Song Exploder

Song Exploder

www.songexploder.net
Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sounds and ideas that went into the writing and recording. Hosted and produced by Hrishikesh Hirway.
Dirty Projectors - Up in Hudson
Mar 22 • 26 min
Dave Longstreth started making music under the name Dirty Projectors in 2002, while he was in college. Since then, he’s released seven albums and collaborated with Bjork, Solange, and Kanye West, Paul McCartney, and Rihanna. And Dirty Projectors…
Sleigh Bells - I Can Only Stare
Mar 14 • 15 min
Sleigh Bells formed in 2008. They released their fourth album, Jessica Rabbit, in 2016. In this episode, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller break down their song “I Can Only Stare.” I interviewed the two of them in front of a live audience at the Kaufman…
Bonobo - Break Apart (feat. Rhye)
Feb 28 • 16 min
Simon Green is a producer and DJ who’s been making music under the name Bonobo since 2000. In January 2017 he released his sixth studio album, Migration. For the song “Break Apart,” he enlisted Rhye to add vocals, and in this episode, the two of…
Sara Watkins - Without a Word
Feb 17 • 14 min
Sara Watkins began her music career when she was only 8 years old, as one of the founding members of the Grammy-award winning band Nickel Creek. In 2016, she released her third solo album, Young in all the Wrong Ways. In this episode, Sara breaks down…
Dropkick Murphys - Blood
Feb 7 • 18 min
The band Dropkick Murphys formed in Boston in 1996. For over twenty years, they’ve made music that’s reflected the culture and community they’ve come from, including their platinum single “Shipping Up to Boston.” In January 2017, they released…
Nicholas Britell - Moonlight
Jan 30 • 17 min
The film Moonlight tells the story of its main character, Chiron, in three chapters: when Chiron is a young boy, nicknamed Little, when he’s a teenager, and when he’s an adult, nicknamed Black. For each chapter of the film, composer Nicholas Britell…
Solange - Cranes in the Sky
Jan 16 • 26 min
Solange Knowles released her first album in 2002, at the age of 16. Her third album, A Seat at the Table, came out in September 2016, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. It’s gotten widespread critical acclaim, including being named album of…
Metallica - Moth into Flame
Jan 6 • 18 min
Metallica formed in 1981. They were teenagers. Since then, they’ve gone on to become one of the most successful bands of all time, selling over 110 million records worldwide. In November 2016, they released their tenth album, Hardwired…to…
Justin Hurwitz - La La Land
Dec 21, 2016 • 21 min
The film LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia, an aspiring actress played by Emma Stone, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, both of them struggling artists in Los Angeles. The musical was written and directed by Damien Chazelle in…
DJ Shadow - Mutual Slump
Dec 8, 2016 • 16 min
In 1996, Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, released his first album, Endtroducing. It’s been hailed pretty much universally as one of the best albums of the 90s, and Time Magazine included in its top 100 Albums of all time. It changed hip-hop and…
Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me
Nov 30, 2016 • 14 min
Angel Olsen released her third album, My Woman, in September 2016. It’s been critically acclaimed, including Pitchfork’s Best New Music and NME’s best albums of the year. In this episode, Angel Olsen takes apart the song “Shut Up Kiss Me.” She…
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Arrival
Nov 17, 2016 • 15 min
In the film Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist trying to decode an alien language. The score was composed by Johann Johannsson, his third film collaborating with director Denis Villeneuve. In this episode, Johann breaks down a piece from the score…
Flatbush Zombies - Bounce
Nov 8, 2016 • 13 min
Flatbush Zombies are a hip hop trio from Brooklyn. They formed in 2010. Their album 3001: A Laced Odyssey came out in 2016, and debuted in the top ten on the Billboard charts. Erick the Architect is one of the three MCs in the band (along with Meechy…
Oathbreaker - 10:56 / Second Son of R.
Oct 28, 2016 • 22 min
The band Oathbreaker formed in 2008 in Belgium. In this episode, Caro and Gilles from the band break down the two-part song that opens their third album, Rheia. These two tracks, 10:56 and Second Son of R., were written and performed as one song….
