“The mind is a soft boiled potato,” sings David Byrne on his new album. As the lyric suggests, Byrne’s own brain is often powered by sideways tangents. It would be a mistake to pigeonhole David Byrne. Best known as lead singer and principal songwriter of Talking Heads, the 66-year-old resists categorization—with pleasure. He is an Oscar-winning film composer, a collaborator with Robert Wilson and Fatboy Slim, a bike-rack designer, and, more recently, creator of a virtual reality piece inspired by neuroscience research. In his spare time, he curates the website Reasons to Be Cheerful, a repository for positive things happening around the world that can be reproduced elsewhere. In March, he released American Utopia, his first solo album in 14 years. It has since taken him on a massive international tour, during which he is surely discovering more ideas to fuel his optimism. Before he embarked, Byrne sat down in New York City to discuss a heady array of topics, from This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Music Issue 50 Caroline Polachek The slow burn superstar. Music Issue 49 Tove Lo The pop star reflects on the big feelings behind her biggest hits. Music Issue 46 Lil Silva A superstar collaborator steps into the spotlight. Music Issue 43 Cat Power Musician Chan Marshall opens the door to a different dimension. Music Issue 42 Fatima Al Qadiri The shape shifting star of contemporary electronica. Arts & Culture Films Music Issue 42 Peer Review Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat pays homage to the iconic Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum.