Like a duet or dance, it’s about making your creative partner succeed

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The co-authors of Two Beats Ahead, Panos A. Panay and R. Michael Hendrix; photo: Kimberly Panay, 2018

In 2016 I was approached to write a book. I turned it down, only to find myself working on it a year later. The reason was that along with my initial decline, I had pointed the agents to my friend Panos whom I met through teaching at Berklee College of Music. Panos said he’d love to write it… but only with me. And so we did.

I went into this naively, knowing nothing about writing a book or the mechanics of getting a publishing deal. Thankfully we were guided by our agents, but one thing I regretfully didn’t insist upon…


An Interview with the Creators of “Improvised Explosive Denied”

I saw faces growing inside faces, trees becoming people, landscapes melting like ice cream, and bodies turning into fruit. Even if this was just the effect of artificial intelligence and not drugs, it was still a head trip. I was watching a surreal video experiment—the brainchild of data scientist Ryan Cranfill—that used machine learning to produce a series of animated, Impressionist-style paintings that twitched, glitched and morphed to music.

Months before this I had written, “Improvised Explosive Denied,” (IED) a song inspired by a tangle of emotions spurred by relentless headlines…


How playing other people’s songs can get you through tough times

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Artwork for single “Unmade” by R.M. Hendrix

What’s your favorite cover song? You know, a remake? Sometimes they are really bad, but maybe so bad that they’re good? Think: William Shatner singing “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” or Pat Boone singing “Enter Sandman.” And sometimes, when they are really good, they transcend the original.

The first great cover I remember is “I Love Rock and Roll,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I loved that song and had no idea it was originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975. Her overdriven guitars brought out the…


In the electronic era everything can become music, even whales and rocks

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Landeyjahöfn by R.M.Hendrix

Iceland and Icelandic musicians have had a deep influence on my own music, beginning with Sigur Rós in 2000 when I first heard their otherworldly album, Ágætis Byrjun, translated to English as, “A Good Beginning”. It had an an ethereal and grandiose quality that I would later understand as a reflection of the landscape of the island itself.

Iceland’s countryside is a teenage Earth. It’s unsure, curious and filled with potential. It is dynamic, unpredictable, and still in transition. That is its beauty. What you see today will…


About the songs that influenced R.M.Hendrix’s War Is On Its Way

The author, R.M. Hendrix, posing as a passed out drunk, but instead of a bottle of whiskey, he’s holding a synthesizer
The author, R.M. Hendrix, posing as a passed out drunk, but instead of a bottle of whiskey, he’s holding a synthesizer
R.M.Hendrix under the influence by Solomon

During Wilco’s tongue-in-cheek song, “Late Greats,” Jeff Tweedy sings about the best song you’ve never heard: “You can’t hear it on the radio / Can’t hear it anywhere you go!” It’s familiar social currency to any pop culture nerd, the more obscure the band or song, the more important they are in the canon. Remember Rob and Barry bickering at Championship Vinyl in the film High Fidelity? This is essential music nerd behavior.

James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem, one-ups the joke in his sarcastic “Losing my Edge,” claiming a…


How an absurd moment led to the artwork for War Is On Its Way

In 2015 I gave a crash course in record sleeve design to musicians in the SXSW artist lounge. Cheekily named, “I Shot the Serif,” the talk covered the basics of typography, image, metaphor and meaning with musicians in mind. I had seen a rise in DIY artwork coinciding with the rise of DIY recording. Some of it was cool but a lot of it was just… bad. This was a shame because great music was getting packaged in ugly wrappers. …


My new ep, War Is On Its Way, dropped 09/09/2020. I shared about each song through the lens of current events throughout release week.

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R.M.Hendrix, by Solomon

For a long time I wanted to write a song about actuaries, those statisticians that calculate your life expectancy for insurance agencies. I imagined the job could go one of two ways: a) making someone extremely mindful and careful about what they eat, where they go, where they live, or b) making them a gothic metaphysicist—someone that ponders the meaning of life while humming Joy Division. Of course I would write about option B.

As I’ve…


My new ep, War Is On Its Way, dropped on 09/09/2020. I’m sharing about each song through the lens of current events throughout the week.

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Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer created a series of graphic T-shirts in the early 1980’s that have become memes with staying power. One of the most famous, “Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise,” is a cultural maxim, even finding life as a motto of the #MeToo movement. But as familiar as this phrase has become, we are regularly caught off guard when the abuse actually happens.

Last week the German government confirmed that Kremlin critic…


My new ep, War Is On Its Way, drops 09/09/2020. I’ll be sharing about each song through the lens of current events throughout the week.

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R.M.Hendrix, by Solomon

Would you call an album of modular synths, tape delays, and guitar stabs a blues album? Probably not, but the blues are here: in the lamentations, in the melodies, and in the grit. They are so deeply ingrained that I didn’t realize what this record was becoming until it was nearly done.

The first song, Secret Weapon, began with three sparse guitar strums that filled the void. After a beat, three strums replied—text book call…


My new ep, War Is On Its Way, dropped 09/09/2020. I shared about each song through the lens of current events throughout the week.

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R.M.Hendrix, by Solomon

“You should probably get a flight home,” read the text. It was 7pm in London and too late for a last minute return flight to Boston. I was going to have to sleep with this. It had been a difficult year — remember how many people were done with 2019? We thought it couldn’t get worse. And then this message. Someone back home that I loved dearly hit rock bottom and needed to be hospitalized. I…

r. michael hendrix

Author @public_affairs, Designer @IDEO, Lecturer @BerkleeCollege, Boston experimental musician @rm_hendrix. Views are my own.

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