Elon Musk

For this special Guest DJ Project set, we took a field trip to the SpaceX headquarters to visit with Founder and CEO Elon Musk. He is revolutionizing transportation both to space and on earth, via Tesla Motors and Hyperloop. He is also one of the creators of Pay Pal. For his Guest DJ set, we learn about his early beginnings as an inventor, the song he whistles while he works and much more. (Hosted by Raul Campos)

1. Frank Sinatra - "Fly Me To the Moon"
2. Monty Python - "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"
3. Team America World Police - "America, {expletive} Yeah!"
4. Andrea Bocelli - "Con Te Partiro"
5. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

Raul Campos: Hey, I’m Raul Campos from KCRW and I’m here with entrepreneur Elon Musk; best known for co-founding PayPal as well as CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Today, we are here to talk about songs that have inspired him over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Elon, thank you for inviting us here to SpaceX. This is really, really cool.

Elon Musk: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on the show.

RC: “Fly Me To The Moon”…

EM: (Laughter) That’s the obvious one.

RC: (Laughs) The obvious one. Explain a little bit, why Frank Sinatra?

EM: I like the sense of possibility and it’s really inspiring. And I’d really like to fly to the moon. (Laughter)

RC: Well, I’m sure that’s going to happen pretty soon!

EM: Yeah, absolutely. You know, obviously I own a space company, I’m going to tend to like something that involves flying to the moon. You hear this song and it sounds like it’s really going to happen.

RC: Well, lets check out “Fly me to the Moon”, Frank Sinatra, as selected by our guest DJ Elon Musk, right here on KCRW.com

*Song: Frank Sinatra - Fly me to the Moon*

RC: You’re known as the entrepreneur, but what was the first thing you ever sold? Or said, ‘wow, you know what, I have this knack for designing stuff and things that people like.’

EM: I kind of think of myself more as an engineer and a designer rather than as an entrepreneur. In that, the things that I’m interested in are advanced technology and the things that are pushing to the forefront and I think the things that are perhaps likely to change the future of humanity in a positive way. And I’ve found out that I needed to run the company in order to design and engineer the things that are important, or that I think of as important, otherwise somebody else makes me do a different thing.

I guess that the first thing that I sold when I was a kid was… I wrote this computer game called “Blastar.” It was sort of a space war game that I thought was cool because I thought that, ‘Wow. I got paid money to make a game. That’s great.’ (Laughter)

RC: How old were you?

EM: Maybe about 12 or so.

RC: Wow! That’s crazy! What’s the next one we are going to check out?

EM: It’s “Always Look on the Bright side of life.” And it’s from [the Monty Python film] “Life of Brian” and obviously it’s a pretty funny song because [the characters] are being crucified at the time. (Laughter) But I think it is a good reminder not to get focused on the negative things in life. And my personal philosophy is I’d rather be optimistic and wrong rather than pessimistic and right.

RC: Now, you are originally from South Africa. What was your first introduction to the Monty Python?

EM: I saw it first when I was pretty young, probably about 8 or 9 or something and I didn’t quite get it. (Laughter)

RC: So, Elon, talk about this wheel of cheese that went up into space.

EM: You know, I’m a big believer in not getting too corporate and losing any sort of sense of humor. When we did the first test flight of our Dragon spacecraft, we were thinking of what sort of interesting and wacky things we can put on there and I really liked the cheese shop sketch from Monty Python. So it was like, “lets put a big wheel of cheese on the spacecraft.’ So we got the biggest wheel of cheese the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop had – a giant wheel of stinky Gruyere. And we kept it secret because if something had gone wrong with the flight, then people would have thought that perhaps we’ve been distracted by the cheese or something. We don’t ever really want to be a boring corporate situation. It’d better to have a sense of humor and don’t get too wrapped up in yourself.

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Space cheese!

RC: So let’s get into the tune from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Our guest DJ is Elon Musk and we’re hanging out here at SpaceX.

*Song: Monty Python - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life*

RC: So that was, “Always look on the bright side of life,” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Our guest DJ is Mr. Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla. What’s this next tune that you have for us here?

EM: This is, “America, Blank, Yeah” (Laughter)

RC: And we should say that the “blank” starts with an ‘F’ (Laughs)

EM: (Laughs) Yeah, right. That is from the movie, “Team America”. I’m a big fan of “South Park.” The shows that I watch, they just capture a little bit of essence of America in both a good and a bad way.

RC: You can say that a little bit. (Laughter)

EM: I think it’s funny and inspiring in a weird way – a song that just kind of gets you fired up. (Laughs) It’s just cool. I like it.

RC: So let’s get into it. “America, F Yeah!” from “Team America.” Our guest DJ is Elon Musk. Known for PayPal, SpaceX and the infamous arcade game Blastar!

*Song: Team America World Police Theme - America, {expletive} Yeah!*

RC: This is KCRW.com. Raul Campos here with Elon Musk and we are just picking tunes and we just heard “America, F Yeah!” and now were are going to kind of flip the script and go to something quite on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s Andrea Bocelli.

EM: Right. I think “Con Te Partiro” is an incredibly beautiful song.

EM: It’s really calming. And, it’s just a really beautiful song. And obviously Andrea Bocelli is just an incredible singer.

RC: Well, when you need to be in that kind of relaxed mode or to put you in a mellow environment, is this something that you go to?

EM: Yeah, it is actually. I think that song is kind of a reminder that the world is a beautiful place. It’s an incredibly beautiful song, sung really beautifully so I think that’s why it makes me feel that way about the world.

RC: Alright. So let’s get into this Italian superstar, Andrea Bocelli, “Con Te Partiro,” right here on KCRW.com.

*Song: Andrea Bocelli - Con Te Partiro*

RC: Our guest DJ is Elon Musk picking tunes that have inspired him over the years. Well, I’ll let you explain, the next one we’re playing. What’s this one we are going to get into?

EM: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

I personally don’t understand it, but it’s the song that I whistle the most. I don’t even realize I’m whistling it. I just go into auto-whistle and this one comes up more than any other so I must like it at a subconcious level, but I’m not entirely sure why. I could guess. It’s sort of a positive song. I mean, who doesn’t like Santa Claus? I guess it’s good to have him come to town. (Laughter)

RC: You came here in the late ‘80s.. Did you come with a vision or with a hope of finding something in The States or in Canada?

EM: Well, when I was growing up I read a lot of books and bought a lot of comics and things and it just seemed like interesting things happen in America. And particularly with the perspective to cutting edge technology – it seemed to happen in America almost all of the time and I was really interested in being involved in the cutting edge of technology. That’s what got me excited and I knew I wanted to come to America. In college, I was able to transfer to U Penn. I do think America is the greatest country in the world. I don’t think it’s flawless, obviously, it’s not perfect, but it’s the least imperfect country in the world.

*Song: Santa Claus is Coming to Town*

RC: So that was, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Of course! So, Elon, I can’t let you go without hearing a little bit of the whistling! How about some “Fly Me to the Moon.”

EM: [Whistles to the tune of “Fly Me to the Moon.”] (Laughter)

RC: That is awesome! So that was such a wide variety. Thank you so much for taking a little bit of time out. I know you are a super busy guy and you’ve got a lot going on, but we really appreciate you taking a little time out to chit chat with us and play some tunes, so thank you.

EM: You’re welcome.

RC: So for a complete track listing and to find these songs online, go to KCRW.com/guestdjproject