signed to a record label at that point. And they asked me if I would come help run their art department since it was something they, they were like, you know, us, you know, our, you know, the label, you know, the other bands, you know, kind of what the aesthetic is. 3 (32m 49s): And we, sorry, 1 (32m 52s): All good, all good, 3 (32m 54s): You know, the other bands and you know, what our static is. And so will you come in and help us with our packaging and websites and stuff like that. And at that point, my record, my first record for the label had come out and I'd toured. And I felt like, okay, this is a, 1 (33m 14s): Oh my 3 (33m 14s): Gosh, 1 (33m 15s): No, it's all good. That's the beauty of these things, man. I know you do a PO, I know you do very, very successful podcasts and I, there's something fun about the, just the, you know, humanness of some of these things where it's just like, and there's a dog barking. Oh, well, yeah. Someone else listening to this probably has a dog that barks, you know, every once in a while. So I just leave it if that's cool. I don't really, I mean, I just think there's something cool and raw about it. I just, for me it's I like it. 3 (33m 47s): Okay. 1 (33m 48s): So don't apologize. 3 (33m 53s): So anyway, I started, I started working at the record label doing, doing graphic design stuff while also trying to work on the next record that I was going to do. 1 (34m 4s): And where you on is this when you're on danger bird? Like, yeah. Okay. I love that 3 (34m 8s): Label. 1 (34m 9s): And so you must have, that was my next question. Should you, hadn't moved to LA at this time, at this point to work for the label. And at th I mean, what year was that? You said 2000. 3 (34m 20s): My first record on danger bird came out in 2007. I moved to LA in 2006 permanently. I had, I had come to LA for a few years, from 2002 to 2004, and then between touring and stuff like that, I was kind of all over the place for a little while. And then in 2006, I came back to LA and kind of settled down here. And that's when I started, that's when I met the folks from danger bird. And then my, my first record with them came out in 2007. And then after I finished touring and everything on that record, I produced a record for, for a band on danger bird. And then this art department thing happened. It was 2008. So I was kind of, I was kind of getting to engage in a bunch of different parts of my, my creative brain, right world of music by making my own record by producing other bands record and by, you know, being the art director for, for the label 1 (35m 16s): And what a cool label to, to be working with. I mean, I've always loved the bands that danger bird has signed. And I mean, Silversun pickups with our big one from them and just, it's just such a cool label. And it was a cool independent label that kind of became almost big enough to really S you know, get their songs out and get their artists in front of enough people. Whereas some labels are like, you know, if you sign a, an indie might not get the exposure to that maybe danger bird could offer. 3 (35m 46s): Yeah. They were definitely swinging for the fences. 1 (35m 49s): Sure. Well, it was a cool, like producing on a record. Like, I don't know the artists, but are assigned a danger bird that you got a chance to like, produce their record. Was that pretty cool? Like, did you like that role? 3 (35m 60s): Yeah, I loved that. I did, I did two records for this band eulogies. That was the band of Peter Walker. Who's one of the co-owners of danger bird. 1 (36m 9s): Wow. 3 (36m 10s): And, and I co-produced it with him. And so it was, it was really great. It was great to be able to take the things that I had thought about with music and have, you know, applied to my own songwriting and suddenly have a completely different context to do it. And also, as opposed to the way that I'd made music, which like I said, was in my bedroom, we got to do these in like real studios with real engineers and real gear. And, and so it was, for me, it was like being a kid in a toy store 1 (36m 44s): And to work on it. I mean, obviously he, Peter Walker appreciated you as a songwriter and knew that like respected you and what you were doing and bringing to the table, or he wouldn't have all asked you that from the head guy at the label to be like, Hey, do you want to work on my, my band's project? That all, that must have been pretty validating. 3 (37m 4s): Yeah. Yeah. It was. And especially to do not just one record, but then to be asked back and do the next album as well. 1 (37m 10s): Yeah. That's so cool. And how long were you working with the introvert? 3 (37m 15s): So I put out, I put out one record in 2007, and then the next record I put out in 2011, which was the last record I put out as the 1:00 AM radio. 1 (37m 24s): Okay. Wow. And then from, from one AME radio, where, what was the next step in your career? 3 (37m 30s): Well, then I kind of hit a big wall after that record came out and I, and I haven't put out another record until 1 (37m 44s): Yeah. 3 (37m 44s): This new one comes out tomorrow. 1 (37m 46s): Wow. 3 (37m 47s): Been 11 years since then. And in between, you know, I did, I, I did a lot of other things in the music world. You know, I scored a couple of films and a TV show and, and a video game, but those were all kind of, you know, job. Those were jobs essentially. And I also started the song Exploder podcast. And then from that, I started doing other podcasts as well, either shows that I was producing and hosting myself or shows that I was, you know, executive producing and creating for other people. 1 (38m 21s): That's so cool. I mean, when did you get in the, I mean, how did you end up getting into podcasting? I'm just curious because it's, your career is so fascinating to me and what you've accomplished as, you know, a podcast or that, then it turns into a show on Netflix and just the level of talent that you're able to get on your show. I mean, I love, I mean, listening to Halsey's episode that you did talking about, I think when she talked about honey, what song did she talk about? No, it's off the new record, but I can't think of the name off the top of my head, but like, just like those, I thought that was so like, I love what you're doing. I think it's so amazing. And it's sort of millions upon millions of other people, but just how like podcasting when you started it, wasn't what it is now. 1 (39m 5s): Right. 3 (39m 6s): So 1 (39m 7s): Was it like, how did you land in this world? 3 (39m 9s): Yeah. The Halsy episode was about, you asked for this, 1 (39m 13s): Oh, you asked for this, that's what it was. And she talks about who does she write it with? 3 (39m 18s): Great Kristen. 1 (39m 19s): Yes. And she talks about being in his house with his kids and stuff and just writing the lyrics and the lyrics of that song are, are, are amazing. But it's just interesting to hear what the S the scenario in which she wrote those lyrics, I think is pretty, it's really interesting. 3 (39m 35s): Yeah. Well, you know, song Exploder started because I was in this period where I kind of felt stuck with my own music. I didn't know what I was going to write about. I knew I had to kind of start over from the, you know, and, and write more songs. And I just felt daunted by that idea that, you know, between, between my first recycle, my first album and my second album coming out, there was a two year gap. First record came out in 2002 second, came out in 2004. And then between the second and the third, there was a three-year gap. And then between the third and the fourth, there was a four year gap. And I was like, God, we keep on going like this, 1 (40m 15s): Getting bigger and bigger. Yeah. 3 (40m 17s): It's taking me. It's, it's harder and harder for me to write. And I don't know why. And I was daunted about the idea that like, okay, now I have to go back. Now this record is done. What am I going to spend five years trying to write the next record and what, what if it doesn't work and what's going to happen? And I kind of painted myself into a corner a little bit psychologically where I just, I just felt paralyzed. So I was, you know, working on these film scores and that kind of gave me a little bit of a reprieve because I was like, well, I'm working on music and I'm working towards this other goal that I'd had this other dream that I'd had years ago. 3 (40m 59s): So it's okay that I'm not making songs, you know, but then those projects ended and I still didn't have any songs. And I was like, well, what am I going to do? And one thought that I had had for a little while was, was this idea of, of a podcast where there was sort of a kind of show and tell for artists where they could say, I was thinking about this and I made this and you'd hear just the isolated stem of whatever part of the song they were talking about. And then they could go on and tell you another part. And you could hear just that they could talk about all the weird things that they'd done to get that sound. You know, I remember reading an article in tape op magazine, which I loved and had a subscription to. 3 (41m 42s): I remember first reading it. I was on tour in Florida and some, I was reading an issue in the house where we were staying in the punk house. We were staying in the books, were talking about how they had made a kick drum sound by putting a microphone inside a filing cabinet and putting a speaker against the bottom of the filing cabinet and like running it through there. It was something wild to try and get this like deep frequency. And, and I hadn't heard the song that they were talking about, or maybe I had, but I couldn't identify how those things connected. I was like, this sounds so cool. 3 (42m 22s): What did it sound like? And I just wanted to hear what it sounded like, and that was in like 2004. And so I remember, you know, around this time I started listening to podcasts at that time. Not a lot, cause there weren't that many. Right. But I was thinking, wow, something like this would be a way to have that kind of interview. And then you'd get to hear that part. You know, you'd get to hear it. Maybe the stem of just that kick drum made out of, out of a filing cabinet or something. And wouldn't that be cool. I knew from being a bedroom, producer myself, like all kinds of strange things that I had done and used, you know, I remember like there was a song that