Talkhouse is a media company and outlet for musicians, actors, filmmakers, and others in their respective fields. Artists write essays and criticism from firsthand perspectives, speak one-on-one with their peers via the Talkhouse Podcast and Talkhouse Live events, and offer readers and listeners unique insight into creative work of all genres and generations. In short— Talkhouse is writing and conversations about music and film, from the people who make them.
John Doe (X) with Shirley Manson (Garbage)
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a pair of guests who I can call legends without hesitation: Shirley Manson and John Doe.
Doe is a founding member of the insanely influential punk band X, which started life way back in 1977 Los Angeles. They were part of a scene that leaned into hardcore punk, but X set itself apart by sneaking elements of country and Americana into their blistering records and live sets. And the chemistry between Doe and his co-lead singer Exene Cervenka was legendary: In fact, it still is. Though the band has split a few times over the years, they’re still actively rocking all these years later, and in fact released a really great record in 2020, called Alphabetland—it was their first in about 20 years. Doe has also been an active solo artist as well, and he’s got a great new album coming out May 20, 2022: It’s called Fables in a Foreign Land, and it’s a concept record whose tales take place in the 1890s. It’s dark and folky, and includes some songwriting help from a bunch of amazing folks, including today’s other guest, Shirley Manson.
Manson of course is the singer and frontperson of Garbage, which she’s been a part of steadily since the early 1990s. Garbage was formed by producer Butch Vig—he of Nirvana’s Nevermind fame—and was a massive success right out of the gate, with hits like “Queer,” “Stupid Girl,” and “Only Happy When It Rains.” They even did one of the best James Bond themes in recent memory, “The World is Not Enough.” The band has released a steady stream of great records over the years, including last year’s No Gods No Masters. A bonus track from that album, “Destroying Angels,” was written with and features both John Doe and Exene Cervenka, and an entirely different version of it also appears on this great new John Doe record.
In this chat, Manson grills Doe on his intentions as a songwriter, and he asks her about Garbage’s process as well. Manson wants to know whether Doe considers himself a singer or songwriter first, and she refers to Butch Vig more than once in her charming Scottish accent as "Butchie." They also talk about the afterlife, and how playing new music for the people closest to you can be a little deflating. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Shirley Manson and John Doe for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcast platform and all social media channels. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
CORRECTION: May 12, 6:17 PM
Shirley claims via Twitter that she never referred to Vig as “Butchie,” and upon further review of the tapes, it seems I was misinterpreting a breath as another syllable. Apologies to Ms. Manson!
Mike Campbell with Margo Price
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a legendary guitarist and songwriter in conversation with one of our favorite repeat guests: Mike Campbell and Margo Price.
Campbell is best known as Tom Petty’s right-hand man, a position he proudly held for five decades until Petty’s untimely death in 2017. Together they wrote some of the Heartbreakers’ best known songs, including “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” and “You Got Lucky.” Campbell also produced a bunch of Petty solo and Heartbreakers songs, and has contributed his playing and writing skills to lots of other artists, too. I was surprised to learn just recently that Campbell co-wrote Don Henley’s massive “Boys of Summer,” too. Who knew? But even before the end of the Heartbreakers’ run, Campbell would spend time with his side band, the Dirty Knobs, where he not only plays guitar but also sings and writes the lyrics. The band recently released their second studio album, External Combustion, which is where today’s other guest comes in.
Margo Price is a firecracker of a singer and songwriter who doesn’t exactly fit neatly into the world of country—which is perhaps why she’s been so embraced by folks outside of that world. Jack White’s Third Man Records released Price’s first two albums, including her killer debut from 2016, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, and though she lives in Nashville, her sound is more old-school country than new. Her last album is 2020’s That’s How Rumors Get Started, though as you’ll hear in this chat, she’s been working on both new music and an upcoming memoir. She pulls no punches, so both should be great. Oh, and she found some time to help out with some vocals on The Dirty Knobs’ latest, specifically on a song called “State of Mind.” As a longtime fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, she was excited as hell to work with Campbell, and the feeling was mutual. Check out “State of Mind” here.
