Couch Wisdom

Couch Wisdom

By Red Bull

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.
24/06/1939m 1s

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.
17/06/191h 4m

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
10/06/191h 12m

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.
03/06/191h 3m

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.
27/05/191h 1m

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.
20/05/1958m 7s

Sound engineer Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers dropped out of high school to teach herself sound engineering. By 25, she worked for Crosby, Stills and Nash at their Rudy Records studio. Rogers spent five years working for Prince, a relationship that would change her life. She now holds a doctorate in psychology from McGill and is Associate Professor and Director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory. Here, Rogers discussed the intricacies of listening, becoming a producer and her memories of working with Prince.
13/05/191h 52m

Funktion-One's Tony Andrews

Tony Andrews has been building PAs for decades. Today, the soundsystems made by his company Funktion-One are preferred by the world’s best clubs. Their speakers are more iconic than you might expect something so technical to be – a testament to Andrews’ uncompromising vision for how to achieve great sound. Here, Andrews discussed the curse of line arrays, how to prevent what he calls the chainsaw effect, and why listening to music through our phones and other portable devices has ruined our ears.
06/05/1945m 22s

Cellist Larry Gold: From MFSB to "The Boy Is Mine"

Philadelphia native Larry Gold has worked on countless hits over the past four decades. He was a member of MFSB, helping shape “The Sound of Philadelphia" via classic recordings on Philadelphia International. By the late ’90s, Gold was the go-to string arranger of the modern R&B and hip-hop era, working with the likes Brandy & Monica, the Roots, Erykah Badu and Kanye West. Here, Gold discusses learning and making music in Philadelphia, creating emotional depth with string arrangements and more.
29/04/1954m 17s

Rap mainstay No I.D.

A pivotal figure in the ’90s Chicago rap scene, producer No I.D. is responsible for the bulk of Common’s early output. He went on to manage a young Kanye West and work with Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z. He's been one of the top A&R men at Def Jam and worked as the executive vice president at Capitol Music Group. And he remains a great producer, shaping the sound of albums by Vince Staples and Vic Mensa. Here, No I.D. discusses why humility and focus are key to success, and much more.
22/04/191h 28m

Sun Ra Arkestra's Marshall Allen

Marshall Allen is the third man to helm the Sun Ra Arkestra. The alto saxophonist joined the group in 1958 and led its reed section for over 40 years. For this episode, Allen was joined by Danny Ray Thompson, a bassoon player and saxophonist who joined the Arkestra in the mid-’60s, managed Sun Ra for 10 years and handled production of the El Saturn recordings. Together, the pair recall their career with one of music's greatest visionaries, from the rehearsals to his humor and philosophies.
15/04/191h 14m

Club and pop music polymath Jam City

The roster for UK electronic label Night Slugs is stacked with talent, so it’s no small praise to say that British producer, songwriter and DJ Jack Latham, AKA Jam City, is one of the label’s most prominent artists. Though he's lauded for his dynamic solo work, Latham displays even greater versatility in his collaborative projects, like Kelela’s electro-R&B album Take Me Apart. Here, Latham discussed getting his club music education in London, the power of minimalism and the psychology of pop producti
08/04/1946m 42s

Singular rapper Pusha T

Born in the Bronx and raised in Virginia Beach, Terrence LeVarr Thornton, AKA Pusha T, is one of the most influential rappers alive. He and his brother No Malice formed rap duo Clipse, whose Neptunes-produced albums are accepted masterworks of street rap. After the brothers parted ways, Thornton signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, where he's released three studio albums, including 2018's Kanye-produced Daytona. Here, Pusha T discusses rap’s competitive spirit, making Daytona and much more.
01/04/191h 19m

Definitive American composer Philip Glass

Philip Glass' compositions transformed the world of classical music and, eventually, popular music in general. Time spent in Paris set Glass on a course toward the repetitive, dramatic and conceptually rigorous style that has become his trademark. He's behind compositions like Music In Twelve Parts and Einstein On The Beach, and became a popular sensation, a serious composer who wasn’t willfully obscure or too difficult to understand. Here, Glass discussed musical tradition and the art of performance.
25/03/1953m 21s

Teki Latex on his musical evolution

Teki Latex is a progressive presence in the French electronic music scene. He got his start as a founding MC in Parisian hip-hop act TTC, along with collaborators including DJ Orgasmic and Para One. He co-founded the influential Institubes label, then continued pushing his genreless vision via Sound Pellegrino. He’s also the selector for the Paris arm of vogue legends House of Ninja. Here, Teki Latex shares his vision for the future of club music and retraced the evolution of his musical tastes and work.
18/03/1938m 27s

House music legends Masters At Work

"Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez have spent more than 20 years shepherding dance music down new paths. With remixes being their specialty, their treatment has been given to artists from Madonna, Debbie Gibson and Lisa Stansfield, to Saint Etienne, Michael Jackson, Brand New Heavies and about 800 other artists. They defiantly mix house, hip-hop, funk, disco, Latin, African and jazz into a universal groove. Here, the dancefloor dons discuss their famed remixes and their work as Nuyorican Soul.
11/03/1953m 44s

Mixpak's Dre Skull

Raised on the East Coast underground freak-punk scene, Dre Skull perceives urban music culture as a holistic affair. After lacing beats for heavy hitters such as Beenie Man, Popcaan and Pusha T, the mighty Major Lazer asked Dre Skull to co-produce Snoop Dogg’s reggae-fied reincarnation as Snoop Lion. In this episode of Couch Wisdom recorded at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York, the vybz master talked about how he became one of Jamaica’s most in-demand beatmakers.
04/03/1945m 13s

Ben UFO on joining the dots as a DJ

London’s Ben UFO started out on pirate radio station Sub FM in 2007, playing alongside friends, producers and DJs Pangaea and Pearson Sound. After being sent new music every week, the trio started the Hessle Audio label, through which they joined the dots of the UK underground between house, techno, jungle and drum & bass. Ben has graduated to flagship London radio station Rinse FM and a near-constant touring schedule. Here, he touched on the label’s early days and making the weird accessible.
25/02/1947m 17s

Pop radical Planningtorock

For Jam Rostron, the multimedia artist who performs as Planningtorock, subversion – in gender, sexuality and politics – has driven their creativity for almost two decades. After the melodramatic pop of their debut album and 2013’s anthem “Patriarchy (Over & Out)” – not to mention writing an opera about Charles Darwin with the Knife – Rostron’s ambitions only grew bolder on their 2018 album Powerhouse. Here, Rostron discusses growing up through music and art, the commodification of queer iden
18/02/1947m 7s

Piano adventurer Chilly Gonzales

Pianist, composer and entertainer Chilly Gonzales is no ordinary musician. Originally from Canada, he scored a Grammy for his contribution to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and seamlessly switches from working with Boys Noize to Feist to Drake, to his education endeavor the Gonzervatory. Key to Gonzales’ work is a desire to push the boundaries, continuously tackling the highbrow/lowbrow dichotomy. Here, Gonzales opens up about his formative years, his time in Berlin with Peaches, Franz Liszt and mor
11/02/1944m 31s

Drummer and hitmaker Sheila E

Sheila E is a world-class drummer and percussionist who's worked with some of the most acclaimed artists of all time, including Marvin Gaye, Beyoncé, Herbie Hancock and Diana Ross. She was Prince’s drummer and musical director during the period of recording and touring Sign O’ the Times, The Black Album and Lovesexy, and an artist in her own right, having scored hits such as “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre.” Here, she talks about the rhythm of life on stage, in the studio and on the ro
04/02/1945m 28s

Montréal engineer Howard Bilerman

Grammy-nominated Howard Bilerman is a former member of Arcade Fire and the engineer for the band's breakthrough album, Funeral. Throughout his prolific career he has worked with over 400 artists, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Leonard Cohen and more. Here, Bilerman retraces the steps that took him from recording live bands to becoming an integral part of the city's music scene.
28/01/1947m 11s

Berlin icon Gudrun Gut

Gudrun Gut has been at the forefront of Berlin music for decades. She cofounded Einstürzende Neubauten and went on to play in bands like Malaria! and Mania D. In the ’90s Gut founded Moabit Music and Monika Enterprise, exclusively releasing the work of women. In 2007 she made forays into downtempo electronic music on her debut album Put a Record On. Other projects include Ocean Club Radio and the international female:pressure network. Here, Gut reflects on Berlin before and after the Wall and much more.
21/01/191h 6m

Canadian composer Kara-Lis Coverdale

Kara-Lis Coverdale became organist and composing music director at a local church in Ontario at 14. After studying musicology and composition, she moved to Montréal and befriended Tim Hecker, playing on his albums Virgins and Love Streams. In 2015 Coverdale released Aftertouches, which blurred the lines between electronic and acoustic music. In 2017 she released Grafts, which she composed with processed and looped vocal samples. Here, Coverdale talks collaboration, her Estonian musical heritage and more.
14/01/1941m 8s

Minimal Wave's Veronica Vasicka

Veronica Vasicka has unearthed countless gems and revived a subgenre with Minimal Wave, the label she founded in 2005. Vasicka’s sound was partly cultivated via online radio station East Village Radio, where she was the station’s first program director. And her reputation cemented with the release ofThe Minimal Wave Tapes Volume One on Stones Throw in 2010. Ever since, she’s spread this incredible sound via her labels and DJ sets. Here, Vasicka discusses founding her label and much more.
07/01/1935m 58s

