WELCOME BACK to Podd Deep!
Big five right here… I’m AIMING to keep these weekly and so far your boy is proving good on his word - so with any luck, we’re on the right path for a weekly podcast celebration right here. I truly appreciate you reading, glancing, skimming, however you choose to absorb this, and of course I hope you find some good bits and pieces to enjoy.
I can’t resist bringing up podcasts to people in conversation just get a feel for who’s listening or even aware of them. Sometimes I take it for granted that not everyone knows what they are and not everyone listens to them, so I’m trying to find ways to explain what they are in the most basic way while trying to flaunt them a bit too - I tailor it to who I’m speaking to but it’s really interesting hearing what people say. Some people love them and straight off the bat will reel off a list of what they’re listening to, others might not know what they are (I just say “radio on the internet” and take it from there), and some want to get into them but don’t know where to start. Of course! If you don’t have a lineup of shows to listen to or a few go-to’s then what would you invest your time in? Would it be worth diving into a single episode of Radiolab and seeing how you feel? Or would you take a punt on Never Not Funny and see how that sits? It’s tough… Some are stand alone, evergreen shows and you can just go in on any given episode and you’re good. Others might offer so much more when you get to know the hosts, the arc if there is one, the running jokes or themes, the nicknames, the theme tunes, all that stuff. It can be intimidating. Add to that the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of podcasts out there already AND THEY KEEP GENERATING AND REGENERATING AND THERE IS NO STOPPING THEM. So - while this blog is a mere one or two podcasts at a time - I like to think it can be a helping hand to hold in this wide world of broadcasts. I will try and add more eventually, but stick with me - you’ll surely find something for your listening schedule, whether you’re a 9 dan professional or 20 kyu. Can you tell I just sat through a documentary about the game Go? Well, I did. You don’t have to. It’s rough going. Stick with podcasts yo.
PODSTOCK • CHEERS TO ALL WHO CAME THROUGH!
Podstock at The BFI was an absolute smash! What an awesome event to have at such a beautiful venue. The BFI often comes up on the Kermode & Mayo film podcast as Mark Kermode often does talks and shows from there, and it made total sense as it has a ton of screening rooms which are perfectly formed and ideal for projecting film or hosting talk-based events. I produce Scroobius Pip’s ‘Distraction Pieces Podcast’, which is on Pip’s own Distraction Pieces Network, which is home to - among a bunch of incredible shows - ‘Films To Be Buried With’, with Brett Goldstein (Superbob! Corner Boys! Doctor Who! More!). I produce this show, and Brett hosted a live version here at Podstock with extra special guest WILL POULTER (Maze Runner! Son Of Rambow! Detroit! Narnia! The Revenant!). It was a killer! One of the best. I was on visuals up in the projection booth (which was all maintained and handled immaculately by Alexa the projectionist), and will be producing the recording for a live episode down the line. Brett and Will did some awesome business up on the stage there, with some witty, fascinating, serious and super entertaining anecdotes and memories about set life, co-stars, and this whole acting and podcasting life… You’ll hear that on the podcast soon, and I’ll get to it here on Podd Deep soon enough, but I just wanted to give a shout to the event. It would be incredible for there to be more live celebrations of this kind of thing, and it gives such a great opportunity to people to meet and see the hosts of their favourite shows. Bigups to the BFI and to Brett and Will for a dope show. Loved it.
Special bigups also to the very hard to spell ‘Ghibliotheque’ podcast - Brett and I had time to sit in on this one, which was a live interview with director of The Red Turtle Michael Dudok de Wit. At this time, the screening room was very warm and cosy, the talk was very meditative and I fully admit, I did nod off a few times. It was fascinating but I had that late evening train sensation where you’re in a situation that propels you towards sleepy times. It was great though, really interesting chat and in the green room the director came up and told me he recognised me too - “Don’t I know you from somewhere…?” / “Ummm… Dooo… You…???” / “Aren’t the UK’s most knowledgable Studio Ghibli expert?” - I could have blagged this route for all it was worth but come on, I would have been exposed for the fraud I was around two questions in. “So you like Spirited Away?” / “I mean, sure, of course! One of the best.” / “So what are your thoughts on the middle act and how that relates to the 1300’s folklore traditions of (etc etc etc)?” - and that’s where I pull the ripcord. Apparently I look like the UK’s leading expert anyway. I’m intrigued now to meet my anime loving doppelganger.
