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Talkhouse Podcast

Talkhouse

59 episodes

Aug 26, 2021

beabadoobee with Nina Persson (The Cardigans) 

This week on the Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got one of those fun conversations where the reverence is on full display from the get-go. When we asked singer-songwriter Beabadoobee who she’d be interested in speaking with for the podcast, she immediately responded Nina Persson of The Cardigans—one of her heroes, as you’ll hear.For those unfamiliar with Beabadoobee, she was born in the Philippines, raised in London, and found fame over the past couple of years via social media platforms like TikTok. Canadian rapper Powfu built his song “Death Bed” around Bea’s song “Coffee,” giving her a huge hit with what was essentially the first song she ever wrote. She followed that with a string of really strong EPs, and then dropped her proper debut album, called Fake It Flowers, in October of last year. It’s a fantastic set of fuzzy pop songs that clearly found a ton of inspiration in the music of the 1990s—bands like The Sundays, Pavement, Belly, and even Daniel Johnston have bandied about in reviews. Beabadoobee is hitting the road this year with her fantastic labelmates Blackstar Kids; you can see all the tour dates down below.And maybe if you’re listening closely you’ll hear a little bit of the Cardigans in there as well, another band that found fame in those alternative-nation days. The Swedish band had a huge hit in 1996 with the song “Lovefool,” whose chorus was imprinted on a generation, and released a string of excellent albums right up through 2005, when they went into a sort of semi-retirement, emerging occasionally to play shows. At the front of the band was charming lead singer Persson, who went on to form a band called A Camp, as well as release a solo album. She’s also, admiringly, enjoying not being all that busy. She plays the occasional show but also teaches and does pottery. Sounds nice.Bea and Nina had a really lively cross-generational conversation: You can hear the admiration in Bea’s voice, and the real interest from Nina about how things are different as a twentysomething woman in the music business now versus when she was topping the charts. They also talk about social media, Nina’s favorite moments from the Cardigans catalog, red pandas, and gross hotel rooms with shag carpet, sperm, and toenails. Yuck. Enjoy.Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Nina and Bea for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platforms and social channels, and don’t forget to check out all the great written content at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time! 

Aug 19, 2021

Richard Marx with Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers) 

This week’s Talkhouse Podcast features a couple of names you almost certainly know, because each of these guys has had a pretty incredible career in music: Richard Marx and Jakob Dylan.Marx, of course, wrote and performed some of the most indelible pop hits of the late ’80s and early ’90s, including “Endless Summer Nights,” “Hold on to the Nights,” and the super smash “Right Here Waiting,” which comes up in this conversation. But even as the era of mullets and frosted jeans faded, Marx couldn’t be stopped—or rather Marx’s songs couldn’t be stopped. He’s continued releasing music over the years, and his influence can be felt deeply to this day: Just check out the audio and visual vibe of John Mayer’s latest album, which basically pays tribute.And it’s not just music: Marx recently released a funny, candid memoir called Stories To Tell, in which he details some of the incredible memories he’s made in the music business over the years. And that’s where Jakob Dylan enters the picture, as you’ll hear. Though the two didn’t know each other, Dylan went on Joe Rogan’s podcast to praise Marx’s book, and a friendship was born.Dylan is no slouch in the music department, either—you can’t be, with that family name. He’s been the main creative force behind the Wallflowers for the past 30 years, releasing seven Wallflowers albums, two solo sets, and criss-crossing the globe. The latest Wallflowers record, Exit Wounds, just came out, and its lyrics and vibe are reflective of the times we’re living in, which is to say it’s a bit harrowing but also incredibly catchy. A bunch of the songs feature Shelby Lynne on backing vocals as well, which is a great bonus.In this chat, the two songwriters talk about process, about how writing a book is different than writing a song, a special moment Marx recently dedicated to his ailing mother, and how Barbra Streisand has no regrets about not recording Marx’s biggest hit. Enjoy.Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Richard Marx and Jakob Dylan for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service as well as all your favorite social media services. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range.