James Vincent McMorrow - Get Low
Oct 19, 2016 • 17 min
James Vincent McMorrow is a singer/songwriter whose first albums fell somewhere on the folk music side of things. But his sound has changed over the years, incorporating elements of R&B and electronic music. On the album We Move, James worked with…
Phantogram - You Don’t Get Me High Anymore
Oct 6, 2016 • 18 min
Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter started Phantogram in 2007. They’ve worked on crafting a particular sound and they’ve had a particular way of making their dense productions since the beginning. But for their new record, Three, things changed. The…
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks
Sep 21, 2016 • 19 min
In 2006, Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John released their third album, Writer’s Block. For months and months after that, it felt like you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the first single from that album, “Young Folks.” It was on top 10 lists…
Mitski - Your Best American Girl
Sep 7, 2016 • 14 min
Mitski has been making records since 2012. Her third record, Puberty 2, came out in June 2016 and was critically acclaimed Pitchfork gave it Best New Music status. Her music has been featured in the tv show Adventure Time. In this episode, Mitski…
Tobacco - Gods in Heat
Aug 25, 2016 • 14 min
Tom Fec, aka Tobacco, has released four albums since 2008. He’s also the frontman of the band Black Moth Super Rainbow, and he created the theme music for the HBO show Silicon Valley. In this episode, Tom breaks down his song “Gods in Heat” from his…
Andra Day - Forever Mine
Aug 15, 2016 • 14 min
Singer/songwriter Andra Day put out her first record in August 2015. Since then, she’s been invited by the Obamas to perform at the White House on multiple occasions, and the record was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B album. In this episode,…
Patrick Carney feat. Ralph Carney - BoJack Horseman (Main Title Theme)
Aug 4, 2016 • 15 min
BoJack Horseman is a Netflix original series, an animated comedy about a washed up 90s sitcom star who’s trying to figure out his life and career without drowning in self-loathing and existential despair. It won the 2016 Critics Choice award for best…
Band of Horses - Solemn Oath
Jul 25, 2016 • 15 min
Band of Horses released their 5th album in June 2016. In this episode, the band’s frontman, Ben Bridwell breaks down the song Solemn Oath, and how in the process of writing it, he confronted writer’s block, and balancing his life in the band and…
Grimes - Kill V. Maim
Jul 14, 2016 • 14 min
Grimes is the project of Claire Boucher. In 2015, she released Art Angels, her 4th album. In this episode, she breaks down her song Kill V. Maim, her feelings about singing, and how the experience of writing songs for other artists opened up the…
Andrew Bird - Roma Fade
Jul 5, 2016 • 15 min
Andrew Bird is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, maybe known best for his violin playing and his whistling. In this episode, Andrew breaks down his song Roma Fade, from the 2016 album Are You Serious?
