Christopher Golub is not a Radiohead hater.
Golub's Brooklyn-based company Studio Orca curates the music played in Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has over 1,400 locations. In honor of the Colorado-based restaurant chain's twentieth anniversary this weekend, we profiled Golub ("Black Beans, White Stripes") in this week's issue, and when the piece came out, it caught the attention of many media outlets, including Salon and NME, the latter of which erroneously reported that Radiohead is "banned" from Chipotle's playlists.
"For Chipotle, and for me personally, we're big fans," says Golub, referring to himself and restaurant founder Steve Ells. "We're big fans of Radiohead and Thom Yorke... He's one of my heroes."
Actually, there are two Radiohead songs on the playlist currently being streamed to more than 1,400 Chipotles around the world: the subdued "Separator" and the funky, glitchy single "Lotus Flower," both from The King Of Limbs. "These work really, really well," Golub told me today over the phone. "There's a fullness to them."
Although Golub says it's not an exact science which songs will sound good inside the metallic confines of a Chipotle restaurant ("It's one of those things that when you hear it, you know it," he says), today's trend of scratchy, '70s-inspired rock often makes for a poor fit in the NYC Chipotle where he tests out his playlists. That means some Radiohead songs don't necessarily make the cut. "We love what they do," Golub says, "but sometime all of it doesn't work. It can be abrasive."
But certainly no song or band has been outright banned. Just listen to the Chipotle Radio playlists, which stream 24/7 on the company's website, to sample the diversity of Golub's creations, which hop from the Smiths to Ziggy Marley and back to Blondie's "Rapture," all in the space of a single lunch.
For more on the science behind the sounds of Chipotle, read our full interview with Golub.
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