Production duo Christian Rich

Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan AKA Christian Rich have created some of the most progressive rap productions of the ’10s. After producing for artists like Foxy Brown and Lil Kim in the ’00s, Rich racked up credits with rappers like Earl Sweatshirt, Drake and J. Cole. Since moving to Berlin two years ago, Rich have continued that trajectory, producing songs for Jaden Smith and collaborating with Little Dragon and fellow Chicagoan Vic Mensa. Here, they discuss their biggest hits and their approach to production.
17/12/1841m 37s

German music icon Manuel Göttsching

Manuel Göttsching is one of Germany's most influential talents. In the ’70s, he co-founded pioneering krautrock group Ash Ra Tempel and released several works of minimalist guitar music. In 1984, he made a left turn with E2-E4, the classic that wed Göttsching’s guitar with minimal electronic music. Since then, Göttsching has resurrected Ash Ra Tempel under the name Ashra and continued to compose new music. Here, Göttsching discussed his feelings about the term “krautrock,” the making of E2-E4 an
10/12/181h 1m

Electronic original Jlin

After discovering footwork while majoring in math at Purdue University, Jlin began studying from genre pioneers like RP Boo and DJ Rashad. Her track “Erotic Heat” caught the attention of Mike Paradinas, who included it on Planet Mu's Bangs & Works, Vol. 2 compilation. She worked at a steel mill while she wrote her acclaimed 2015 debut, Dark Energy. Her sophomore album, Black Origami, received even greater praise. Her latest is Autobiography, a score for her collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGrego
03/12/181h 7m

House godfather Frankie Knuckles

Born in the Bronx, Frankie Knuckles grew up during the early days of disco and was a regular at the Loft and the Gallery. He cut his DJ teeth with Larry Levan before heading to Chicago, where he helped shape and design the Warehouse, the club that birthed and named house music. While in Chicago, he also recorded some of the greatest music ever to bear the name house. Here, this legend, who tragically passed away in 2014, takes us through his 40-year career, from New York to Chicago and back again.
26/11/1854m 50s

DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad: Taking footwork to the world

When footwork first erupted in Chicago, few were able to put names to the music behind the wild dancing. Gradually, DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad (who passed away in 2014) emerged as prime movers, with a crate full of beats designed to move the crowd and the curiosity and knowledge to look beyond their neighborhood. First they traveled to Detroit, then the world. Here, they reflect on the origins of juke and footwork, look at where it’s at now and claim that it’s high time urban music’s major players came ca
19/11/1827m 57s

Footwork originator RP Boo

Chicago producer Kavain Space, AKA RP Boo, invented footwork with his 1997 track “Baby Come On.” By upping the tempo of ghetto house, he established a new template for an entire generation of dancers and producers. Space continues to produce and DJ around the world, his enduring success proving that there’s still no one quite like him. Here, RP Boo recalled the trials, tribulations, dances and productions that made him a pioneer of a unique Chicago sound.
12/11/181h 12m

Inimitable DJ and producer Objekt

Many musicians genre-hop, but few have an inventive take on every style they touch. Cue Objekt. Across his output on labels like Hessle Audio, Leisure System and PAN, audacious sound design and arrangements twist dancefloor conventions. In parallel, Objekt has become a must-see DJs of his generation thanks to a deft mixing style and a technician’s mindset honed through work as an instrument developer at Native Instruments. Here, he delves into his sound design and meticulous approach to DJing.
05/11/1852m 44s

Experimental artist Fatima Al Qadiri

Senegal-born, Kuwait-raised and Berlin-residing producer Fatima Al Qadiri pulls together personal and political geographies. As a child, she experienced the Gulf War firsthand – a trauma that was furthered by her love for video games and playing the Desert Strike video game barely two years after she saw her native Kuwait destroyed. Memory is a crucial element of her own hyper-digital, often beatless landscapes. Here, she recounts her personal history and talks about reframing disparate sounds and ideas.
29/10/1838m 2s

Synth guru and producer Malcolm Cecil

Malcolm Cecil was in a series of ’50s and ’60s jazz bands, but it was the synthesizer that really excited him. With Bob Margouleff he formed T.O.N.T.O.’s Expanding Head Band. The name was an acronym of a synth designed and built by Cecil himself. A dazzled Stevie Wonder instantly recruited Cecil and Margouleff, making them co-producers on his series of classic albums from Music Of My Mind through Fulfillingness’ First Finale. Here, Cecil discusses T.O.N.T.O., Wonder, what it means to produce and mor
22/10/1856m 41s

Monolake's Robert Henke

Robert Henke is one of the most significant figures in electronic music. Along with Gerhard Behles, Henke developed Ableton Live, the DAW that allows musicians to store and trigger samples during shows. He's also made abstract computer music and dance-derived techno as Monolake. Here, Henke discusses the at-times improbable story of how Live came to be. We begin by hearing about what Berlin was like when Henke first moved there and the beginnings of Monolake, setting the scene for the software's creation.
15/10/1846m 45s

Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto: Electronic Luminaries in Collaboration

Ryuichi Sakamoto came to fame with Yellow Magic Orchestra, along with solo work and collaborations with the likes of David Byrne, Thomas Dolby, Iggy Pop and Berlin-based electronic artist Alva Noto AKA Carsten Nicolai. The pair met when Carsten was performing in Tokyo, and together they formed their own sound, with Sakamoto’s minimal piano complementing Nicolai’s glowing digital tapestry. Here, they discuss their musical backgrounds, their approach to collaboration and live performance.
08/10/181h 12m

Modeselektor: Anarchic Berlin Techno

Hailing from Germany, Modeselektor work in a variety of tempos and styles with an emphasis on big, warpy synth sounds and heavy basslines that can threaten foundations. With plenty of artist albums and Moderat, their joint project with Apparat, it's as an audio/visual live act that they’ve truly conquered hearts and minds. Here, they bring the same anarchic disdain and chaos they’re known for in their live sets while discussing the fall of the Berlin Wall, German record store Hard Wax, Moderat and more.
01/10/181h 9m

Techno innovator Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin always pushes the envelope: he started Plus 8 Records with John Acquaviva, formed the M-nus empire and developed Final Scratch. His works as F.U.S.E., the delicious desolation of Plastikman and his groundbreaking works with the Concept series and Decks, EFX & 909 are all firmly planted in techno's history. A fierce advocate of technology, he's continued to operate at the limits, whether via his CONTAKT events or his Ibiza night ENTER. Here, Hawtin reflects on his multifaceted career.
24/09/1859m 49s

Berlin electronic/punk icon Hanin Elias

After her family moved to Berlin, Hanin Elias ran away from home and into the city’s punk and hardcore scene. In 1992 she formed Atari Teenage Riot with Alec Empire and MC Carl Crack, fusing punk and techno into what they termed digital hardcore. In 1999, Elias left the band and focused on solo work and championing female and female-identifying artists through her label Fatal Recordings. Here, Elias retraces her steps from punk squats to festival stages and onwards to a lasting independent career.
17/09/1852m 58s

Mastering Engineer Mike Grinser

Mike Grinser made his name as one half of Manmade Mastering, alongside Tim Xavier. In addition, Grinser also works at Berlin's renowned Dubplates & Mastering. Grinser was a rock fan before being turned onto electronic music in clubs. Intrigued, he sought to understand how this music was created, learning to DJ before moving to production. Sitting in mastering sessions for his own records, he acquired a deep interest in the technical side. Here, Grinser shares details on what goes into getting great sound.
10/09/1835m 19s

Alexander Hacke and Gareth Jones: On Berlin's '80s Underground

Alexander Hacke joined the influential Einstürzende Neubauten shortly after the band’s formation in 1980. Gareth Jones worked at the iconic Hansa Tonstudio, adding an industrial edge to recordings by Depeche Mode and others. Their paths crossed when Jones contributed production to the Neubauten albums Halber Mensch and Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala. Here, Jones and Hacke discuss their work with Neubauten, Berlin in the ’80s and what it means to create a signature sound.
03/09/181h 26m

Atari Teenage Riot Founder Alec Empire

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young Alec Empire looked to the rebellious sounds of techno, acid house and punk to inform a new project: Atari Teenage Riot. The trio debuted in 1992 and became notorious for its self-styled digital hardcore sound. When ATR split in 2000, the group and its founder had become household names beyond their humble beginnings. In this episode recorded as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Berlin 2017, Empire recalls the city's reunification years and more.
27/08/181h 34m

South African House Music Master Black Coffee

Black Coffee, real name Nathi Maphumulo, serves as Durban's house music elder statesman. His style is, in his words, “home-brewed but future-focused.” Maphumulo's recording career began in 2005 with a remix of Hugh Masekela's 1972 hit "Stimela" and has gone on to include five solo albums, including 2015's 'Pieces of Me,' which has been certified double platinum in South Africa. Here, Black Coffee discusses the early club sounds of South Africa, breaking through in a burgeoning local industry and more.
20/08/1859m 52s

Keyboardist and Funk Icon Bernie Worrell

Bernie Worrell came to prominence as a founding member Parliament/Funkadelic, radically utilizing emerging keyboard technology during the golden age of synths. Later, he resurfaced with the Talking Heads. Worrell has also been a prolific studio musician, contributing to projects by the likes of Keith Richards and Deee-Lite, and he’s among the most-sampled musicians ever. In his 2013 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, Worrell sat on the couch – and behind the Hammond – to discuss his biggest records and m
13/08/181h 2m

