Episode 45: Thundercat

“Them Changes”

SongExploder45

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 breaks down his song “Them Changes.” Thundercat co-produced the track with his long-time collaborator Flying Lotus, with Kamasi Washington on saxophone.

Buy “Them Changes” on iTunes.

footnotes
The Isley Brothers – Footsteps in the Dark
Ice Cube – It Was a Good Day
Moogerfooger Envelope Filter

sponsors
This episode is sponsored by Hover (use the offer code THUNDERCAT for 10% off), Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Simple.

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Episode 44: Death Cab for Cutie

“El Dorado”

SongExploder44

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 episode, Ben talks about the metaphor of the city of El Dorado and how it fit the story he wanted to tell, about separation, unrealized dreams, and Culver City. Plus, he explains how a few pieces of equipment — a Fender Mustang, a Rhythm Master drum machine, and the VoiceLive unit — ended up shaping the creative process.

Buy “El Dorado” on iTunes.

footnotes
The clip of Kimbra using the VoiceLive effects unit is from a live performance of “Settle Down.” Watch the video here.

sponsors
This episode is sponsored by Hover (use the offer code CUTIE for 10% off), Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Frank & Oak. Read an interview I did with Frank & Oak on their blog.

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Episode 43: Sylvan Esso

“Coffee”

SongExploder43

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 turned out. They emailed song ideas back and forth for a while, until they found a time to be in the same place. It was at that point that they first started working on the song, “Coffee.”

In this episode, Nick and Amelia talk about the origins of the sounds and lyrics within the song, from a Little Tikes xylophone to “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Buy “Coffee” on iTunes.

footnotes, etc
Mountain Man – “Play It Right”
Nick’s remix of that Mountain Man song became:
Sylvan Esso – “Play It Right”
Tommy James and the Shondells – “Hanky Panky”

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