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Episode 445

Nerdist Podcast

Thomas Dolby

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Nerdist Podcast: Thomas Dolby

The talented Thomas Dolby sits down with the guys to talk about his recent interactive music and film tour, the early days of creating music with synthesizers and his influence on cell phone ringtones!

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22 comments

  • I think the tipping point for electronic music was closed college networks. Everyone was still wired into their college network in dorms. They used phone lines and very little security. You could call up anyone’s computer who was online. And almost everyone had music on their computers that they were actively sharing.

    I was in a small college. Larger colleges had huge networks of students downloading and uploading music on their own college web. And since most computers were large desktops, many students left their computers on the network while they went to class. I remember setting up DJ lists for dorms by just figuring out what everyone had in common on their hard drive.

    That’s the tipping point in 1996…where 18-20 year olds with wired networked computers came to college, played around on networks, and realized they could share music easily with friends.

    – l.k.

  • One of the reasons I’m a big fan of Nerdist is the way Nerdist’s interests regularly align with my own. Thomas Dolby is a perfect example, I’ve been following Thomas Dolby since Golden Age of Wireless first hit the US, and was finding other fans through early Internet days on AOL and the Flat Earth Society website, as we waited patiently many years for Dolby to leave the tech world and come back to making music. OF COURSE Nerdist is a big Thomas Dolby fan too. And OF COURSE fans of this website include diehard Dolby fans. (Like 3TF and Timber Tom — who, for anyone who doesn’t know, is brilliantly paraphrasing “The Key to Her Ferrari” from Aliens Ate My Buick. Nice!)

    Dolby has some amazing music besides his big hits. Check out http://www.thomasdolby.com for more information.

    I’m also thrilled Dolby mentioned his work with Prefab Sprout. They are my favorite popular band from the UK that never really made it big in the US — despite some critical acclaim in America. Dolby added his special touch to three of their albums in the 80s/90s: Two Wheels Good (which was the American name for the album released in the UK as Steve McQueen), From Langley Park to Memphis, and Jordan: The Comeback. You must check those out if you are a Dolby fan; you’ll really hear his influence. If you read/listen to some of Dolby’s other interviews you’ll see how proud he is of his work with “the Sprouts”. He’s right, of course, the leader of that band Paddy MacAloon is one of the great songwriters of our time. After Jordan, he really only issued new Sprouts material as a one-man band. Check out http://www.prefabsprout.net/discog.html for the discography. It’s amazing stuff.

  • I found out Thomas Dolby was on the podcast quiet literally while I was (AM!) doing my 80s music-based radio show, “The Spandex Years” on WRUW FM 91.1 Cleveland. We used to have a nice legal ID he recorded for us, but some idiot erased the original. Maybe I can find it on one of my old airchecks. In the meantime, I’ve added “The Wreck of the Fairchild” (which I *LOVE*) to my playlist in between Devo’s “Mr. B’s Ballroom” and The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

    Can’t wait to hear this podcast when I’m more awake. DARN holiday weekend substitutions…

  • Little rivers of anticipation ran down my inseam as I clicked that shiny grey podcast download button into life. I left reality behind me as I passed fifty sixty seventy percent downloaded, oh! My hand slipped inside the belt of my trousers as I passed eight ninety percent downloaded!! AND THEN AS I PASSED THE MAGIC 100%, MY LOVE EXPLODED ALL OVER MY BRIGHT PINK KEYBOARD, AND AT THAT MOMENT…I thought of my mother.

    So yeah. Looking forward to listening.

  • Bring back the main podcast to the top of the page.
    Whatever meeting happened that decided to democratize all the podcasts – un-have it.

    I get the logic- but I miss the easy navigation.
    I listen to many of the Nerdist’s family of podcasts.
    But this is the house that The Nerdist podcast built.

    I don’t want to dig through a fridge full of Coke Zero to find the original.

  • Great interview. Something Thomas said at he end resonates with the podcast, the bit about inside the actors studio. The Nerdist is a like an Inside the Actors studio for a really broad range of folks. You get inside the heads of actors, comedians, astronauts, musicians, ….

  • Excellent interview. Like Chris, I was a big fan back in the day. The interview could have been twice as long and still not cover everything I would have liked to hear him talk about – the less well known years of his music career (The Flat Earth thru Astronauts & Heretics), his marriage to Kathleen Beller, why he moved from LA back to England, etc., etc…