Atlanta Super-Producer Mike WiLL Made-It

The Atlanta-born Michael Williams’ journey began with a gift from his father, a Korg ES-1 sampler, followed by his first break: producing for hometown hero Gucci Mane. While the man best known as Mike WiLL Made-It is capable of impeccable rap-pop, he saves his weirdest, most adventurous work for crossover wunderkinds like Miley Cyrus and Rae Sremmurd. The incomparable producer talked about all of this and more during his lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy.
06/08/181h 44m

Calypso Icon and Activist Harry Belafonte

Grammy Award-winning musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte is one of the most successful Jamaican-American artists of all time, renowned for bringing the Caribbean sound to the international mainstream. A close friend and adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Belafonte was also at the forefront of the civil rights movement. In this public conversation at the 2018 Red Bull Music Festival in NYC, he spoke with curator Kimberly Drew about activism, legacy and the power of folk art.

Throbbing Gristle's Cosey Fanni Tutti

Starting her career in the late 1960s, Cosey Fanni Tutti went on to become a seismic force in experimental music. Whether delivering confrontational performance art as part of COUM Transmissions, pioneering industrial music with Throbbing Gristle, or constructing a prototype for acid house in Carter Tutti, her work has frequently been years ahead of its time. In her fascinating lecture at the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy in London, she delved into emotion, meaning and provocation in art.
23/07/1853m 27s

Bob Marley & the Wailers Guitarist Junior Marvin

Originally a rock and blues guitarist, Junior Marvin became a member of Bob Marley & The Wailers from 1977 to 1981 after getting into reggae through Toots & The Maytals. He continued playing with the Wailers until 1997, and in his lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, he looks back on a career that brought him close to greats like Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix.
16/07/181h 23m

Mastering Engineer Rashad Becker

Around Berlin, Rashad Becker’s name is synonymous with sonic brilliance — a mastering engineer at the famed Dubplates & Mastering studio, he put the finishing touches on over 1,200 of your favorite techno, dub and house records. His album 'Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. 1’ is a disorienting three-dimensional thrill ride inside Becker’s mind. In his 2014 Red Bull Music Academy lecture in Tokyo, he talked creating chewy and complex music, and how you can manipulate your sounds to do the sa
09/07/181h 1m

'Lost in Translation' Music Supervisor Brian Reitzell

Brian Reitzell is best known for his contributions to films by Sofia Coppola, including 'The Virgin Suicides,' 'Lost in Translation' and 'Marie Antoinette,' but he’s also composed scores for the football drama 'Friday Night Lights' and the TV series 'Hannibal.' In his 2015 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, Reitzell spoke about the trials and tribulations of licensing music for film and his collaborations with artists like Air, Kevin Shields, Aphex Twin and more.
02/07/181h 10m

TOKiMONSTA: LA's Queen of Blissed-Out Beats

If there’s one thing TOKiMONSTA taught us since attending the 2010 Academy as a participant, it’s that she’s never one to settle. Linking up Flying Lotus and the mighty Brainfeeder empire has led to a fruitful musical relationship with the LA electronic music scene, and her latest album featured collaborations with R&B and rap vocalists like Joey Purp and Isaiah Rashad. In her 2014 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, she went in-depth about getting her start, working with Anderson .Paak, and more.
18/06/1843m 49s

Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier: French Indie Icon

For many young indie music fans making their way through the "alternative" section of their local record store in the mid-90s, it was the music of Stereolab, and in particular the voice of chanteuse Laetitia Sadier, that provided a pre-Internet window into the worlds of French New Wave, German krautrock and a sprinkling of Marxist politics. In her 2015 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, Sadier discussed Stereolab’s "disastrous" relationship with the French music press, the influence of the Smiths and more.
11/06/181h 22m

DJ Storm: First Lady of Drum & Bass

Few nicknames in dance music have been as rightfully earned as DJ Storm's "First Lady of Drum & Bass." It all began in early 90s London, when she discovered the weird and wonderful world of UK rave. By the end of the decade, Storm and her friend Kemistry had become the quiet force behind Goldie’s Metalheadz empire. As part of the 2018 CTM Festival in Berlin, she sat down for an inspiring conversation about the joys of the mix and the trials and tribulations of maintaining a DJing career.
04/06/181h 32m

Equiknoxx: Kingston's Dancehall Innovators

Over the past decade Equiknoxx has become one of the most innovative production crews in Kingston, Jamaica. After working with some of the biggest names in dancehall – Aidonia, Beenie Man, T.O.K – Equiknoxx crash landed in the global arena with Bird Sound Power in 2016, a collection of 21st century riddims. In this public talk as part of the 2018 CTM Festival in Berlin, its members spoke with refreshing honesty about the politics of dancehall and how Jamaica seems to always twist things in unexpected wa
28/05/1858m 10s

