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Weekend Soundtrack

Midnight in a Perfect World

Bill Radke

Michael Raphael

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Running Partners
(Jesse Lugus)
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Bill Radke: Jesse, I feel easygoing.

Jesse Lugus: Yeah. As soon as I hear that opening, it calms me down. I feel my heart rate slowing, I'm relaxed, and it's just fantastic. I love that.

What does it calm you down from?

Lately it's been the stress of being a graduate student. Just working, working, working, and having very little time to do other things. It's really my weekend soundtrack because it's the thing that reminds me, "All right, the week's over. Now you can put the successes and the failures behind you and move forward and hopefully do more pleasurable things."

Why is this the song that takes you to that stress-free place?

I first heard this when I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin. I started listening to it a lot during one summer. It was the kind of thing that I was always falling asleep to. And I had this fantastic summer that was very relaxing. I had a lot of time to myself because both of my roommates were gone. It takes me back to it being three or four in the morning, heading home and knowing that I'm going to get to go to sleep pretty soon. Just everything is right and everything is good in the world.

What is lab life like? A lot of us don't know what that world is like.

It can be pretty grueling. It can be filled with a lot of frustration. There's a very famous scientist named Judah Folkman, and he has this quote that I'm probably going to botch: "Successful science is a single success in a desert of failure." And sometimes things are pretty rough! You leave the lab, it's late, and just nothing went right. But it's a lot of time being very meticulous. You really need to have a lot of focus.

It's hard to do other things while you're doing lab work. I find that I have a hard time even listening to music or listening to the radio, because you have to be paying attention to everything you're doing, every bit of liquid you're moving around or every piece of tissue you're moving. You have to make sure you don't mix anything up, otherwise you can set yourself back over a month.

What does the title mean to you: "Midnight in a Perfect World"?

It holds the promise! The perfect world is different things to different people, but midnight means it's the end of one day and the beginning of a new one. So "Midnight in a Perfect World" is sort of the beginning of another great day, and you can make that happen for yourself.

Jesse Lugus, thank you so much for sharing your weekend soundtrack.

Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.

  • Music Bridge:
    Midnight in a Perfect World
    Artist: DJ Shadow
    CD: Endtroducing... (Mo' Wax)
More stories from our Weekend Soundtrack series

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