The first time we took up the RPM challenge (write and record an album in one month) was shortly after our friend and Tiny Desk Unit drummer Lorenzo “Pee Wee” Jones died. The three founding members of Washington D.C.’s Tiny Desk Unit -- Michael Barron, Susan Mumford and Bob Boilen -- “got together” (Michael was collaborating from the West Coast) and we made what was the very first full length Tiny Desk Unit studio album. That 2007 record was called Sputnik Fell on My Birthday.
2008 gave birth to Danger Painters, both the album and the band, just Michael and Bob. iii, our third album, found Bob Boilen writing songs with words and singing, a personal challenge he tackled for the first time. There’s also a song from William X Harvey, some singing from friend Kelli Scarr (Bob met Kelli when she came to NPR to sing with Moby on a project). We also found our primary songwriter, Michael Barron's singing and playing stronger than ever. The very nature of the challenge means that these songs might have benefitted from a little more time, but there is also a freedom in that deadline, knowing that it doesn’t need to be perfect, and in that freedom, I think there’s a bit more risk taking and a little more adventure.