Heroin was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in 2002. At the time, I was trying to think of moments in my life when I learned a lesson that turned out later to be important to me. I remembered that I had been a very nerdy classical music person who in high school got very interested in rock and roll. I thought I knew the kind of emotional narrative of each world—classical music was for big noble thoughts and ideas, rock and roll was for dancing and girls. Then I heard the Velvet Underground. Actually, the first Velvet Underground song I heard was the dark and very disturbing Venus in Furs, with its droning viola and sadomasochist lyrics. I remember thinking this music was dangerous, and I had never thought of any other music in that way before. This association of music and danger is something I have tried to capture many times in the years since. For this song I wanted to see if I could recall that feeling of danger by setting Lou Reed’s lyrics with my new music. Heroin was the first song off that record that I transformed this way.