Robert Hood: Detroit Techno Giant

As one of the founding members of the legendary Detroit techno crew Underground Resistance – alongside Mad Mike Banks and Jeff Mills – Robert Hood’s legacy in the electronic music world is almost peerless. Pioneering the minimal techno sound with his 1994 album Minimal Nation, it was his Paradise LP as Floorplan that gave minimalism new, hot-blooded life. In his 2014 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, Hood passionately discussed his work with UR, the importance of hi-hats, and much more.
21/05/1842m 2s

Beverly Glenn-Copeland: The Unifying Power of Music

Beverly Glenn-Copland worked for years in children's television, notably composing music for Sesame Street, but when his 1984 electronic album Keyboard Fantasies was reissued by Invisible City Editions, its visionary combination of "digital new-age and early Detroit techno experiments" resonated with the ears of a new generation. In this very special lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Montréal 2017 , Copeland spoke with refreshing honesty about the unifying and healing powers of art.
14/05/181h 4m

Drake Producer Boi-1da

Thanks to an early partnership with Drake, hip-hop producer Boi-1da helped define a new sound of Toronto. Playing yin to Noah "40" Shebib's yang, he made his mark with hit songs like "Best I Ever Had" and contributions to Eminem, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill and more. In his lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Montreal 2017, he talks making global hits "Work" for Rihanna and "Controlla" for Drake, reimagining dancehall for the streaming generation, and the music business.
07/05/181h 11m

Laurie Anderson: On Art and Tragedy

On November 16th, 2015, in the wake of devastating attacks in Paris, Laurie Anderson joined us on the lecture couch to talk about how art and artists respond to tragedy. Back in the ’70s, Anderson turned the pop world upside down by throwing together surreal performance, spoken word tone poems, and abstract synth grooves. Widely influential for her use of early samplers and invented electronic instruments, she has collaborated with Brian Eno, Andy Kaufman and late husband Lou Reed.
30/04/1851m 0s

Oneohtrix Point Never: Electronic Iconoclast

In this special edition of Couch Wisdom, we meet Oneohtrix Point Never, a confounding electronic musician who deploys the anxiety of the digital age to stunning effect. In one of the first interviews given about his new album, Age Of, and his live show/dystopian sci-fi opera MYRIAD, he speaks to Red Bull Radio's Vivian Host of Peak Time about Rabelais, fears both real and hyperreal, why James Blake told him to shut up and much more.
27/04/1831m 49s

'80s Hitmaker Trevor Horn

Trevor Horn found massive success with The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," but he also produced some of the biggest hits of the 80s, including landmark records with ABC and Malcolm McLaren. An early champion of then-new electronic technology, Horn traces his story to the brink of superstardom with ZZT Records and talks how to make a perfect song in his 2011 Red Bull Music Academy lecture.
23/04/182h 10m

Young Guru: Jay-Z's Engineer

Young Guru is more than just an engineer. As Jay-Z's right-hand man in the studio, he oversees everything from sequencing to mixing, and his work on "Empire State of Mind" earned him a Grammy nomination. In this brilliant lecture at the 2011 Red Bull Music Academy, he talks stealing records to scour for samples and how Jay Electronica revived his faith in hip-hop.
16/04/181h 15m

Steve Reich: Pioneering Minimalist Composer

Hailed as the world’s “greatest living composer,” Steve Reich helped pioneer American minimalist music alongside Philip Glass, Terry Riley and John Adams – although Reich himself prefers the term post-minimalism. Repetition and the use of speech and field recordings are the cornerstones of his vast body of work, which has accumulated too many awards to mention. At the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy in London, a true genius sat down to discuss it all.
09/04/1852m 47s

Ka: Rap's Single-Minded Force

Ka witnessed the genesis of hip-hop growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn. But it wasn't until his first album made its way to GZA that things began to change. In control of everything – rhymes, beats, videos, distribution – Ka is a single-minded force in rap with a stark, minimal style. Sitting with Jeff Mao at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Ka talks about growing up in Brownsville, the reality of life as a man, and the patience needed to find and accept your own voice.
02/04/181h 3m

Joan La Barbara: Vocal Virtuoso

Vocal virtuoso and sound artist Joan La Barbara looms large in experimental music. From multiphonic singing to circular breathing, she’s developed a whole new vocabulary of trills, whispers, cries and clicks and collaborated with the likes of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Cage and her husband Morton Subotnick. In her lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, she detailed how she came to master the human voice.
26/03/181h 31m

Hudson Mohawke

Hudson Mohawke’s ascent has seen him go from playing Glasgow house parties to releasing two solo albums for Warp, producing with Lunice as the gargantuan duo TNGHT (which led a new wave in trap music in the US popular consciousness), signing to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, and producing hits for Kanye, Pusha T and Drake. In his 2015 lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy in Paris, he talks coping with fame and creating his unique sound.
19/03/1853m 8s


