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27 February 2022

David Byrne Discusses ‘American Utopia’ With Zane Lowe on Apple Music

David Byrne American Utopia Apple Music
Photo: ZUMA PRESS INC/Alamy Stock Photo
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David Byrne recently joined Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss his acclaimed Broadway musical American Utopia, working with Spike Lee to bring the production to film, collaborating with Mitski, St. Vincent, and Brian Eno, and bringing the musical to life via Spatial Audio.

Initially, during the interview, Byrne told Apple Music about the inspirations For American Utopia.

“It started in one of those half-awake, half-asleep moments when I imagined in my head a group of drummers, kind of like a drum line or a second line drum group from New Orleans or a samba school in Brazil, moving towards the front of a stage, all playing together, all kind of making one rhythm between them all”, Byrne revealed.  “

“And I thought, “What an amazing impact that would be. What a great feeling that is when I’ve seen those kind of groups do that, and can I do that with my music?” And I just imagined it, and I was thinking of the songs I was working on at that moment. And I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t that be an amazing way to present these songs, with that kind of mobile energy and that energy of a group of players coming together to make one sound?”

The former Talking Heads frontman the discussed bringing American Utopia to a close.

David Byrne: “Well, we are going to put an end to it. We’ve been extended it until April 3rd this year, and that’s where we’re going to end. Yeah, I’ve been doing it for a number of years now, and we had, of course, this huge interruption. But I feel like, okay. Before that, we toured a version of it, and so I feel like, yes, maybe I’ve done this enough. And it’s time for me to move on and try something else that might succeed and might fail with new material and see where that leads.”

Later on in the interview, Byrne also discussed brining American Utopia To Spatial Audio.

“It really works well in this spatial format”, he said. “I listen to the tracks, the mixes that were done, and yes, it kind of gets a lot closer to what it feels like to be there, because in the theater, you can hear the stuff coming out of the speakers. But you can also hear the acoustic drums coming off the stage, and so you really have the sense that they’re kind of in front of you and to the left and to the right. Yeah, they’re all around.”

Listen to David Byrne’s interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in full here.

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