'Song Exploder': Hrishikesh Hirway Previews 'Vol. 2' With Dua Lipa, NIN and More (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
After first premiering in October, Song Exploder is already back with a second volume of all-new stories behind some of music’s biggest hits. ET has the exclusive first look as host Hrishikesh Hirway sits down with Dua Lipa, The Killers, Natalia Lafourcade and Nine Inch Nails as they share intimate insight into the inspiration and creation of songs like “Love Again” and “When You Were Young.”
“They're all so different from one another in terms of sound and background, and I can't wait for people to see and hear their stories, and the unique path they each took to create these songs,” Hirway says, revealing to ET that what sets this volume of episodes apart is that he previously spoke to all four artists on the hit podcast of the same name.
He adds, “I was going into it with a little bit of familiarity, which made things a little bit easier.”
The first song discussed in Volume 2 is “Love Again,” which comes from Lipa’s hit sophomore studio album, Future Nostalgia, which was released in March and earned the singer a total of six 2021 GRAMMY Award nominations.
In the episode, which was filmed during the coronavirus pandemic, the singer reveals how combining some “personal sh*t” with a sample of jazz performer Al Bowlly’s “My Woman” led to the disco-pop creation.
It’s a very different journey from the one that led Trent Reznor, who is a 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee alongside his band Nine Inch Nails, to compose “Hurt,” the last song on the group’s sophomore studio album, The Downward Spiral.
“He hadn't really told this story before, and they thought this would be the right place to do it,” Hirway says. “I was really honored that this got to be the form that they needed for that.”
And it was Reznor, whom the host first interviewed for a 2017 episode of the podcast, who fans have to thank for inspiring the Netflix docuseries. “Afterwards, as I was packing up my microphone and laptop, he asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about making this into a TV show?’” Hirway shares.
That glimmer of an idea eventually resulted in the intimate series, which already produced compelling and in-depth interviews with the likes of Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda, R.E.M., and Ty Dolla $ign.
Now, Hirway reveals that he and Reznor have since reflected on that journey from podcast to screen. “I got to thank him for believing in me in that moment,” he says.
In addition to Lipa and Reznor, Hirway sits down with members of The Killers, including lead singer Brandon Flowers, to get into “When You Were Young” 14 years later. “I think it's a song and a band that a lot of people feel a lot of nostalgia for,” he says.
The host also interviews Lafourcade to discuss “Hasta La Raíz,” which took both to Veracruz, Mexico, where the singer explained how her heritage and homeland influenced the record. “It was just the most magical experience,” Hirway says of being able to travel before the lockdown.