where the, the drum track was made up out of. 3 (43m 6s): I'd heard this truck driving down the street in the middle of the night and it was the craziest sound. I was like, what is happening? I just heard the sound. And I run out. And I remember I grabbed my little Dictaphone that I had and I ran out to the street and on the street, there was a truck going by slowly in the middle of the night that was dragging bottles behind it, like glass bottles. And you could hear it up and down the street. So I'd heard it from really far away. And I recorded it. I was like, that is a crazy sound. And, and then months later I was making a song and I, I used that as part of the rhythm track and, you know, and I was like, that's a story that at the time I was like, I'll never get to tell that story, you know, and no one will ever hear when, when they listened to this song and they hear this kind of weird little jingly glass sound, what that actually was. 3 (43m 59s): And I was daydreaming about a show where someone could, you know, where someone would say I did this. And so song Exploder kind of came out of that, that combination of like wanting to share those kinds of stories that I didn't get to. And knowing that other artists would have those kinds of stories and being in a moment where I was like, well, I don't know. I don't know how, or when I'll be able to write songs again, but I still want to be, I still want to have my hands in all of this music stuff. So that's how the podcast started. 1 (44m 29s): Wow. That's, that's really, I, I, I came from radio and this one started in and, or we, the idea of form 2018 and then it started in 2019, which I felt like I was really late to the game. But now, like when COVID happened, then every, you know, buddy in the planet started making a podcast. I felt like I was a little bit ahead of some people, but it was the same thing. Like I wanted to, I didn't get to have the freedom that I wanted to on a terrestrial station. And here I even pitched the idea to them and they were like, no, we don't, we don't want to deal with that. All right, cool. Here's some paperwork sign this, give it to me. But anyway, like, yeah, it just, it just hearing people's stories because I never had a chance to, I was always interested by bands and was never a song writer, but intrigued by people that can do it and love playing guitar. 1 (45m 20s): And, but seeing bands like from my hometown succeed in being like, whoa, how did they do this? Like, what was it? What did they do differently? It's it's always just such a fascinating, you know, other people's lives are, are so fascinating. Wow. Okay. So you start the podcast. I mean, obviously that takes a chunk of your life, right? It starts to happen. It starts taking off. And then once, once it does, is, are you, you're kind of, then now this is like your new identity. 3 (45m 50s): Yeah. It was a strange thing to see who I was kind of shifting a little bit, you know, because of the way I started it, I was like, oh, hi, I'm Rishi from the 1:00 AM radio. And I'm making a podcast. Will you be on it? You know, you know me from the 1:00 AM radio, will you be on my show? And then, and then at a certain point song Exploder was better known than the music that I'd made. Even though I'd, I'd spent, you know, a decade of my life on the 1:00 AM radio, this thing that was kind of a side project, ended up being more well-known and, and, and then it was like, oh, I'm a person who makes song Exploder until it got to a point where, you know, people who were on the show were like, oh, I didn't realize you were a musician too. 1 (46m 45s): Interesting. So you're like, oh, now this is shifting. Like it went from, everyone knew me as 1:00 AM radio to now, now I'm song Exploder guy that you're finding out. Now that I'm a musician. Yeah. It must've been an interesting turn. 3 (46m 60s): Yeah. I never thought everybody knows me as the one. I am radio. I always like, well, not that many people know me, but if you do know me, 1 (47m 6s): Oh, you know me, I was wanting to have a 10 year career and signed to a label like danger bird produced records for people on danger. Bird says something. It's not like you were like, ah, yeah. I played a couple shows at busted at this restaurant or whatever it was. Yeah. It was a thing. And then, yeah, that kind of just obviously took over. And now you're backwards at least at 11 years. Your last record. Yeah. And how long have you been working on the record or is this just been ideas or was it, was there a moment where you're like, I want to get back in this, I'm going to start writing a record. And when, when was that decision made? 3 (47m 44s): I started feeling about, you know, after about five years of making the podcast, I started to feel like, wow, this, I feel bad about this part of my life. That used to be who I was, you know, essentially having disappeared. So around 2017 or so, so it had been about six years since my last record came out. I had had a side project that I did with Keith Stanfield called Moore's where that was like a hip hop project. That was very cool, but, you know, and I made, it was, I was really making the instrumentals and producing the songs, but