Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: David Byrne Facebook)


Let David Byrne explain how architecture helped music to evolve


We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to revisit one of our favourite artists, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, giving a short lecture on the important influence architecture has had on music.

It may not seem like music and architecture are common bedfellows but in the video below Byrne delivers a compelling argument about how without architecture music would never have evolved to its current pedestal.

As we all face more uncertain times ahead, with a global lockdown keeping us all indoors for the foreseeable future, people are taking the time to educate themselves. For some, this is learning a new craft and for others, it is trawling the internet for the latest essay or discussion or live performance.

Luckily, David Byrne is here for all your needs as the singer delivers a captivating TED talk about the importance of architecture’s role in music’s long-term development. It’s not the first time Byrne has delivered such a speech. He’s also delivered seminars on Carl Jung and the role of context in the shaping of an artist’s outlook.

Taking place in Long Beach California in 2010, Byrne sets the room, “This is the venue where, as a young man, some of the music that I wrote was first performed. It was, remarkably, a pretty good sounding room. With all the uneven walls and all the crap everywhere, it actually sounded pretty good.”

Byrne continues, “Since then, I’ve played other places that are much nicer. I’ve played the Disney Hall here and Carnegie Hall and places like that. And it’s been very exciting. But I also noticed that sometimes the music that I had written, or was writing at the time, didn’t sound all that great in some of those halls.”

“So I asked myself: Do I write stuff for specific rooms? Do I have a place, a venue, in mind when I write? Is that a kind of model for creativity? Do we all make things with a venue, a context, in mind?” You can find the full transcript of the talk here.

To that question and a few others, you will find an answer in the below video, as David Byrne talks about how architecture helped music to evolve.