Abumrad remembers his childhood, which could be described as lonely, with great fondness.
“I was kind of an awkward kid, not very good at socialising, so I would nerd out. I had a little synthesiser and a little four-track cassette recorder… creating these little whooshy soundscapes that for me felt like mental travel,” he says. “I don’t remember it as being lonely, I remember it as kind of amazing. I still do that. So much of my life is super social… but I still escape into my room and just kind of nerd out on the synth.”
After throwing himself into one of New York’s more dysfunctional community radio stations, Abumrad learned the basics, moved his way into public radio, and had several epiphanies that would eventually lead to Radiolab.
“The brain space that you have to get in to compose music is in a way very similar to the brain space you have to get in to compose ideas,” he says. “It’s technical – it involves aspects of structure and flow.”
“I can engineer a story from the inside out,” he says. “I see it very mechanically – what a story needs and what it is.”