it was different from what I knew, what I experienced is the wanting radio, you know, where I was really like the sole songwriter and producer and stuff like that. 3 (48m 31s): And I missed that experience, but despite missing it, I still didn't know how to get over my writer's block. So there was a, there was an emotional part of it. But then there was also just like a pragmatic part of it where I had started song Exploder. And then through song, Exploder started other podcasts. I'd started this podcast called the Western weekly. That was like a weekly show. And, and so for a while in my life, I was putting out seven episodes of a podcast every month, you know, like, and song Exploder was a lot of editing and a lot of work. And, and then Western weekly was like a hour long, you know, researched weekly show with interviews and guests and things like that. 3 (49m 14s): So even if I wanted to make music or even if I somehow was able to reconnect with my ability to write songs again, I didn't know how to fit it into my life, but that's really not the way I was thinking of it the way I was thinking of it was, gosh, I wish I could write a song, but I don't even have the time to try because of my, the obligations that I've set up for myself, I have to attend to those first, you know, and there's always some, it was always easier to check off something on the list that was like, finish this episode, finished the interview, email this publicist back, or, you know, there were, there were a set of discrete objectives that had to be completed for any podcast episode that came out every two weeks or every week that were a lot more manageable than the idea of, you know, if the line item was, write a song, that's something that after having spent four years trying to make a record, I was like, well, how many months is it going to take me to cross this thing off? 3 (50m 20s): Well, let me just put this off till tomorrow. Cause I have these other five things that I can do today. And then, and then I do the next thing the next day. And then I do the next thing the next day. And then all of a sudden, you know, after me saying like, I want to get back into writing songs a year had passed and I still hadn't, I hadn't even tried. So I was getting pretty bummed out about how all that was unfolding or rather it wasn't unfolding, but I really wanted to get back to music. This, this EAP that's coming out is for the most part songs that there's, there's six songs on it. Five of them, I, I wrote, you know, between, between December of 20, 20 and October of 2021. 3 (51m 7s): So they represent, you know, about 10 or 11 months of my life. And then there's one song that came a little bit earlier. That was the first song that I was first song that I was able to write again, which was, but that wasn't until 2018. 1 (51m 21s): Wow. Okay. And then, so these, the rest of the record was essentially written December. And then once you wrap it up, it sounds like it wasn't all that long. 3 (51m 30s): Yeah. I re I wrapped it up, you know, finished mixing it in December and then mastered it in January. 1 (51m 37s): Wow. Wow. So in, you put out two of the songs thus far from the record 3 (51m 42s): Of three, so far 1 (51m 43s): Three, three. Okay. The most, the one I just, most recent one is stillness. Is that the most recent one, which is an amazing song? It looks like you have features on all of them except for that song. 3 (51m 52s): Yeah. So they're the first two songs that came out, both had features. The first one had yo-yo ma playing cello on it. And the second one was a duet with Jay som and then this, this song, there's no feature on it. There's another song on the EAP that doesn't have a feature, the first track on it. 1 (52m 8s): Oh yeah. Sure. Okay. 3 (52m 9s): And then there are a couple more than that also that do have features 1 (52m 12s): And were these like writing these songs? Did the pandemic have any effect on having more time to do this, or like, 3 (52m 20s): Well, you're not funny thing is that I only, I only really experienced songwriting again in the pandemic, so I didn't really have something to compare it to, to say, oh, look how different it is to write songs now in Quebec versus before, for me, there was the, before was 10 years ago. My life was so different in so many ways that that writing the songs this way was just how I wrote them was just like, well, these were the circumstances and it wasn't really any, there wasn't anything to compare it to either for the, for better or for worse. 1 (53m 2s): Who would you say? Like, because due to the pandemic, it was, that would kind of give you an extra push for let's really, I have a little bit more time now to work on putting out a record. 