Introducing: Radiotopia Ad Music from JD Samson

JD SamsonRadiotopia turns three this month, and to celebrate we launched a fancy new website! We also commissioned our first-ever original ad music from DJ, producer and musician JD Samson, who leads the band MEN and is one-third of the electronic-punk-feminist performance project, Le Tigre. Besides writing some fantastic music for us, JD kindly answered a few questions about working on the project.

Hi JD Samson! What appealed to you about working with Radiotopia to create original ad music?

I love Radiotopia’s programming, and felt really excited to be seen as an articulation of their aesthetic. Creating this kind of accompaniment was extremely meditative and exploratory for me, which is something I like to challenge myself with often.

How did the process compare with your usual song-writing approach?

The process was really interesting to me because there were so many aspects of the music that needed to make sense for ALL the producers. Some people wanted happier tunes, some people sad, so I had to really make sure the music was atmospheric, but not a “song”. I had to ensure the tone was kind of dull. Not too extreme in either direction, and make sure there weren’t a lot of melodies crowding the space. It was fun for me to break down my compositions after I made them and often heard the comment “make it more boring.” I honestly loved this direction because it forced me to see aspects of my production that were unnecessary in this case.

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

As a music composer/producer, I love Song Exploder, I could listen to it all day long. Also, I love 2 Dope Queens, Sagitarian Matters by my friend Nicole Georges, and Criminal. There are many more but these are some of my faves.

Is there anything on your horizon we can share with Radiotopia fans?

I’m in the middle of creating a documentary series, writing a book, teaching at NYU, and possibly making my own podcast! I’ve been focusing a bit more on some other aspects of my life, that began before the music industry fell on me…. but of course continuing to make music and create performances that establish new relationships to songs and songwriting, and how to make activist work after the dawn of the internet.
Keep your ears open for upcoming Radiotopia episodes with JD’s music, or hear her work in the “Meet the Radiotopians” clip at the top of our new homepage. You can learn more about JD on her website, and keep up with her @jdsamson.