CHVRCHES - Clearest Blue
Jun 23, 2016 • 14 min
CHVRCHES is a trio from Glasgow, Scotland. In this episode, they break down the song “Clearest Blue,” from their sophomore album Every Open Eye. You’ll hear the band’s original demo as well as why they start songs with a set of rules, but then quickly…
ODESZA - Kusanagi
Jun 14, 2016 • 14 min
In September 2014, Odesza put out their album In Return. It debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic charts, and spent 13 weeks in the top 10. But the song Kusanagi isn’t a dance track. It slows down the pace of the album, and in this episode,…
Old Crow Medicine Show - Dearly Departed Friend
May 29, 2016 • 18 min
Old Crow Medicine Show is a six-piece band from Tennessee, who have been around since 1998. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013, and they won the Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2015, for their record Remedy. In this episode, bandleader…
Busdriver - Worlds to Run
May 24, 2016 • 18 min
Busdriver is a rapper from Los Angeles, and since 2001, he’s been releasing albums with a signature hyperliterate, intellectual style. But over a decade later, Busdriver has found himself reaching for something more intimate and personal. In this…
Carly Rae Jepsen - When I Needed You
May 9, 2016 • 16 min
Carly Rae Jepsen released her third album, Emotion, in 2015. The closing track on the record is When I Needed You. In this episode, Carly tells the story of how the song was made. You’ll hear the first demo for the song, a version she co-wrote with…
The Lumineers - Ophelia
Apr 28, 2016 • 16 min
The Lumineers released their second album on April 8, 2016. Their first album went platinum, and they spent months touring relentlessly in support of it. That schedule took a toll on their relationship, but they ended up putting it into their…
Weezer - Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori
Apr 18, 2016 • 22 min
Weezer’s 10th album, the self-titled “White” album, came out April 1, 2016. In this episode, Rivers Cuomo breaks down the meticulous process of making the song “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori,” through the different demo versions that the track went…
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - Astonished Man
Apr 5, 2016 • 15 min
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down released the album A Man Alive in March 2016. In this episode, Thao Nguyen breaks down the song “Astonished Man.” Thao talks about working with Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, who produced the album, and she speaks…
Iggy Pop - American Valhalla
Mar 22, 2016 • 16 min
Iggy Pop is a pioneer of punk rock, whose legendary career began over fifty years ago. In 2015, he began collaborating on music with Joshua Homme, of Queens of the Stone Age. The result was Iggy Pop’s 23rd album, Post Pop Depression. In this…
Oneohtrix Point Never - Sticky Drama
Mar 10, 2016 • 17 min
Daniel Lopatin has been making experimental electronic music as Oneohtrix Point Never since 2007. In this episode, he takes apart the song “Sticky Drama,” from his 2015 album Garden of Delete. He breaks down how he created artificial voices using…
KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
Mar 1, 2016 • 14 min
Singer/songwriter KT Tunstall released her debut album in 2004. It was nominated for a Mercury Prize. The song “Suddenly I See” from that record was a hit on the radio and it’s been used in the soundtracks of big movies and television shows. But…
Clipping - Work Work
Feb 18, 2016 • 15 min
Clipping is a trio made up of producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, and rapper Daveed Diggs. You might be familiar with Daveed’s voice from his roles as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton….
The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
Feb 8, 2016 • 12 min
The New Pornographers are kind of a supergroup, with seven members in the band, including Neko Case and Dan Bejar, who are both acclaimed songwriters with their own successful solo careers. But the band is led by Carl Newman, and in this episode, he…
Kelela - Rewind
Jan 28, 2016 • 15 min
Kelela is a singer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. In 2015, she released Hallucinogen, and landed on critics’ lists in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Pitchfork, and more. In this episode, Kelela takes apart her song Rewind. To make the…
MGMT - Time to Pretend
Jan 19, 2016 • 17 min
MGMT was formed by Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden in 2001. The song Time to Pretend was one they wrote early in their career. It first came out on their debut: the Time to Pretend EP in 2005. And three years after that, they put out a new…
