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Arts & Culture

RJD2 Explains How He Builds Songs From Scraps

RJD2's new album, <em>More Is Than Isn't</em>, is out now.
RJD2's new album, <em>More Is Than Isn't</em>, is out now.

RJ Krohn, better known as the artist RJD2, has been making original electronic music for 15 years. He has a signature style, in which he layers together snippets of soulful melodies and hard-driving beats to create cinematic arrangements. (If you watch Mad Men, you've heard him do just that in his theme for the opening credits.)

Even for a music scholar, the exact process involved in making sample-based music can be a little obscure. So, Weekend Edition Saturday asked Krohn for a walkthrough of one of his own songs.

"Her Majesty's Socialist Request," the energetic single from RJD2's new album, More Is Than Isn't, doesn't sound much like a 12-bar blues — but Krohn says that's where his thought process started.

"For me, the home-run scenario when working with samples is to take a passage of music that has very, very little merit or value on its own, deconstructing it and rebuilding it into something that does have merit," Krohn says. "The ghost that I am chasing is that."

Hear Krohn's full breakdown of "Her Majesty's Socialist Request," including cameos from some songs you might recognize, at the audio link.

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