Classic sounding, right? In this chat, Campbell and Price talk about getting back on the road after so long away. They talk about songwriting with other people: Price thinks it can be more personal than sleeping with someone. Campbell gets Price excited by revealing that he’s being joined on some dates by old-school Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch. And the two make plans to meet up on the road, specifically when they’re both opening huge amphitheaters for Chris Stapleton in June. Enjoy!
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Margo Price and Mike Campbell for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platforms and social media channels. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
Melody Prochet (Melody's Echo Chamber) with Lila Ramani (Crumb)
On this week's Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got two leading lights of modern psychedelic indie-rock, Melody Prochet and Lila Ramani.
Prochet is the creative force behind Melody’s Echo Chamber, whose evocative name is taken from a dream she once had. Her debut album under the name, which Prochet recorded with help from Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, was released in 2012. She has since released two more full-lengths while bouncing around the planet and raising children. The new one, Emotional Eternal, was partly inspired by Prochet’s move from Paris to the idyllic quiet of the Swiss Alps. It features assists from members of the Swedish band Dungen, though it’s more spare and stripped down than that might suggest—and more spare than her past work, too. There are bits of psych in there, along with echoes of bands like Stereolab.
Lila Ramani of the New York band Crumb shares some of those influences, and Melody Prochet’s music influenced what Ramani wanted to do in her band, too. Crumb got going while its members were still in college in 2016, but really picked up speed with their debut full length, Jinx, which came out in 2019. Crumb released a second album, Ice Melt, in 2021, further incorporating jazzy rhythms into their psychedelic stew.
In this conversation, the mutual admirers talk about their personal lives, including Prochet’s side gig as an art therapist as well as Ramani’s childhood growing up near the Gowanus Canal. They chat about Coachella, “grinding vs floating,” and Prochet’s favorite American city—which will almost certainly surprise you. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Melody Prochet and Lila Ramani for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to Talkhouse on your favorite platform, and tell your friends that we’re the best. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
View the full transcript of this podcast here.
Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) with Eno Williams (Ibibio Sound Machine)
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a lovefest between two musicians who came together to create one of the year’s most electrifying records: Eno Williams of Ibibio Sound Machine and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip.
Ibibio Sound Machine has been mashing up sounds for just under a decade now, blending elements of Afrobeat and electronic music into a fierce combination that inspires dancing, chanting, and sweating—at least when they’re allowed to hit the road. Williams is a force of nature on their newest album, Electricity. She was born in London but grew up in Nigeria—specifically the Ibibio region—and was exposed to those incredible regional sounds before moving back to London for school and steeping herself in the electronic music happening there. Electricity captures her vision pretty perfectly, thanks at least in part to today’s other guest, Joe Goddard of Hot Chip.
As you’ll hear in this chat, Goddard was a fan of Ibibio Sound Machine, having seen one of their incredible live performances at a festival, and the feeling was mutual. Goddard and his Hot Chip collaborators came in to produce Electricity, which was the first time Ibibio had used an outside producer. You can hear the Hot Chip fingerprints all over the record; it’s an amazing collaboration that both sides are clearly very happy with, as evidenced by this chat. And just moments ago—for me, anyway, it will be later for you—Hot Chip announced a brand new album as well. Freakout/Release will be out in August, and Hot Chip will play the second weekend of Coachella this Saturday.
In this podcast, Goddard and Williams get deep into musical influences, including Nigerian electronic music pioneer Wiliam Onyeabor, Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, and more. They also talk about how sometimes the audience doesn’t know you’re having a bad show, and about the “super synth power” they found while working together. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Eno Williams and Joe Goddard for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
View the full transcript of this podcast here.
Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker) with J. Robbins (Jawbox)
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got two veterans of ‘90s rock who went on to form bands that referenced air travel in their name and whose biggest bands both start with Jaw: Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker and J. Robbins of Jawbox. Sorry if that was confusing, I’ll clear it up for you.