Courtney Barnett - Depreston
Jan 7, 2016 • 17 min
Courtney Barnett released her debut album in March 2015. By the end of the year, she had been nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist, Spin named her the Songwriter of the Year, and she won four ARIA Music Awards in her native Australia. In this…
Björk - Stonemilker
Dec 17, 2015 • 20 min
In January 2015, Björk released Vulnicura. She described it as “a complete heartbreak album.” And in November, she released Vulnicura Strings, a companion album that stripped away the electronics. In this episode, Björk breaks down the…
Dustin O’Halloran - Transparent (Main Title Theme)
Dec 11, 2015 • 12 min
Transparent is an Amazon original series, created by Jill Soloway. The story centers on a family where the father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, comes out to his children and the to world at large as transgender. The first season was released in September…
Wilco - Magnetized
Dec 2, 2015 • 15 min
Wilco formed in 1994, and 21 years later, they released their 9th album, Star Wars. In this episode, Jeff Tweedy, the band’s singer and principal songwriter, breaks down the song Magnetized. In addition to collaborating with his five bandmates,…
Natalia Lafourcade - Hasta la Raíz
Nov 23, 2015 • 15 min
Natalia Lafourcade has won eight Latin Grammys, including three for the song Hasta la Raíz, which won the 2015 Song of the Year and Record of the Year, as well as Best Alternative Song. In this episode, Natalia breaks down the writing and…
Youth Lagoon - The Knower
Nov 16, 2015 • 14 min
Youth Lagoon is the moniker of Trevor Powers, who has been releasing albums under the name since 2011. In this episode, Trevor breaks down “The Knower,” the lead single from his newest record, Savage Hills Ballroom. He talks about how…
The Arcs - Put a Flower in Your Pocket
Nov 5, 2015 • 19 min
The Arcs is a new project from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. He started the band with some of the musicians and producers he’s worked with over the years. For this episode, Dan and his bandmates Richard Swift and Leon Michels break down how they…
Chet Faker - Gold
Oct 26, 2015 • 17 min
Chet Faker is the stage name of Australian singer and songwriter Nick Murphy. His debut album, Built on Glass, won five ARIA Awards, Australia’s version of the Grammys, including Best Male Artist, Producer of the Year, and Best Independent…
Harry Gregson-Williams - The Martian
Oct 15, 2015 • 16 min
In the film “The Martian,” astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars, forced to rely on science and his ingenuity in order to survive. The film opened at #1 at the box office, and has earned critical praise as well. In this…
Deradoorian - A Beautiful Woman
Oct 5, 2015 • 16 min
Angel Deradoorian has been a member of the bands Dirty Projectors and Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, and has contributed to albums by Vampire Weekend, Flying Lotus, and Brandon Flowers. This year she released her first full-length album as Deradoorian,…
The Magnetic Fields - Andrew in Drag
Sep 24, 2015 • 15 min
Stephin Merritt has fronted the band The Magnetic Fields for over twenty-five years. In this episode, he breaks down the song “Andrew in Drag” from the band’s latest album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, even though he doesn’t actually remember…
Joey Bada$$ - Hazeus View
Sep 15, 2015 • 14 min
Joey Bada$$ released his debut album on January 20, 2015: his 20th birthday. It hit the Top 5 on the Billboard charts. For the track “Hazeus View,” he worked with Kirk Knight, another member of the Pro Era hip-hop collective. In this episode, the two…
American Football - The One With The Tambourine
Sep 3, 2015 • 14 min
The band American Football formed in 1997, and released only one album and an EP before breaking up about three years later. Their critically acclaimed debut went on to achieve cult status as one of the most influential records of the ’90s, and was…
Best Coast - Feeling Ok
Aug 27, 2015 • 13 min
In this episode, Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of the band Best Coast take apart their song “Feeling Ok,” from the 2015 album California Nights. They trace their process and their influences, from the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” to the video…
HEALTH - Stonefist
Aug 18, 2015 • 12 min
The band HEALTH formed in Los Angeles in 2005. Their newest record, Death Magic, came out in 2015. They spent four years trying to make it. They describe themselves as a noise band, but for this record, they reinvented their palette and their process….