LA native Syd found early success producing tracks and DJing on tour for Odd Future, and in 2017, she released her debut studio album Fin. In her 2017 lecture as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Paths Unknown, she sat down on the couch in London to look back on what she learned from her days with Tyler, The Creator and the Internet, detail her singular approach to writing and explore how collaborations have shaped her sound.
12/03/1853m 24s

Alice Bag

Born in East Los Angeles to immigrant Mexican parents, Alice Bag first embraced music’s riotous energy when she founded the Bags with Patricia Morrison in 1977. The band made an indelible mark on the burgeoning LA punk scene, thanks to how the young singer transformed the blunt trauma of her daily life into onstage energy. In this public conversation at the Red Bull Music Academy Festival Los Angeles, Bag shared some of her hard-earned wisdom about upending expectations of what women can do in music.
05/03/181h 22m

Edgar Wright

Director Edgar Wright is known for parodying cinematic tropes, as seen in 2004’s zombie horror mash-up Shaun of the Dead. His latest movie, Baby Driver, became the surprise summer blockbuster of 2017. In this talk at the Red Bull Music Academy Los Angeles Festival, presented by composer Brian Reitzell, Wright dives deep into his use of music in film.
26/02/181h 23m

Debbie Harry & Chris Stein

As Blondie's founding members, Chris Stein and Debbie Harry inspired kids and rebels around the world at the turn of the '80s. With classic songs like "Heart Of Glass" and "The Tide Is High," they created their own sound from New York’s melting pot of punk, wave, reggae and hip-hop. At the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy, the duo recalled New York in the '70s and '80s.
19/02/1845m 22s


Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is a living link between the digital science of modern hip hop and the flesh-and-blood textures of vintage R&B. He's helped shape the sound of neo-soul with The Roots, the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s late night show, and the Soulquarians with D’Angelo, A Tribe Called Quest and the late Jay Dee. In this lecture at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy, Questlove returned to the couch for a deep dive into drumming, Dilla and D’Angelo.
12/02/1858m 33s

George Clinton

Music as we know it would look a lot different (and less colorful) without the contributions of George Clinton. From his early musical beginnings at Motown, he went on to form the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, two of the most important groups of the 1970s. As part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York in 2015, the king of P-Funk sat down for a rare, intimate chat about his momentous life and career.
05/02/181h 14m

Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon is obsessed with the intersection between mind, body and technology. Her music tackles her complicated relationship with the internet, the NSA, Max/MSP software, and her own voice; creating a unique brand of cyber-pop that is both academic and dancefloor-ready. In this talk at the 2014 Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo she discusses self-sampling, growing up in the Bible Belt and real-time emotions.
29/01/1847m 37s

Dev Hynes

Liberation of soul and mind is essential to the work of Dev Hynes. In addition to crafting socially-minded R&B as Blood Orange, he's worked with artists ranging from Solange Knowles and Nelly Furtado to David Byrne, Grace Jones and Kindness. In his lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal, Hynes talks about his fascination with found sound, working with female voices and what it means to be a black classical music fan.
22/01/1859m 57s


As a member of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip helped shape the sound of hip-hop in the '90s. The group became a blueprint for MCs looking to balance the literate and the absurd, as well as producers searching for the perfect break. In his 2013 lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy in New York, he talks recording with the likes of Nas and J Dilla, and how to make music that stands out from the crowd.

Matana Roberts

Chicago-born saxophonist Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin series – named after a freed slave and businesswoman – openly questions the American jazz tradition while paying homage to it. In her lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Roberts discusses the evolution of her practice, her struggles as an artist, and the stories and ideas that are feeding the Coin Coin project.Interview by Anupa MistryProduced and engineered by Frank Westerkamp and Denis Hürter
08/01/181h 21m


Ice-T introduced himself as one of the West Coast’s most electrifying rappers. He recorded a string of classic hip-hop albums in the late ’80s, broadening his palette with the infamous Body Count project. He’s now the longest running black actor on television with his role in SVU. In this rare conversation at the 2017 Red Bull Music Academy Festival Los Angeles, Ice-T retraced his steps from becoming an artist to finding new ways to challenge himself.Interview by Jeff “Chairman” Mao
01/01/181h 28m

Jam & Lewis

Meeting in the ’70s Minneapolis music scene that produced Prince, songwriting and production duo Jam & Lewis have crafted classics for Janet Jackson, Human League, George Michael, Usher, Mary J. Blige and more. In their lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy,the pair revealed some of the secrets behind making hit records and staying relevant.Interview by Jeff “Chairman” MaoProduced and engineered by Frank Westerkamp and Denis Hürter
25/12/171h 4m

