The Everyday Carry of a Musician and Podcast Host: Hrishikesh Hirway

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By Paige Alexus
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“I've found it's more useful to have a piece of cheap equipment that you know well, than a more expensive version that you don't.” -Hrishikesh Hirway
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What you need to know about Hrishikesh: 

As a songwriter, composer, and designer, Hrishikesh is the creator and host of Song Exploder, a podcast that puts the spotlight on musicians and asks them to break down their songs, piece by piece. It gives them a place where they can tell the story behind their thought process and share victories and challenges that went into each development. After interviewing artists like Björk, U2, and The National, he produces and edits every episode in his Los Angeles studio in order to create a narrative that isolates specific sounds and ideas behind each tune. 

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15" MacBook Pro: "I work in a few different mediums, but all of it gets made with my computer." 

G-Drive External Hard Drive: "My songs and podcast episodes can get pretty dense, which means huge file sizes—so, I carry everything on an external drive." 

Doc Martens: "I got these boots through my band Moors. I dress fairly simply and mostly in dark colors, but these are my default shoes. They match nothing, so they go with everything."

Ray-Ban Sunglasses: "Because I live in Los Angeles. I always get cheap pairs in case I lose them, but I got this pair through my other band, The One AM Radio. Even though they're expensive, I got them for free, so they're technically the cheapest pair of sunglasses I own. I've had them for five years and haven't lost them yet (knock on wood)." 

Dava Control Guitar Picks: "My friend introduced me to these particular guitar picks about 15 years ago, and now they're all I use. I told the company how much I love them and they sent me a big bag of them. They're all over my house, and I always have a couple in my wallet or in my pocket." 

Bento Box Moleskine: "One of my first interviews for Song Exploder was with Loren Bouchard, the creator of one of my favorite TV shows, "Bob's Burgers." We talked at the headquarters of the show's animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment, and I was given this Moleskine notebook with their logo on it." 

I've used it to take notes and prepare questions for every single Song Exploder interview I've done since then.

iLok: "The scariest part of working in Pro Tools is that you need this little USB key in order to open the program. Lose it, and you can't do anything. I keep track of it more closely than I keep track of my house keys." 

Nixon Kensington Watch: "I know there's a clock on my phone, but it's a lot easier and more gentlemanly to just glance down at your wrist. Not as gentlemanly, though, is the fact that this is actually a ladies' watch. I don't go in for the huge watch trend, but an oversize ladies' watch is the perfect size for me." 

Ultimate Ears Custom In-Ear Monitors: "I use these at home, on stage, and on planes. They're custom-molded to the inside of my ears, so when I put them on, I can really hear every detail in a mix. I like the travel-ready hard case they come in, and they even have a little Song Exploder logo on them. 

West Wing Weekly "What's Next" Lapel Pin: "Besides Song Exploder, I co-produce and co-host a podcast about my favorite television show, "The West Wing." I designed a lapel pin that's a cross between our show's logo and the official White House lapel pin, and I transfer it to whatever jacket I'm wearing." 

AKG C3000 Microphone: "This isn't a very fancy mic, but it's the one I've got, and it's been my workhorse. I've sung and spoken into this microphone for years, so I'm familiar with how it responds. I've found it's more useful to have a piece of cheap equipment that you know well than a more expensive version that you don't." 

Zoom H6n Recorder: "This is very portable—great for recording on the road." 


Make sure to check out Hrishikesh's home in Eagle Rock, California where he lives and creates with his wife, Lindsey Lund Mortensen.


Song Exploder is part of the Radiotopia by PRX family.