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love
Aug 10, 2015 • 14 min
Multi-Love is the title track from the 2015 album by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. In this episode, Ruban Nielson tells the story of how he made the song with help from his brother Kody Nielson, and how it was influenced by Romeo and Juliet, Questlove,…
Thundercat - Them Changes
Jul 30, 2015 • 13 min
Thundercat is the alter-ego of bassist and singer-songwriter Stephen Bruner. He’s played bass for both Suicidal Tendencies and Erykah Badu and went on to help shape Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly.’ In this episode, Thundercat will break…
Death Cab for Cutie - El Dorado
Jul 20, 2015 • 13 min
Death Cab for Cutie released Kintsugi, their 8th album, on March 31, 2015. The song El Dorado, like other songs on the record, was written in the wake of the divorce between the band’s lead singer Ben Gibbard and actress Zooey Deschanel. In this…
Sylvan Esso - Coffee
Jul 8, 2015 • 12 min
Sylvan Esso has two members, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, who met while they were both working on other projects. Amelia asked Nick to do a remix of a song by the band she was in at the time, and when that remix was done, they both loved how it…
U2 - Cedarwood Road
Jun 29, 2015 • 15 min
10 Cedarwood Road is the address of Bono’s childhood home in Dublin. For the U2 song “Cedarwood Road,” Bono looked back to his life there as a teenager, when skinhead culture seeped into his neighborhood via the Seven Towers, housing projects…
Will Butler - Anna
Jun 22, 2015 • 13 min
Will Butler is a member of the band Arcade Fire, and he co-wrote the score for the film Her, which earned him an Oscar nomination. In March 2015, he put out his first solo album, Policy, and in this episode, he breaks down the song “Anna” from that…
Ramin Djawadi - Game of Thrones
Jun 11, 2015 • 11 min
Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in April 2011 and became the most watched show in HBO’s history. The main title theme was written by Emmy-nominated composer Ramin Djawadi. In this episode, he’ll break down the different elements in the piece, and how…
Brian Tyler - Avengers: Age of Ultron
May 29, 2015 • 9 min
The title card for Avengers: Age of Ultron comes up twelve minutes into the movie. Against a black background, the Avengers logo takes up almost the entire screen. You might expect a triumphant, heroic piece of music, but the film called for something…
tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain
May 18, 2015 • 15 min
In this episode, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs breaks down “Water Fountain.” It’s a song that draws inspiration from the politics of drought and dancehall reggae, and you’ll hear how (and why) she tried to make this song less catchy. Despite that…
John Lunn - Downton Abbey
May 5, 2015 • 7 min
The British TV show Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in PBS history, with over 10 million viewers per episode, and more Emmy nominations than any non-US show ever. The theme music is one of its signatures, but it was originally written as a…
My Morning Jacket - Spring (Among the Living)
Apr 23, 2015 • 14 min
Jim James is the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band My Morning Jacket. Since starting in 1998, they’ve put out six albums, and in this episode, Jim breaks down the song Spring (Among The Living), from their soon-to-be released seventh album, The…
Toro y Moi - Half Dome
Apr 14, 2015 • 11 min
Over the past five years, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro y Moi, has made music that’s spanned a range of genres and styles. On his newest album, What For?, he shifted styles again. In this episode, Chaz explains why. He’ll break down the song Half Dome, named…
RJD2 - Games You Can Win (feat. Kenna)
Apr 1, 2015 • 14 min
RJD2 has been making music since 2002. His song “A Beautiful Mine” was turned into the opening credits music for Mad Men. He’s a producer and beatmaker, but also a singer and songwriter. But for the vocals on the song “Games You Can Win,” he tapped…
How to Dress Well - Pour Cyril
Mar 25, 2015 • 14 min
In an interview with Belgian filmmakers the Dardenne brothers, talking about the kinds of stories they tell, Luc Dardenne says, “Human suffering; that interests us very much.” It also interests Tom Krell, a songwriter and producer who goes by the name…
White Hinterland - Ring the Bell
Mar 13, 2015 • 14 min
Casey Dienel is a producer, singer, and songwriter who goes by the name White Hinterland. In this episode, she’ll break down her song Ring the Bell. To make it, she had to break out of her comfort zone of working alone and reach to other people. She…