3 (53m 14s): What I think really it took was just me making the concrete decision after the Netflix show wrapped up. After we finished editing all of the episodes that we had shot that was, we were about, you know, six months into the pandemic. When the first set of episodes came out, then we put out the second set of episodes. And by that time I was like, okay, this is a huge project. This was another way that I was able to cross something off of my list that had been sitting there for, you know, over for over a year, year and a half. I thought before I take on anything else on, I want to get back. I want to find a way to get back to writing songs. So at that point, the Westman weekly podcast had also wrapped up. 3 (53m 56s): So these things were wrapping up and before there was ever a pandemic, I had thought at the beginning of 2020, I was like, you know, I'm going to finish these projects. I had this podcast called partners that was going to come out in 2020. I was like, I'm going to finish all of these things. And I'm not going to say yes to anything else. And I'm not going to take anything else on until I can find a way to start making music again. And then the pandemic happened. And, and so I thought, well, I finished these projects. And, and so I'm going to make this time. The one thing that probably helped is that I, I couldn't get distracted by say like socializing, 1 (54m 32s): Right? 3 (54m 33s): I'd already kind of made the commitment to being like, I'm going to make time for, in my work life to make my music part of my work. But, but I know that yeah, having, having no choice, but to sit in front of the computer to be in the studio really helped me commit to the thing that I had decided to do. 1 (54m 57s): And now you get a chance to play these songs. The record's done. And you were at south by Southwest what last week or two weeks ago. And what was it like, you know, was this the first time you've played, you know, to an audiences like a musician in how many years? 3 (55m 13s): Yeah. I mean, the last shows that I had done as a musician at all was playing with more's, you know, which was in the last show we played was in 2015, but that was a show where, you know, I, I did a little bit of singing, but mostly I was essentially deejaying beats that I had made. And Lakita was the front man In terms of playing a song and singing in front of people, you know, I hadn't played a full show like that in 10 years. 1 (55m 41s): Wow. Was that a difficult thing to kind of jump back into or were you pretty prepared for it? 3 (55m 47s): No, I was terrified. I don't feel like I'm a natural performer to begin with. I don't feel like I'm not the kind of musician who's like, oh, I live to be on the stage, much prefer being in the studio than, than I do playing in front of people, but it's also part of the job and I, and I do like parts of it, but, but there's a lot of stage frightened terror that I have to get over to do it. The one thing that I've done live much more often in the years in between has been, you know, doing live podcasts, the Western weekly. 3 (56m 27s): Did you know people who don't care about the west wing or I never heard this podcast will be shocked to hear this, but like it was a, we did a huge shows, live shows like the kinds of shows that I could never have even dreamed about as a musician, like in my wildest dreams of being a musician, like we played in London, we played, we played a live show in front of 3,200 people in London. 1 (56m 54s): Wow. 3 (56m 55s): You know, it was like at, at the Apollo, you know, we're we're were queen and like David Bowie plane. 1 (57m 2s): Right. 3 (57m 3s): I had been on stage in front of a lot of people, but not as a musician and not as a singer. And so getting back into that, the, the only way that I've been able to figure out how to do that is by trying to bring a little bit of this other existence into it. So, so the tour that I just did with my friend, Jenny own Youngs, who I wrote a lot of these songs with was kind of a hybrid between what I'd been doing, you know, like these kinds of conversational things on stage crossed with the way I used to play shows, you know, which was song, song, song, song, song. 1 (57m 42s): So how would you mix them up? Would you have a conversation then with, with Jenny Owens Youngs, and then you guys would talk about what the process behind each song, or like, what was, was it like, 3 (57m 51s): Yeah, yeah. It was sort of a mix of these three different versions of me that I've gotten to experience, you know, the first version being like the 1:00 AM radio, where I would play these shows in an extremely earnest and serious and quiet way. And then the second is song Exploder talking about like the feelings and ideas that go into why a song gets created. And the third was the, you know, the kind of conversational podcasts that I'd made Western weekly. And this other show home cooking that I created during the pandemic, both of those were, you know, sort of shows with my friends where we would talk about something informationally, but there was a kind of a intimate chat quality to it as well. 3 (58m 40s): So Jenny who also has a podcast and I kind of tried to thread these three things together. So we would talk, talk to each other about, about our friendship and about our relationship as songwriters. So much of the origin story that I had for these songs involved. Jenny. So talking about them in a kind of song Exploder way in any kind of a way necessarily meant talking about, about Jenny. And she was right there on stage with me. So, so we'd kind of get to talk about them together, but we would do it in this kind of fun, conversational way, because we genuinely are very close and, and it was really not. 3 (59m 24s): And then we would pump and then we would play the songs. So it was kind of half storytelling, half song performance. Wow. 1 (59m 33s): And we're the S or were you able to work directly with her when you were writing the songs or was this something that you did kind of virtually? 