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​Song Exploder, Exploded

What makes a song a song?
April 1, 2016, 3:14pm
Hrishikesh Hirway interviews Chvrches at a live taping of Song Exploder at South By Southwest. Photo by Meghan Neal

Ever notice that the piano part from "Dancing Queen" is tucked into the end of MGMT's song "No Time To Pretend"? Or that The Album Leaf kept the squeaking of an old piano pedal in the final recording of their song "The Outer Banks?"

These are just a taste of the sonic details most listeners would miss before they're revealed by Song Exploder, a podcast that has musicians like Bjork, Wilco, Ghostface Killah, and Iggy Pop peel back the layers of their songs and talk about how they're made—and the topic of this week's episode of Radio Motherboard.


Radio Motherboard is also available on iTunes and all podcasting apps.

The premise of Song Exploder is obviously appealing to aspiring musicians or fans of the artist, but what's really interesting about the show is compelling if you don't know anything about music or haven't even heard of the bands.

By stripping away anything but the isolated sounds, it's bringing awareness to our sense of hearing, which is often overshadowed by the visual world. It basically opens up your ears, and the end result is you hear music in a richer, more enjoyable way, which is pretty awesome if you think about it.

Radio Motherboard caught up with Hrishikesh Hirway, the host and creator of Song Exploder, after a live taping of the show featuring the band Chvrches at South By Southwest, to find out whether he thought that, in a way, the show is teaching people how to listen.

Hear more: Listen to the composer of The X Files discuss the show's iconic theme song on a Song Exploder-ish episode of Radio Motherboard