PODD DEEP • Volume 005 • Heat Rocks
TO SUM IT UP IN A SENTENCE
A per-episode display of pure album monogamy.
WHERE TO FIND IT
http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/heat-rocks - that’s the main site. You’ll find the entire back catalogue of shows there, along with everything else on the Maximum Fun network. For more info on that, peep Volume 4 of Podd Deep! I go in.
WHO MAKES IT?
The two voices you will hear consistently on Heat Rock are those of Morgan Rhodes and Oliver Wang. Two of my favourite voices in podcasting. If pushed I would go for Morgan’s voice. I’ve been a fan of Bahamadia since 1993, and since I haven’t heard her for a good many years, I’ve been missing her in my life. I feel like Morgan has filled that space, with a beautiful, buttery velvet presence which instantly makes me think of Bahamadia or a deeper Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets. She and Oliver complement each other perfectly, vocally and in personality with a very warm and friendly relationship. They host the show, and it’s assembled by Kara Hart.
WHAT IS IT?
Heat Rocks is a show where a chosen guests picks out their all time favourite album - their Heat Rock - we all have one, right…? - and goes into it, in depth, with Morgan and Oliver. In some ways it has elements in common with Dissect, but this is more based around personal connections with albums and why they mean so much to each guest. By no means self indulgent - this isn’t the aural equivalent of taking a selfie with an album sleeve. It’s far more inclusive and definitely more of a recommendation based approach. If you already know the album, this might solidify your love and appreciation of it. If not, this will surely inspire you to take a closer look. One thing about the modern methods of listening to music, it’s usually playlists, single tracks, curated lists or whatever. It’s all good but it’s nice to appreciate the entire album sometimes, especially when it comes to stone cold unfuckwithable classics. It’s just a whole different experience. This is obvious I know but I myself find that my attention can jump around all over the place on occasion and usually when I listen to a whole album, start to finish, I feel like my heart rate goes down and I’m in a completely different zone. Playlists these days tend to agitate me - unless it’s really carefully picked I guess… So here, you will be treated to the longform approach, an appreciation of an album as a whole, complete being. When I say being, I mean, you know what I mean.
WHEN DOES IT COME OUT?
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT IT?
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about hearing people talk with love and knowledge about music and film that makes me immediately want to jump in on it, watch it or listen to it right away. I have it with movie clip shows - Mark Kermode (his presence is summoned for the second time here) had a show recently where he was breaking down film genres, like heist films, romcoms, etc. Just showing clips and talking about the films completely does it for me. I had the same with this mini programme thing called ‘Perverts Guide To Cinema’ with the fantastic Slavoj Zizek. He actually went to the lengths of framing certain shots exactly like the originals he was referring to but there were clips involved, and all I wanted to do was rewatch the Hitchcock back catalogue. Maybe it’s the act of someone confirming why it’s good or has meaning, maybe it’s that. I hate to think I’m that obvious and I need confirmation of things in order to enjoy them, but perhaps sometimes it is that! Well - all this being said - let it be known that I have VERY much the same reaction when it comes to music. Aaand this is where Heat Rocks comes in.
I saw that there was an episode featuring one of the greatest photographers in Hip Hop, B+, which is enough in itself to guarantee I listen in. But it turned out that he’d selected one of my favourite albums to talk about, Freestyle Fellowship’s ‘To Whom It May Concern’. I talk sometimes about episodes of podcasts that are the gateway - sometimes you need that helping hand, a touchpoint of sorts, to ease you in and also something you’re totally familiar with. Like a breadcrumb trail I suppose… So if it’s a format like this, where there’s a guest on talking about a specific topic, you’re in good shape because then you can get in and see how the ideas and opinions stack up against your own. In doing this, you get to know the show, and in getting to know and enjoy the show you get to hear from a lot of different people, and some of which you will not know at all. And who knows where that trail will go! Maybe you’ll hear them on another podcast, maybe you’ll see their name in an article that you might not have read otherwise, maybe they’ll turn up in conversation and now you have something to talk about! It’s great - that’s like the off-shoot superpower of podcasts. I’ve found I have more to offer these days about subjects that I might have been entirely oblivious to before. Sometimes admittedly I have half remembered facts and might have to jump out the conversational car halfway but still - it’s something.
