Max Richter Talks with Perfume Genius on the Talkhouse Podcast

Two very different musicians find creative common ground.

On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a great conversation between two guys who don’t necessarily have a ton in common musically, but who approach creativity in similar ways—and who happen to be great fans of each other’s work: Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius, and composer-performer-multi-hyphenate Max Richter.

Hadreas, whom you’ve hopefully heard on the Talkhouse Podcast in the past, has been recording and performing under the name Perfume Genius since 2008, and he’s one of those artists whose music just inexplicably gets better with each passing day—even when you think it couldn’t. His records are this incredible combination of fearlessness and joy, whether he’s singing about dealing with homophobia or just making bodies move. The latest Perfume Genius record, which came out right as Covid was entering the world’s consciousness, bears the fantastic title Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. Perfume Genius will start playing shows again next month; check out for dates.

As for Max Richter, it would take far more than this limited space allows just going over his resume. From contributing to a classic Future Sound of London album back in the ‘90s through his incredible score for HBO’s The Leftovers to a dozen other things, the musician/composer has an incredibly full plate. He composed an eight-hour minimalist classical piece called Sleep, which was performed for audiences that were provided with beds and encouraged to, y’know, fall asleep. (It’s now an app, too!) His latest release, just out last week, is called Exiles, and it features a lengthy new track that he composed for a ballet alongside some reimaginings of pieces he’s composed over the years.

In this conversation, Richter and Hadreas talk about how making music is about articulating what can’t otherwise be articulated, where to start when you’re working on a soundtrack, and the joys of being influenced by other music. Enjoy.

This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!

(Photo Credit: left, Mike Terry; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)

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