Warpaint - Love Is to Die
Mar 3, 2015 • 13 min
In 2013, Warpaint starting working on their sophomore album. They retreated away from their home in Los Angeles to the nearby desert oasis of Joshua Tree, California. There, they wrote the song “Love Is to Die,” and it was decided that it would be the…
Jeremy Zuckerman - The Legend of Korra
Feb 20, 2015 • 14 min
In 2005, Nickelodeon premiered an animated series called Avatar: The Last Airbender, about a young boy and his friends who have to keep peace and balance in the world. It combined fantasy and martial arts, and ran for four seasons, won an Emmy and a…
Alexandre Desplat - The Imitation Game
Feb 9, 2015 • 13 min
The Imitation Game is a biographical film about Alan Turing, a mathematician who pioneered computer science and helped the British government break Nazi codes, but was then later prosecuted by the British government for being gay. Composer Alexandre…
The Long Winters - The Commander Thinks Aloud
Jan 30, 2015 • 20 min
On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart while reentering the earth’s atmosphere. John Roderick, singer and songwriter of The Long Winters, wrote “The Commander Thinks Aloud” about that fateful moment. This episode was made from an…
Blonde Redhead - Penultimo
Jan 19, 2015 • 12 min
The band Blonde Redhead formed in 1993. Twenty-one years later, in 2014, the trio released their 9th album, and in this episode, they deconstruct Penultimo, a song from that record that caused some dissent between the band members. At the heart of the…
Ghostface Killah - The Battlefield
Jan 6, 2015 • 16 min
In November 2014, Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan released his 11th album, called 36 Seasons. A lot of people worked on it: soul band The Revelations served as a kind of house backing band for the whole thing. Lil’ Fame from M.O.P. and engineer…
The National - Sea of Love
Dec 22, 2014 • 17 min
The National formed in 1999. They’ve released six albums, and have been nominated for a grammy. Their music is everywhere from Game of Thrones, to Bob’s Burgers, to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. In 2013 they released their sixth album, Trouble…
Tycho - Awake
Dec 9, 2014 • 12 min
Tycho is the project of designer-turned-musician Scott Hansen, along with guitarist Zac Brown and drummer Rory O’Connor. For this episode, which was recorded in front of a live audience in San Francisco, Scott breaks down the title track from the…
Stars - No One Is Lost
Nov 26, 2014 • 12 min
Stars is a band from Toronto, who have been making music together since 2000. Their seventh album was released in October 2014. For this episode, I spoke to several members of the band: singer Amy Millan over the phone, and to Evan and Patty in their…
The Books - Smells Like Content
Nov 12, 2014 • 16 min
Before The Books broke up, they released four albums that combined composed music and found sounds. In this episode, Nick Zammuto explains how he crafted the song Smells Like Content, off of their 2005 album Lost and Safe, out of unlikely…
Julia Holter - Horns Surrounding Me
Oct 29, 2014 • 14 min
Julia Holter studied composition, and in the song Horns Surrounding Me, she arranges not only acoustic and electronic instruments, but also layers of ambient field recordings and background noise. The song was released in 2013 on her acclaimed album…
Valley Lodge - Go
Oct 15, 2014 • 14 min
Dave Hill is a comedian and host of his own podcast which, like Song Exploder, is on the Maximum Fun network. He’s also the frontman of the band Valley Lodge. In this episode, Dave will deconstruct the Valley Lodge song Go, which you might recognize…
RAC - Let Go (feat. Kele & MNDR)
Oct 1, 2014 • 15 min
Andre Allen Anjos is better known as RAC, a musician who first found success by remixing other people’s songs. His remixes for artists like Lana Del Rey have gotten millions of plays online. In 2013, RAC released Strangers, his first album of original…
The Thermals - No Culture Icons
Sep 18, 2014 • 14 min
The Thermals originally began as Hutch Harris’s solo recording project. He sang and played all the instruments on the 2003 Thermals record More Parts Per Million. In this episode, Hutch breaks down his lo-fi recording of the song No Culture…
Anamanaguchi - Prom Night
Sep 2, 2014 • 13 min
In addition to guitars, drums, and bass, the band Anamanaguchi makes their music with the 8-bit sounds that were built into Nintendo video game consoles made in the 1980s. They use software called a tracker to meticulously sequence and produce those…
Spoon - Inside Out
Aug 19, 2014 • 16 min