ANYWAY - tangents aside (that was a long one) - this episode about Freestyle Fellowship’s debut was just wonderful. I hadn’t heard it in a while, and was in a nostalgic kind of mood anyway (revisiting old 90’s stuff and taking all kinds of trips down memory lane) so I was in the exact right mode to hear someone talk about this. So to hear someone go off on how good it is, alongside bonus nuggets of trivia and some stories about B+ himself, who has worked with just about every 90’s rapper and a whole ton of others besides (sorry, not JUST rappers from the 90’s!) - it was a treat. Perhaps this one was made more resonant with my own memories from that era, and pictures in my mind of old Source and HHC magazines, and that LA scenery playing in my mind, but I’m so glad it hit me because from then on, if that was what the show was, I was absolutely sold. It’s basically a free and easy chat, with very green-lights hosts who aren’t there to pick holes or disagree - they really keep it moving and are just a friendly consistent element that (as I’ve said before) you can trust. They 100% know their shit, demonstrably as the shows go on, and with that in mind you can really relax and enjoy it. I think that’s the key. It’s made by pro’s who clearly know what they’re talking about, have a very clear and direct way of talking and know how to conduct a conversation. You can’t really ask for more. It helps that the selections from the guests are regularly absolute FIRE too. Can’t hurt right?
WHAT’S THE FORMAT?
Up top you are greeted by the grimace-inducing slice of gorgeous slice of LA funk ‘Crown Ones’ by Thes One (the instrumental to the People Under The Stairs track)…
…which serves as the running theme music to the show. To this, add the introductions from our hosts, who introduce themselves and then the album the guest will talk about. Then the guest is introduced with some of their music (if they’re a musician - this isn’t always the case), and we’re away. There are questions, tangents, anecdotes, tales, and clips cut in of the tracks being referenced. Mid-way you have some ads for other shows on the Maximum Fun network, and then we’re back in. There are two regular questions, where the guest is asked what the ‘fire track’ is and what’s the ‘sleeper jam’, and then we’re out with some credits and a preview of next week’s episode. Super tight and sometimes changing, but that’s the main format.
PAST GUESTS INCLUDE…
Dam-Funk, Bahamadia, Eliza Skinner, Cut Chemist, Cole Cuchna (Dissect podcast), Joi, B+, Brother Ali, Pharoah Monch, The Shacks, and some glorious others.
LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
I mean, you’ll get more out of it if you concentrate! But there’s not a story as such in each episode, so if you derail slightly and your thoughts lead you elsewhere, you’ll be fine. Usually you’ll be reset on the next track or the next question, so no need to trip too hard.
HOW MANY EPISODES AT THE TIME OF POSTING THIS?
I can see 60 on my reader. You need to dive in on this one - find a guest or album you like (it won’t be difficult) or simply slide in like you’ve been there since the beginning, and you’ll be set.
BINGE OR ONE AT A TIME?
You can binge this one SO easily. One episode can easily lead into the next and boom, three hours has passed.
WHAT IS MY HEAT ROCK?
‘Three Feet High And Rising’ by De La Soul has already been taken, so WHEN I get my invite to be on the show (I’ve heard it’s being written and drawn up and it might take a while, seeing as I’m over in Margate and they’re in the US, you know how it goes), I’ll be speaking about ‘Curtis/Live’ by Curtis Mayfield. I fucking LOVE this album, it’s perfect from start to finish. A permanent go-to for me, in most given situations. Fool-proof and perfect.
…and go from there!
A slammer right here. You’ll dig it. Get in there immediately and take some for a listen eh…?
More on those soon…!