3 (59m 41s): We, she, she and I first met when she lived in LA and the first song that we wrote together was here in LA. We wrote it in person and the song that was in 2018, but then she moved away. She moved to Maine and the pandemic. And so the other songs that I wrote with her, we did over zoom. 1 (1h 0m 2s): Wow. So it didn't wait. It was like a hybrid then what was the first thing that you wrote, if you don't mind me asking? 3 (1h 0m 6s): Oh, it was memory palace. 1 (1h 0m 8s): Okay. So it was a memory of the one that she's featured on. That makes sense. Okay. So that, from that song, then when you start, when the pandemic hits and you're, was it like, how did you feel about sharing the files back and forth? Was that something that was, I mean, it must've been quite different than writing the original one with her. 3 (1h 0m 28s): You know, it actually didn't feel that different because Virginia is an incredibly warm and personable figure and she has done a lot of writing and co-writing, so she is a really wonderful kind of guide or something like that. You know, she, she just kind of sets the tone in a way that's really wonderful. And we're also genuinely great friends, so it just felt like hanging out. And, and so when we would write, we would, we wrote not that differently. You know, when she came over, we, we had pads of paper where we were keeping notes and writing things. When we were on zoom, we just did it on a Google doc. 3 (1h 1m 9s): So it wasn't that different, you know, it was a combination of we both, but, but a lot of things were the same. We both had guitars. We both were talking to each other and recording voice memos, as things felt like they were coming together and then trying to kind of cobble those ideas together. 1 (1h 1m 27s): Amazing. And the tour picks up again may. 3 (1h 1m 30s): Yeah. Yeah. W we did the east coast and south by Southwest for now, and then we'll do the west coast in may. Very well. 1 (1h 1m 37s): Very cool. LA San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, it looks like I love the independent where you're playing in San Francisco. That's a great venue. Yeah. So very cool. And thank you so much for, for doing this. Yeah. You're somebody I really look up to and in this world, and I mean, your songs are amazing, the fact that you score, you know, not only films, but some of the podcasts, the music for the podcast I think is so really cool. I mean, so cool. Yeah. And to hear that you were editing like your, I mean episodes, I mean, just all of that, like that is, I'm just, yeah. I like, you're somebody I really look up to in this industry and I really appreciate like what you've done for podcasting and just, you know, being so early to the game. 1 (1h 2m 23s): It's just, it's really cool. 3 (1h 2m 25s): Wow. Thank you so much. You really made my day. That's incredibly nice of you to say, and it means a lot. 1 (1h 2m 33s): Oh, thank you. I mean, it's the truth. I do have one more question for you. And I guess this could go for songwriters or now I guess podcasts, because I'm going to note this advice down myself, but I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 3 (1h 2m 47s): Well, I think the advice that I had to learn myself was to take the work of making art seriously and treat it like work. You know, I think part of the reason why it took me four years to write, to write an album or three years before that was because I kind of expected myself as a creative person to just be creative and that the, you know, the creative winds would blow my way and something would come out. And, and that's how art got made. One of the things I've learned from making songs, splitter, and getting to talk to so many different artists is how much of what they do is a practice and literally a practice you have to make time. 3 (1h 3m 32s): And, and so the best thing that I have done for myself is setting aside this time to, to make music or to try to make music. You know, you might not, it might not always work, but, but by saying, okay, on this day, I'm going to write a song and, you know, putting it in my calendar, it feels silly in some ways to try and schedule creativity, but you have to just make the, you have to create the environment where that could actually happen. And if you don't, it won't. And I think that's true, whether you're trying to write a song or whether you're trying to start a podcast, I feel like there's so many people for as many people who that started a podcast in the pandemic, there are so many people who are like, I have an idea for a podcast and that's as far as they get with it for months, or, and maybe it never gets anywhere from there. 3 (1h 4m 23s): And what you need to do is be like, well, I have an idea to now

Hrishikesh HirwayProfile Photo

Hrishikesh Hirway

Acclaimed musician and Song Exploder host/creator