Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
I'm not hyperpop with Mallrat, Ninajirachi, Daine and Donatachi
Young Australians Mallrat, Ninajirachi, Daine and Donatachi look into the epicentre of the media term ‘hyperpop’. It’s bubble-gum sweet, with chaotic synth sounds mixed with pop and autotuned vocals, and the volume turned up to 11. Together, they discuss feeling old in the hyperpop genre (they’re all in their teens, or early 20s), not having any musical training, why face-to-face sessions are tough, how Daine’s autism feeds into her music, and how they feel when their music gets put in a playlist called Chill BBQ Music.
Ninajirachi is a songwriter, producer and DJ who’s been tagged as “one of Australia’s first notable hyperpop artists”. She got into music production after hearing the ‘hyperkinetic’ pop producer Sophie. Earlier this year, she released the True North EP with musical prodigy Kota Banks. Donatachi is a musician from Brisbane, described as one of “Australia’s best-known Hyperpop producers”. Their 2019 underground hit Crush on U, in collaboration with Slayyyter, is credited as being the song that set the hyperpop scene in motion. Daine is a Filipino-Australian producer from Melbourne, whose latest track, boy wanna txt, is produced by former Music Life guests 100 Gecs. And hosting the show is Mallrat, from Brisbane. She makes dreamy electronic pop and was recently named as one of the “100 Women Revolutionising Pop”. Mark Ronson is also a fan.
Limitless technology with Tom Furse, Caroline Shaw, Holly Herndon, Arushi Jain and Mat Dryhurst
Tom Furse, Caroline Shaw, Holly Herndon, Arushi Jain and Mat Dryhurst discuss why using computers makes their music feel more human, using the sound of plant pots, and how new technology will be viewed as old fashioned and retro in a few years.
Tom Furse is the keyboard player with British rock band the Horrors, and is also a producer, remix artist, and “maker of music”. He’s talking to Arushi Jain, a composer, pianist, synthesist, and singer from New York who grew up in Delhi. She blends her computer science and engineering studies with her musician influences, including Indian classical. Holly Herndon is an American experimental composer based in Berlin, and her husband, Mat Dryhurst, is a philosopher and digital artist. And Caroline Shaw is a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and violinist based in New York. She’s written film scores and worked with rappers Kanye West and Nas, and her latest album brings together influences as wide ranging as Abba and author James Joyce.
Singing is cool again with Sinead Harnett, Grades, Jae Stephens and Monro
Sinead Harnett, Grades, Jae Stephens and Monro discuss why naming songs is the easy part, balancing life and music, the importance of breaking away from music in order to live and gain experiences to write about, and the influence of R&B on their sound.
Born in the UK before moving to Los Angeles, Sinead Harnett's latest record, Ready Is Always Too Late, is about “[embodying] the best version of yourself”. She’s worked with musical heavyweights such as Disclosure, Rudimental, EARTHGANG and Lucky Daye, as well as former Music Life guests Masego and MNEK.
Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and DJ Grades has worked with and remixed artists including Labrinth, Bastille, Becky Hill, Nile Rodgers, Dua Lipa, and Nao. Jae Stephens is an artist, songwriter, producer, and singer originally from Dallas, now based in Los Angeles. She started singing at the age of 12, recently performed with Khalid, and is very much an artist to keep your ears on. And Monro is a Grammy nominated producer, songwriter, and artist. He’s written and produced for the likes of Jhene Aiko, Rico Nasty, and our host today, Sinead Harnett.
Notting Hill Carnival with General Levy, Lady Banton, Mikey Dread and Alicai Harley
As the world famous Notting Hill Carnival isn’t taking place this year, we thought we’d have a party of our own, Caribbean style.
Ragga artist and MC General Levy leads the charge. His parents were Trinidadian, and from an early age he started to write lyrics and form sound systems. If you don’t recognise the name, then you’ll definitely know the voice; Incredible, his ’94 track with M-Beat, changed the changed the sound of jungle and drum & bass forever.