Aug 12, 2021

Max Richter with Perfume Genius 

On this week's Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a great conversation between two guys who don’t necessarily have a ton in common musically, but who approach creativity in similar ways—and who happen to be great fans of each other’s work: Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius, and composer-performer-multi-hyphenate Max Richter.Hadreas, whom you’ve hopefully heard on the Talkhouse Podcast in the past, has been recording and performing under the name Perfume Genius since 2008, and he’s one of those artists whose music just inexplicably gets better with each passing day—even when you think it couldn’t. His records are this incredible combination of fearlessness and joy, whether he’s singing about dealing with homophobia or just making bodies move. The latest Perfume Genius record, which came out right as Covid was entering the world’s consciousness, bears the fantastic title Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. Perfume Genius will start playing shows again next month; check out perfumegenius.org for dates.As for Max Richter, it would take far more than this limited space allows just going over his resume. From contributing to a classic Future Sound of London album back in the ‘90s through his incredible score for HBO’s The Leftovers to a dozen other things, the musician/composer has an incredibly full plate. He composed an eight-hour minimalist classical piece called Sleep, which was performed for audiences that were provided with beds and encouraged to, y’know, fall asleep. (It’s now an app, too!) His latest release, just out last week, is called Exiles, and it features a lengthy new track that he composed for a ballet alongside some reimaginings of pieces he’s composed over the years.In this conversation, Richter and Hadreas talk about how making music is about articulating what can’t otherwise be articulated, where to start when you’re working on a soundtrack, and the joys of being influenced by other music. Enjoy.This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!

Aug 5, 2021

John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) with Maggie Smith 

This week’s episode of the Talkhouse Podcast began somewhere not particularly known for good or fruitful ideas: Twitter. That’s where the poet Maggie Smith dropped a funny notion, which songwriter John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats picked up and ran with.Smith, whose was in the process of splitting up with her husband, suggested a photo essay in which she’d take her old wedding dress on a tour of the country, Weekend at Bernie’s style, only the dead thing isn’t a guy—it’s her marriage. Never one to shy away from life’s darkest moments, Darnielle jokingly suggested—or at least it seemed like a joke—that there was a song in Smith’s idea, and he suggested calling it “Picture of My Dress.” And then, wouldn’t you know it, he went and wrote the song, releasing it on last year’s excellent album Getting Into Knives.It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Darnielle came up with the song: He’s so prolific that it makes the average person—meaning me—really jealous. The Mountain Goats released two studio albums and a live album in 2020, and another new album this year, called Dark In Here. He’s also an accomplished novelist and served as a judge for the 2020 National Book Awards.Speaking of writers, Maggie Smith had the unusual distinction of being a poet who broke through to the wider world with a poem called “Good Bones” back in 2016. Last year, she released the well received essay collection Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity and Change, and just last month released a poetry collection called Goldenrod. All are well worth your time, and Smith is on a sort of virtual book tour at the moment: You can check out the details on that at her site, maggiesmithpoet.com.In this conversation, Darnielle and Smith talk about the unusual nature of their kinda-sorta collaboration, a delightful thing she calls “the cake sound,” John’s failed attempt at writing a song about NASCAR, and much more. Enjoy.Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Maggie Smith and John Darnielle for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow us wherever you get your podcasts and/or your social media. This week’s episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!

Jul 29, 2021

Mike Mills (R.E.M.) with Jason Narducy (Superchunk, Bob Mould) 

Jason Narducy is a Chicago guy, but he spends a ton of his time—or at least he used to—on tour, playing bass for both Bob Mould and Superchunk. In early 2020, a local theatre mounted a production of a musical called Verboten, which was based on Jason’s life—specifically his time as a pre-teen in a punk band. As a grown-up, in addition to providing the low end for those other great folks, he fronts his own band, Split Single. Under that moniker, Narducy writes the songs and recruits incredible musicians to record and play with him. For the excellent new Split Single album, Amplificado, Narducy once again asked Superchunk’s Jon Wurster to play drums, and he summoned the bassist from a certain famous Athens, Georgia band to play as well.That’d be R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, who fleshes out the Split Single sound with his bass and backing vocals on Amplificado, which the trio recorded here in Chicago before the pandemic ground everything to a halt. Mills has kept himself busy since R.E.M. split up about ten years ago, playing with the Baseball Project and playing golf, as you’ll hear. (He’s earned it, right?) In this conversation, he also talks about a long-gestating solo album, a project that incorporates classical music, and his rescue pooch. In case you missed it, Mills’ R.E.M. bandmate Michael Stipe was on the Talkhouse Podcast just six weeks ago—we’re two for four!Elsewhere in this conversation, Mills and Narducy talk about the pandemic, of course, as well as hope for the future, passing the baton to the next generation, and the majesty of working with excellent drummers—specifically Jon Wurster and Bill Berry. Enjoy.This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan. The Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by The Range. Thanks for checking it out!

Jul 22, 2021

Chet Faker (Nick Murphy) with Soulwax 

Nick Murphy is best known for his downtempo electronic project Chet Faker, which is confusing because it also sounds like a guy’s name—but which released one of the best albums of 2014, Built On Glass. But as you’ll hear in this Talkhouse chat, Murphy put the Chet Faker name on a shelf at the height of its popularity in order to go in a more organic route under his own name. He subsequently released a pair of albums—including one initially through a meditation app, which is very 21st century and awesome. This year, he decided to bring the Chet Faker name and sound out of the attic, and he’s just released a killer new record called Hotel Surrender.



