Couch Wisdom is a weekly podcast presenting the best of Red Bull Music Academy’s lecture archive. Questlove has called these in-depth interviews ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ for music, and who are we to disagree with Questlove? With personal stories and creative insights from Björk to The Black Madonna, Young Thug engineer Alex Tumay to Moodymann, there’s something for every music fan. Red Bull Music Academy is a world-traveling series of festivals and workshops est. in 1998.
Hip-hop original Madlib
Whether he’s working with artists like Freddie Gibbs, MF Doom or Erykah Badu, collaborating with the late J Dilla, or working under one of his own aliases, like the drugged out party creature Quasimoto, Madlib has carved out his own idiosyncratic corner in the massive hip-hop universe. Luckily, we were able to coax him out of his studio for this episode of Couch Wisdom, in which he discusses Prince, the death of his Quasimoto alter-ego, collaborating with Kanye West and his love of industrial music.
Can's Damo Suzuki
Damo Suzuki left Japan in his late teens and busked around Europe, attracting the attention of Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit of the band Can. Suzuki became their lead vocalist from 1970 to 1973, writing and singing on the band’s most enduring albums. In 1983, he returned to music-making to front Damo Suzuki’s Network, traveling the world to improvise and record with local bands. Here, he discusses his philosophy on “instant composing,” spirituality in making music and more.
Transcendent pop star Robyn
Robyn’s career reads like a film script: Swedish star tops of the charts, sidesteps pop for a more personal sound, ends up self-sufficient and even bigger than before. This second chapter has included five Grammy nominations, appearances on Saturday Night Live, iconic music videos and mentorship of young women. Here, Robyn discusses key moments from the past 20 years, why she always thinks of Prince to keep in shape and the experiences that inform her long-awaited new album, with Adam “Kindness” Bainb
Essential French DJ Laurent Garnier
One of the forefathers of French electronic music, Laurent Garnier had an older brother who would sneak him into nightclubs. He caught the disco bug and moved to Manchester, falling under the spell of house music at the famed Haçienda nightclub. It was there that Garnier began to DJ in earnest, eventually leading to a well-earned reputation for eclectic, marathon sets. Here, Garnier discussed everything from approaching techno like a jazz musician to the role of radio in his early musical discoveries.
Pan Daijing: Sound, Performance, Emotion
The Chinese experimental artist Pan Daijing's attention to granular detail makes for a deeply absorbing listening experience. Since being an RBMA participant in Montréal in 2016, she's released her acclaimed debut album, Lack, on Berlin label PAN. Other releases include an EP on Dubai’s Bedouin Records and a collaborative 7" with Austrian musician-composer Werner Dafeldecker. Here, she discusses her inspirations, the relationship between sound and emotion, and her approach to composition.
Detroit techno originator Kevin Saunderson
While Juan Atkins and Derrick May are known as the originator and innovator of Detroit techno, respectively, Kevin Saunderson is known as the elevator for bringing it to the mainstream. In the late ’80s, his group Inner City topped UK charts with singles like “Big Fun” and “Good Life.” In addition to his 30+ years as a solo artist, he also runs the venerable KMS label. Here, Saunderson explores the history of techno, his mainstream success and creating the first ever dance remix.
The interview of Kevin Saunderson was amazing! Thank you. I wish I knew more about the interviewer—they asked great questions and moved the discussion.
Great show, but needs better editing
Please stop playing that loop of the guy apologizing and saying “Yep, I’m bummed too.” It’s pretentious and obviously you’re not bummed, so just edit the applause and even talk concerning the music clips we are NOT going to hear, and just place a disclaimer at the start of each podcast that is genuine and straightforward.
Good subjects, good Q-and-A, but ...
... it would be cool if we could hear music. Not hearing their work takes away from the interviews with artists I’m unfamiliar with.