Joining him is carnival royalty, the selector Lady Banton. She set up the first all-female soundsystem in the UK, the Mellotone Sound System, in 1989, and became a Carnival favourite soon after.
Mikey Dread is a founding member and chief selector of one of the UK’s best known and most loved sound systems, the Channel One Soundsystem, who have played at the Carnival every year since 1983. Named after the famous studio in Kingston, Jamaica, they bring the reggae, the dubplates, and the “hot steppas”.
And finally, breathing new life into the festival is Alicai Harley. Born in Jamaica, she caused a stir releasing a string of singles and EPs, before working with the likes of Stefflon Don, Kamille, Stonebwoy, Aluna, and Kojo Funds. She released her debut album The Red Room Intro earlier this year and is the self-proclaimed “yard gyal inna Britain”.
Together the group discuss all things Carnival: the cost of those costumes, when and how they got started, why you need the rain to cool you down, you parents not letting you go, and the importance of talent over hype.
The importance of space with Cassandra Jenkins, Arooj Aftab and Charlotte Dos Santos
Cassandra Jenkins, Arooj Aftab and Charlotte Dos Santos discuss being inspired by physical spaces that no longer exist, the emotional aspects of releasing music, why you never really complete a piece of work, and why handing music into your label is a bit like running for a flight.
Cassandra Jenkins is an indie-folk musician and songwriter from New York. She’s always been surrounded by music, growing up with musical parents, and her latest album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature was released earlier this year, produced by Josh Kaufman (The National, Taylor Swift).
Charlotte Dos Santos is a Brazilian-Norwegian singer and composer who creates hypnotizing neo-soul sounds. Blending her love of flamenco, samba, and bossa nova with jazz, folk and soul, the Berklee-trained musician explores themes of femininity, power, nature, and personal growth.
And Arooj Aftab is an enigmatic Pakistani composer, based in New York City, who is reimagining traditional South Asian music and poetry. She moved to the US to also study at Berklee, where she began experimenting with jazz and electronic sounds.
School first, music second with Vagabon and Vieux Farka Touré
Vagabon, Vieux Farka Touré, Mary Lattimore and Mereba discuss the impact family can have on musical journeys, the perks and perils of collaborating with other musicians, and how cultural origins can mean that a musical life is looked down upon.
This week’s host is Laetitia Tamko, better known as Vagabon. Born in Cameroon and growing up in New York City, Vagabon’s music fuses pop, indie and punk. Her debut album Infinite Worlds was released in 2017, taking influence from a huge span of genres, everything from post-punk to dream pop. She performs in both English and French, and recently released a track with Courtney Barnett.
She’s joined by Ethiopian-American singer, songwriter and producer Mereba. She released her debut record The Jungle is the Only Way Out in 2019, and has since collaborated with 6lack, J.I.D and other breakout artists from America’s exciting hip-hop and R&B scenes. Vieux Farka Touré is the son of legendary Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré, and has carved out his own legacy as a musician, taking influence from West African rhythms, blues, and rock. Finally, Mary Lattimore is a harpist from Los Angeles who has played alongside Thurston Moore, Jarvis Cocker, and Kurt Vile. Her music takes simple components, often just a harp and loop pedal, and creates vast, experimental soundscapes.
Please Fix the Titles
This is an amazing podcast, but you are making a big mistake in how you title the episodes. ALL four of the artists need to be included in the title of each episode. Right now there is no rhyme or reason as to why you exclude certain artists. It doesn’t even seem to be based on popularity. For example the latest episode is titled to emphasize two artists, Jehnny Beth and Kelly Lee Owens, while excluding two artists who are about equally well known (maybe even better known here across the pond) Tei Shi and Jessy Lanza. No disrespect to Jehnny Beth and Kelly Lee Owens, but I wouldn’t seek out a podcast just about these two, because I don’t particularly listen to them, but I am a HUGE stan of both Tei Shi and Jessy Lanza, yet I almost missed this episode because I had to click to the description to see any mention that it included my favorite artists.