And that’s where the Belgian musicians/DJs Stephen and David Dewaele come in. The two are the principal players in a band called Soulwax, but they’ve made a massive second career as a DJ duo called 2 Many DJ’s. Back in the early aughts, 2 Many DJ’s reignited the mash-up trend with a classic mix called As Heard on Radio Soulwax Part 2. That’s right, they incorporate the name of their band right in with their other lives as DJs. They also recently opened a studio called DeeWee. Oh, and did I mention that they’re super in-demand, Grammy-nominated remixers as well? They are. And they remixed a song from the new Chet Faker album called “Whatever Tomorrow," which is what brought them together for this chat.



This intercontinental conversation—Murphy is Australian but lives in New York, the Dewaele brothers are from Belgium—gets into a lot of great stuff really quickly, including the confusing but smart way both acts can diversify, how Murphy initially found the whole idea of EDM distasteful, and a little something called “spacebar energy.” I won’t tell you what it is, but I’ll say that you probably want your songs to have it. 



Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast and thanks to Nick, Stephen, and David for chatting. Check out their various guises—you won’t be disappointed. This week’s episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and special thanks to Keenan Kush for stepping in to record it. The Talkhouse theme song is composed and performed by the Range.

Jul 8, 2021

Liz Phair with Zella Day 

Liz Phair crashed into the indie-rock world in a huge way in the early ‘90s with her instant classic album Exile In Guyville, and she was already the talk of the town—in this case Chicago—before she had even performed publicly. It was an auspicious start to a fascinating career that went from indie-world stardom to Lilith Fair to composing for films and TV to a consciously pop-leaning album to a fantastic memoir called Horror Stories. And it comes full circle, sort of, with her new album Soberish, which she created with the help of producer Brad Wood, with whom she worked on her early albums, including Exile



Zella Day took a very different path in her music life, starting out very young—at age 15—trying to write songs and make it in Nashville. That led to a revelation that she’d rather perform herself, and eventually a record deal and 2015’s pop-centric album Kicker. She played Coachella and other huge festivals, but wasn’t fully satisfied with where she was artistically, as you’ll hear in this chat. After relocating to L.A., she fell in with a slightly more serious crowd, included pals like Lana Del Rey and Weyes Blood, and her music shifted a bit. She’s currently working on an album with producer Jay Joyce, and recently released a song with Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood called “Holocene.”



Phair and Day hit it off right away in this conversation, diving right into a conversation about restarting their careers post-COVID—Phair’s dad is a retired infectious diseases expert, which gave her some unique insight—as well as the challenges of not giving too much of yourself during an album’s promotional cycle. They also tackle the meaning of the word “sober-ish,” which is pretty great. Enjoy.


Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Liz Phair and Zella Day for chatting. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!

Jul 1, 2021

Morgan Simpson of Black Midi with Bill Bruford (King Crimson, Yes) 

This week on the Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a special treat for the drummers and drum geeks out there: a conversation between Morgan Simpson of Black Midi and Bill Bruford of, as he says in their chat, about 101 bands. That number for Bruford isn’t too far from reality. Over a 40+ year career, he played with some incredible names in the world of progressive music, most notably Yes and King Crimson, but also his own projects, including Earthworks. He’s an astoundingly versatile and musical drummer, and we were delighted to hear that he’s still got his ear to the ground all these years later, as a fan of the relatively young band Black Midi.



You can hear it in Morgan Simpson’s voice that he’s both pleased and excited to make Bruford’s acquaintance as part of the podcast—and it’s actually the first episode we’ve recorded in quite some time where the participants are in the same room with each other! Simpson pays Bruford the ultimate drummer compliment when he says that he can recognize his playing within a couple of seconds, and Bruford isn’t shy about his love for Black Midi. He even compares them—rightfully so—to King Crimson.



Bruford himself actually retired from performing about 10 years ago, while Black Midi is just getting started. The band released their second album, Cavalcade, in May, and it’s a massively eclectic, fantastic collection of songs—a little more focused than their first, perhaps, but no less rangy and striking. They’ll hit the road for a huge tour this fall, kicking off with a slot at Pitchfork Fest in Chicago. Bruford and Simpson have a lot of fun, as you’ll hear, talking about other drummers—Phil Collins, Billy Cobham, etc—as well as the similarities in their own playing. If you’ve never realized that a snare drum could sound like you’re quote “being slapped around the head with a wet kipper,” then this conversation is for you. Enjoy.

 


Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks so much to Bill Bruford and Morgan Simpson for chatting. If you like what you heard, follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service, and all available social channels. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range.

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