NYC MTA Be Damned: James Murphy Still Confident His Subway Symphony Will Happen

James Murphy loves New York, but those sour subway sounds are bringing him down. 

The former LCD Soundsystem mastermind wants to liven up New Yorkers' subway rides the same way he livened up their record collections. He's trying to replace those dissonant turnstile swipe sounds with polyphonic beeps and bloops that would give each station its own unique electronic orchestra. But convincing the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority, aka the people who run the subways) is no easy task. 

LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy: 'If You Think Music Is Silly, Try the Film Business'

Murphy has been living in the city since 1989 and he's spent the better part of that time trying to get this Subway Symphony project off the ground. He claims his model would help the hearing and visually impaired just like the current plan, and would be a slam dunk to install when the MTA tweaks its turnstiles in 2019 and moves on from Metrocards. "We can't and won't do it," an MTA spokesperson told the Gothamist this month, but Murphy is undeterred. Now with a corporate sponsor, he checked in on the status of the project with Billboard. 

LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy to Open Wine Bar in New York


In addition to the Subway Symphony, Murphy also discussed what it's like when fans try to talk to him on the subway (it's nowhere near as awkward as it sounds!), why he doesn't listen to music on the subway, what book he's reading, and his favorite coffee spots at the moment. LCD may be done, but Murphy and his myriad passion projects aren't going anywhere. And that's a good thing.