Music Documentaries Discover stories of musicians and the creative process.

Music documentaries

Discover stories of musicians and the creative process

Songwriter, musician and engineer Tom Scholz in his studio. Austin de Besche hide caption

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In The Studio With The Gear Geek Who Wrote 'More Than A Feeling'

The mastermind behind the band Boston isn't just a songwriter — he's also an engineer. Scholz opens his studio to demonstrate how his self-made gear helped create the group's unique sound.

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Beers And Lovesick Doo-Wop: At Home With Los Romanticos

For the first installment in the Mi Casa Es Tu Casa series with Fusion, a Mexican band invites Alt.Latino into its house for lively conversation and great music.

David Byrne and Annie Clark of St. Vincent Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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David Byrne And St. Vincent

Peek behind the curtain at the final rehearsal before David Byrne (of Talking Heads) and Annie Clark (of St. Vincent) took their collaborative album, Love This Giant, out on the road.

Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Jeremy Denk

Jeremy Denk sees his apartment as his own "piano boot camp." Except for books, a coffee pot and a laptop, there's not much to do there but practice. We eavesdropped as he worked on complex etudes.

Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard discuss the unexpected success of The Postal Service. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Special Delivery: The Postal Service Story

Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard reflect on Give Up, which emerged from a casual collaboration.

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Moby: One Song, Two Days, Three Versions

Project Song challenges musicians to write and record a song in just two days — and we shoot video of the whole process. Watch Moby and collaborator Kelli Scarr write and record "Gone to Sleep."

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Morton Subotnick's Practice Space


The pioneering electronic composer responsible for Silver Apples of the Moon turned 80 years old this week. Q2 Music visited with Subotnick and his wife in the couple's Greenwich Village apartment.

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In Practice: Jonathan Biss

A building demolition inadvertently helps pianist Jonathan Biss discover the perfect practicing solution. Moving the piano out of his apartment away from the commotion allows him concentration.

New York Polyphony perform Renaissance songs for an In Practice recording session. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony sings ancient music built for big spaces. But cathedrals aren't easy to come by for every practice session. That's when the group falls back on a modest-sized living room.

Angélica Negrón gives Q2 Music a tour of her apartment. Q2 Music hide caption

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Angélica Negrón On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'


The Puerto Rican-born composer draws from ambient music, found sound and visual art, as well as the classical-music tradition. Watch her perform in Q2 Music's video series Spaces.

Jherek Bischoff in his home studio. Q2 Music hide caption

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Jherek Bischoff: The Composer Who Lived On The Ocean


The young composer has worked with David Byrne, Caetano Veloso and Amanda Palmer. Take a video tour of his old bedroom — and the place where he makes his blend of rock, pop and classical music.

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Dave Grohl's SXSW 2013 Keynote Speech

Dave Grohl has become the unofficial Mayor of Rock 'n' Roll. Watch Grohl's keynote address at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

courtesy of Q2

1-Bit Composer Tristan Perich's Practice Space


The composer makes big music with tiny electronics. A visit with the multimedia artist reveals hundreds of bins — from a carton marked "squeezing tools" (scissors, pliers) to one simply labeled "art."

Dan Deacon at home in his practice space. WQXR hide caption

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Dan Deacon's Practice Space


Spaces is Q2 Music's new series of documentaries that capture creative composers in their practice studios. The first installment focuses on the always eccentric Dan Deacon.

Original artwork created for the series by Al Smith. NPR hide caption

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Wade In The Water

Produced in 1994 by NPR and the Smithsonian Institution, Wade in the Water is a 26-part documentary series detailing the history of American gospel music and its impact on soul, jazz and R&B.

Beach Slang at The First Unitarian Church. Greg Pallante/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Portrait Of A Punk Who Never Grew Up

In a short documentary, Beach Slang frontman James Alex shares his hopes for fatherhood and what punk has done for him: "With Beach Slang, I'm feeding back into this thing that was so good to me."

Pharrell Williams addresses the crowd. Ebru Yildiz for NPR hide caption

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Pharrell Williams, In Conversation

Watch the producer extraordinaire sit down for a rare, in-depth interview with Jason King, host of NPR Music's R&B channel "I"ll Take You There."

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Meredith Monk On Q2's 'Spaces'


The composer and singer describes her own sound as "folk music from another planet." Q2 visits the Tribeca loft that's been home to Monk's white-hot creative energies for more than 40 years.

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Shara Worden On Q2's 'Spaces'


My Brightest Diamond's busy and enigmatic singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist is a dizzying blur of creativity. Watch Q2 visit with Shara Worden in her Detroit home.

Q2 Music

Mark Stewart On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'


Conch shells, a 19th-century relative of the tuba, and wooden nose flutes are just a few of the odd instruments you'll find in the apartment of Paul Simon's music director.

Juan Cirerol performs for a video shoot on his neighbors' front stoop in Mexico City. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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This Guy Could Be Mexico's Johnny Cash

After a childhood in Mexicali listening to the Man in Black, Juan Cirerol became a rock 'n' roll nomad. He recently invited Alt.Latino and Fusion to his house to play his music and introduce himself.

Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Meet Ali Gua Gua: Cumbia's Punk Rock Star

Mexico's Ali Gua Gua brilliantly fuses traditional cumbia with punk and hip-hop. She invited Alt.Latino and Fusion to her house for an intimate performance alongside Argentine rapper Miss Bolivia.