interview by: Emilia McManus
In the mood for a slightly gentler kind of show in the midst of all the hard electronica that seems to be ruling this weekend? Well, DNTEL and The One AM Radio are landing @ Red Palace on Friday to play some perfect-for-summer, openhearted electro-pop for all of you. We caught up with The One AM Radio’s front man Hrishikesh Hirway to talk about cereal, their new record “Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread’’ (out now on Dangerbird) and a couple of things in between. ENJOY:
What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
My head says Kashi Go Lean Crunch, but my heart says Lucky Charms.
What made you choose the name The One AM Radio? For some reason it feels very fitting.
The first recordings that I made (that I ever shared with anyone) were a couple of instrumentals. Really quiet, guitar-based lullabies, with bits of indecipherable, staticky snippets of AM talk radio that would drift in and out. I gave them to some friends and my sister as cassettes to fall asleep to, and I called that tape “the one am radio.” I liked the way ‘one am’ and ‘am radio’ intersected. I always associate AM radio with falling asleep because that’s what my father would listen to at night in the car, when we’d go pick up my mom from her night job. When I started playing shows, I didn’t want to play under my own name, so I just re-used the name I’d picked for the cassette label.
You recently decided on a permanent lineup for the band, rather than rotating musicians. How has that effected the dynamic of the group? Are you the main song and melody-writer still, or is there more collaboration? What’s your song-writing process like? Do you come up with the lyrics first and then set them to music, or vice versa?
I’m still the main songwriter, but there is more collaboration. I rely on my bandmates’ taste and sensibilities to help me shape the arrangements. Fontaine has written lyrics that I’ve later put music to, and Scott has written parts for guitar and electric bass.
Your songs have great lyrics– what tends to inspire you? Do you draw a lot from personal experiences in your songwriting?
They’re not always autobiographical. The lyrics that I like the most with tend to be the ones that are the most directly drawn from my own life, although it’s still hard for me to let some of that stuff out. I get a lot of inspiration from movies; they affect me a lot. Also, the weather around me.
What was your best touring experience? Do you have particularly fond memories of any particular concert you’ve played?
The tour I’m on right now (The Soft Alarm Tour with Dntel and Geotic) has probably been my favorite tour so far. The shows have been great, and in addition to doing our One AM Radio set, I’ve been singing with Dntel, too, which is a dream come true.
Who would you cite as your greatest musical inspirations?
I could make a really long list, but the first ten I can think of are Dntel, Nick Drake, Portishead, the Microphones, Björk, Yo La Tengo, the Magnetic Fields, Mark Kozelek, Aphex Twin, and the Radio Dept.
On that note, if you could pick anybody, living or dead, to work with, who would it be?
I wouldn’t even have to work *with* them; I would love to be in the room while Portishead makes recordings. The first Portishead record got me obsessed with production. It made me start paying attention to all the details of how a recording sounded.
Do you have any specific idea of where you’d like to go in the future with the band’s sound?
Not specifically, although I’ve wanted to go back to the idea of that cassette, and do a record of just lullabies again.
Thanks for your time!