Blake Schwarzenbach was and is the singer and guitarist of the band Jawbreaker, which had its initial run from 1986 until 1996, at which time they acrimoniously splintered after longtime fans turned their backs on 1995’s Dear You, mostly because these dogmatic listeners were mad that the band had signed to a major label. These things were a big deal then, which seems kind of quaint now. History was incredibly kind to both Jawbreaker and Dear You, so much so that in 2017 they reformed to headline Chicago’s massive Riot Fest, and they’ve been playing together on and off ever since. In the intervening years, Schwarzenbach also played in other great bands, most notably Jets to Brazil, which is what I was referencing earlier. Jawbreaker is on tour now, and they’re bringing along some of their favorite bands to open, which brings us to…
Jawbox, which followed a sorta similar trajectory to Jawbreaker. They came together in the late ‘80s, released a couple of incredible albums for a respected independent label, and then moved into the big leagues, with all the baggage and joy that might bring. Jawbox split in 1997, and Robbins went on to form Burning Airlines—are you seeing a pattern here?—but Jawbox reconvened in 2019. Those two bands certainly aren’t the beginning and end of Robbins’ amazing contributions to the world of music, though: Prior to Jawbox he was in Government Issue—you’ll hear them referred to as GI in this chat—he’s served as producer for a number of bands over the years, including Jets to Brazil, the Promise Ring, the Dismemberment Plan, Against Me, and other bands that make my 1990s heart sing. I hope you’ll notice I haven’t said emo once yet.
In this conversation, J. and Blake talk about what it feels like to play shows together again after all these years—and all this pandemic. Blake compliments J. on his psychedelic guitar playing, and J. isn’t sure what to make of that. And we learn—I think for the first time—that Jawbox briefly considered calling themselves Jawbreaker, before J. discovered Jawbreaker’s first single at a record store and crossed it off his list. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to J. Robbins and Blake Schwarzenbach for chatting. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range.
Sondre Lerche with AURORA
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a pair of Norwegian friends who both have excellent new records out this year: Sondre Lerche and AURORA.
Lerche started writing gorgeous pop songs while he was still a teen in the suburbs of Bergen, Norway. It wasn’t too long before his music started finding its way out into the world, and he’s released a bunch of albums since the early 2000s. Though clearly starting from a pop background—his songs are incredibly catchy—Lerche has nimbly moved through various permutations over the years, flirting with jazzy sounds, more intimate acoustic numbers, touches of Brazilian sounds, and the occasional out-and-out new wavey rock. Not long before the pandemic, Lerche recorded Patience, which he intended to tour behind, but instead he ended up moving back to Norway from Los Angeles and recording another excellent album, called Avatars of Love. For this one, his tenth, Lerche recruited a bunch of friends to help out, including another Norwegian star from a younger generation, AURORA. Here’s a bit of the sensual duet they performed together for the album, it’s called “Alone in the Night.”
As you can hear, AURORA has a kind of otherworldly quality to her voice, though on her own records it’s more often set against a more electronic backdrop: You may have heard her killer single “Cure for Me,” which came out last year and appears on her latest album, which came out earlier this year. It’s called The Gods We Can Touch, and she’s once again—like Lerche—supremely interested in lyrics, this time around going heavy on love and relationships.
You’ll hear the two of them chat about the importance of love in this podcast, as well as their native Norway, earlobe hair, and more. One minute they’re deep into how music can help us overcome grief, and the next they’re talking about how religion and music are both like penises, in that they are beautiful and lovely, but you shouldn’t shove any of them in someone’s face. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to AURORA and Sondre Lerche for letting us listen in on their fun. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
NO more intros PLEASE
I love the concept of the podcast & the 5 episodes I’ve listened to were great for the most part.
My only complaint is the super long intros. I don’t need the breakdown of topics or the guests bio. Maybe I’m in the minority but I mostly listen to the artist I’m familiar with. Can you please post some sort of time code marker so I can skip the intros? Or keep the intros to 1-2 minutes? They seem to ramble on & on & on & on...
I just discovered this series and holy crap. The drum geek in me of course was tickled with the Black Midi / Bruford episode but then I started queueing up episodes and it got out of hand. I can’t wait to listen and keep listening. Great stuff.