Jah Shaka

Jah Shaka’s legendary dubs, spiritual message and chest-rattling soundsystem symbolise a deep meaning in sound. Coming from Jamaica to London in the late ’50s, his young life was embedded within the black British immigrant experience. Having toured the world with his message of love, tolerance and spirituality, Shaka's 2014 lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo remains a truly special one.Interview by Benji BProduced and engineered by Frank Westerkamp and Denis Hürter
18/12/1759m 40s


Pop singer and producer Kindness has a deep understanding of how music ties into identity and ways of seeing the world. Having collaborated with Dev Hynes, Kelela, Robyn and more, his outlook on how musical cultures inform one another is a breath of fresh air in an often-stifling world. In this lecture from the 2015 Red Bull Music Academy in Paris, his stories on identity, bigotry and the music business prove touching for musicians and non-musicians alike.
11/12/1757m 47s

The Black Madonna

One of the most respected DJs working today, The Black Madonna has never shied away from speaking up for women, people of color and the LGBTQ community, both on and off the dancefloor. In her lecture from the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal, the former Midwest raver tells us what it takes to challenge the status quo.
04/12/1749m 32s


An unofficial Janet Jackson remix put Kaytranada on the map, but the Haitian-born beatmaker has emerged as the next in a long line of talents from Montreal. His debut album for XL Recordings netted him a Polaris Prize while putting his passion for Dilla beats, disco oddities and ’90s R&B on full display. At the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Kaytranada traces his early rise to fame.
27/11/1739m 10s

Pauline Oliveros

One of electronic music’s most important early figures, Pauline Oliveros dedicated her life to sound. An original member of the pioneering San Francisco Tape Music Center, she also founded the Deep Listening Institute. In this episode, recorded at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal and released in rememberance of her passing, Oliveros talks about building her own instruments and transformative potential of listening with more than the ear.
20/11/1734m 41s

Che Pope

As the chief operating officer of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, Che Pope is one of the most influential figures in US rap and hip-hop culture. In his lecture from the 2015 Red Bull Music Academy in Paris, the Grammy-winning producer breaks down the labor of love that was working with Lauryn Hill and the ruthlessness of the hip-hop industry.
13/11/1739m 25s

Suzanne Ciani

Created in the early 1960s, the Buchla synthesizer revolutionized electronic music, but few have pursued its emotional and sonic possibilities as comprehensively as Suzanne Ciani. In her lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, the Grammy-nominated artist and electronic-music pioneer recounts her lifelong relationship with the synthesizer and its inventor.
05/11/1743m 36s

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop was punk before punk even existed. His band The Stooges created some of the most potent rock music the world had ever heard, and his high-wire collaborations with David Bowie are the stuff of legend. In 2016, he affirmed his position in the pantheon of rock music with his Post Pop Depression LP. Red Bull Music Academy was honored to host him to Montreal in 2016.
30/10/1742m 22s


James Mtume may have crafted iconic LPs with Miles Davis, but it was his transition to R&B master that really set him apart. His duo with Reggie Lucas was an unstoppable force through the ’80s, and after decades of serving hit after hit, most notably the sampled-to-death “Juicy Fruit,” Mtume opens up at the Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo 2014.
23/10/1755m 3s


Moodymann is one of the most enigmatic figures house music ever bred. Despite his refusal to play the press-and-promo game, his voice has been among the loudest when it comes to preserving the rich heritage of Afro-American music while fighting the industry powers that be. In a rare public lecture at the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy, Kenny Dixon Jr. reveals all.
16/10/1746m 15s

Tanya Tagaq

A powerful voice from Canada’s north, Tanya Tagaq’s take on Inuk throat singing is a fiercely innovative fusion of old and new. In this episode of Couch Wisdom, recorded at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal and released in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Tagaq discusses how the country’s untold history of human rights abuses have influenced her music and beliefs.
09/10/1748m 0s

Young Thug Engineer Alex Tumay

Nobody knows Atlanta rapper Young Thug quite like audio engineer Alex Tumay. In his lecture from the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal, Tumay discusses working with one of the brightest and weirdest talents in rap and how Atlanta’s new generation struck gold with a unique new sound.


Over the last three decades, few musicians have matched Björk’s electrifying output and restless reinvention. In addition to her musical accomplishments she has constantly pushed boundaries in fashion and the immersive experiences offered by virtual reality. In this lecture, recorded live at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montréal and hosted by Emma Warren, she offers thoughts on her long and multifaceted career, how intuition drives her recordings and DJ sets, and what utopia means to her.
25/09/171h 12m

Introducing Couch Wisdom

Introducing Couch Wisdom, the new weekly podcast from Red Bull Music Academy presenting essential conversations with today's most notable music-makers.
05/09/172m 5s
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