Spoon was formed in 1993 by singer Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. They’ve released eight albums, including their most recent record, They Want My Soul, which came out in August 2014. In this episode, Jim Eno breaks down the song Inside Out,…
Brian Reitzell - Watch Dogs
Aug 6, 2014 • 16 min
In May 2014, the video game company Ubisoft released Watch Dogs, about a vigilante hacker in Chicago in the near future. Here’s how the game is described on their website: “You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal…
Open Mike Eagle - Dark Comedy Morning Show (feat. Toy Light)
Jul 15, 2014 • 11 min
In this episode, rapper Open Mike Eagle talks about making the song Dark Comedy Morning Show, along with the track’s producer, Walker Ashby, aka Toy Light. Mike breaks down how Toy Light’s original instrumental version of this song inspired him, and…
The Microphones - I Want Wind to Blow
Jul 1, 2014 • 17 min
In the fall of 2001, Phil Elverum released the album The Glow Pt 2 on K Records. Pitchfork named it the best album of the year. In this episode, Phil recounts how he created the first song on the record at Dub Narcotic Studio. He spoke with me from…
Converge - Dark Horse
Jun 19, 2014 • 12 min
The band Converge formed in 1990, when its members were teenagers. They’ve been making music that lives somewhere in the intersection of punk, hardcore, and metal for almost 25 years. Guitarist Kurt Ballou spoke to me from his studio GodCity, which is…
Nite Jewel - One Second of Love
Jun 2, 2014 • 14 min
In this episode, we’ll get a deconstructed view of the song One Second of Love by Nite Jewel. I spoke to Ramona Gonzalez of Nite Jewel and her partner and producer Cole MGN in their home studio in Los Angeles as they took a break from making a new…
Garbage - Felt
May 15, 2014 • 19 min
The band Garbage formed in 1994 when three guys from Madison Wisconsin — Butch Vig, Steve Marker, and Duke Erikson, met Scottish singer Shirley Manson. Twenty years later, they’ve sold over 17 million records worldwide. In this episode, we’ll…
Poliça - Smug
May 1, 2014 • 13 min
Ryan Olson is a member of the band Polica. Though he doesn’t perform with them live, he put the band together, produces the songs, and co-writes them. I interviewed Ryan in his bedroom studio in Minneapolis. In this episode, he breaks down the song…
Loren Bouchard - Bob’s Burgers (Theme Song)
Apr 15, 2014 • 14 min
Loren Bouchard is the creator of the animated television comedy Bob’s Burgers, a series about a family and the restaurant they own and live above, currently in its fourth season on Fox. In addition to being the co-executive producer and showrunner,…
Jeff Beal - House of Cards (Main Title Theme)
Apr 1, 2014 • 15 min
Composer Jeff Beal deconstructs the main title theme music to the Netflix original series House of Cards. The show has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Original Main Title Theme and Outstanding Music Composition. The show…
Daedelus - Experience
Mar 17, 2014 • 12 min
Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, takes apart his song Experience. This early track of his is made with only acoustic sounds, but Alfred still considers it a piece of electronic music, and explains why. He also talks about the unexpected…
Sea Wolf - Kasper
Mar 1, 2014 • 12 min
Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf breaks down Kasper, a song from the album Old World Romance. He talks about his songwriting process, collaborating with his bandmates, and the evolution that comes with learning the difference between making something…
Baths - Miasma Sky
Feb 14, 2014 • 11 min
Will Wiesenfeld of Baths breaks down his song Miasma Sky, which came out last year on his highly-praised sophomore album Obsidian. Will talks about using the computer to intentionally destroy sounds, trying to find a balance in his music between…
YACHT - Plastic Soul
Feb 1, 2014 • 10 min
Claire and Jona of the band YACHT deconstruct their brand new single Plastic Soul, a fun pop song about human suffering. They explain how technology inspired them musically as well as lyrically, and how they recycle bits of their old recordings to…
The Album Leaf - The Outer Banks
Jan 15, 2014 • 16 min
Jimmy LaValle of The Album Leaf takes apart The Outer Banks, a song he recorded in Iceland with members of Sigur Ros accompanying him. He reveals how the melody of the song was made from a glockenspiel, violin, and Moog synthesizer; and he talks about…
The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Jan 1, 2014 • 11 min
Our first guest on Song Exploder is Jimmy Tamborello, aka Dntel, aka one half of The Postal Service (the other half being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie). Jimmy breaks down the song The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, and talks about his…