I wanted Radio Waves to reach someone.
The whole idea for the song sprung out of a moment several years ago when I was torn up over an ended relationship. One of the things I hate most about painful break-ups is how difficult it can be to relate naturally to that person after it's over. I felt like a robot, saying what I was supposed to say, but never really what I wanted to say. The song was my way of saying what I needed to say, sincerely and unashamedly.
I wrote the song when I was home visiting my parents in the summer. I'm from the inland desert area in southern California so it was one of those hot, impossible to sleep summer nights, and I woke up in a sweat after a strange nightmare about a satellite falling from outer space in through the window and crushing me. I stayed up all night writing the song on an electric guitar.
The song was in a way, one of my sincerest confessions. I wanted to tell this person that I loved them, despite everything. It wasn't about getting them back, its not a song of desperation, it's simply my way of saying, wherever you are in the world, the universe, whatever, wherever you go in life, I love you, and I just want you to know that.
I imagined myself a mad scientist, crossing transmission wires, interrupting satellite signals, capturing my message in a sing-a-long style song and somehow feeding it into the radio station they had tuned into at the time.
The song didn't come together musically until later. I was living in Madrid at the time and had begun to play with a group of musicians there. We put the song together in the attic of my piano player at the time, Sergio Valdehita, and that's were it took on the sort of jazz old time feel at the beginning, and the musical builds that give the choruses their power. I didn't realize just how powerful the song was until we started playing out around Madrid at our live shows. We had built up a lot of momentum on the scene there, and I remember people getting teary-eyed, others singing along at the top of their lungs, couples wrapping their arms around each other or sometimes just a person staring up at me, like I had written the song for their ears only. It's one of my favorite songs to play live. When I first wrote it, the song was a tribute to something that was gone, but now it's taken on a more hopeful quality. When we play it around new york these days, I see the affect it has on people and I know its about something living, the beginning of a love story, between all of us.