Formerly vocalist Hrishikesh Hirway’s solo pet project, The One AM Radio is now a full-fledged dream-pop trio with four studio albums under their belt. The Los Angeles-based group’s latest album is 2011’s Heaven is Attached by a Slender Thread, which showcases their catchy arrangements and dreamy soundscapes. The band are avid Rdio users—check out their personal One AM Radio profile—and have created a fantastic playlist of songs for driving alone, late at night. Check out 5 questions with the band and listen to the Empty Cities playlist below.
Five Questions with The One AM Radio
- Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
Hrishikesh Hirway: I love the Radio Dept. I’ve never been so happy to feel so sad as when I put on their music. They’ve gotten a lot more attention since when I first heard them, but still, they deserve to be much bigger.
- If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
HH: I’d put on “An Endless Searching for Substance” by 23 degrees. I actually don’t know if it’s good or not! It might very well be a little cheesy. But I listened to it a lot in the mid-90s, when I was first getting into electronic music and didn’t have any guidance. I would just spend hours in record stores listening to whatever I could find, which is how I discovered this record. I was visiting my sister in western Massachusetts, and I came upon this CD. It was downtempo, ambient at times, and I’d often go to sleep listening to it. I lost the disc at some point, years ago, but I thought of it recently and suddenly really wanted to hear it. I tried to buy it online, but it seems to be out of print. I remember being in love with some of the sounds on the record; these pretty, round, bell-like synths.
- Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
HH: My mom and dad had all these cassettes of Indian music that were soundtracks to films I’d never seen. Friends and relatives would bring them from India, or occasionally they’d buy one at an Indian grocery store that doubled as a video rental place. A lot of times there was no cover art, just a dubbed tape with a very neatly handwritten tracklisting. All these different movies had “playback singers” — meaning, the actors on screen would lipsynch, and the voice you actually heard was someone else — and invariably, the female vocals were sung by either Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar. They’re sisters, and they were (and probably still are) the biggest stars of Indian popular music. Of the two, I had a slight preference for Asha. When I think of music from my childhood, I hear their voices.
- We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
HH: Like the records I just mentioned, we hope people are forming a memory that they’ll look back on with nostalgia when they listen to our music.
- We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
HH: When we wrote music for the new album, we were thinking about the cool shock of air when you first crack a window while driving alone at night, the amber light that gets cast over the whole city when everything’s closed, and how lonely dance records can make you feel.