London-based composer and pianist Elliot Galvin always wanted to start a music podcast. But there were a few things that had him on the fence. For one, he wanted to be able to use music in the episodes, and that often comes with a lot of copyright risk — except on Mixcloud.
Uploading that first episode was one of his proudest decisions. Today, Elliot hosts "Music and..." and talks to fellow musicians like Binker Golding, Shabaka Hutchings, and many more about one unique passion each has outside of music. Be it climbing, art, cookery, or anything in between, Elliot finds out how these passions have influenced each of their creative works.
Being a musician himself with an impressive catalog of music recorded with world-renown artists like Marius Neset, Mark Lockheart, Emma-Jean Thackray, Binker Golding, and many more, Elliot's podcast is an audiophile's delight—an hour-long journey where we nerd out about music and inspiration.
We invited him to speak on the six lessons he’s learned from having run “Music and..,” for over a year now; read more to find out how you can take your podcast to the next level.
Choose Your Niche
There are so many great podcasts out there, especially about music, that if you’re going to create a new one it’s worth thinking about what it is you want to say before anything else. We all have interesting, unique ideas to share, but it’s a matter of narrowing down what that is for you. “I realized I was having a lot of passionate conversations with musician friends about subjects outside of music,” explains Elliot, “and realized that could be a really interesting angle to take when interviewing musicians for my show.”
Get a Good DAW (and maybe a couple of good plug-ins!)
Speed of workflow is very important, so it’s really useful to use a DAW (digital audio workstation) you’re familiar with when editing your show. Also, investing in a good EQ and Compression plugin makes all the difference to the mixing process. It really brings presence and clarity to the recordings.
The best way to make your show feel organic and flow well is to plan as much as possible. You’ll want to deeply research your guests and have several talking points ahead of the interview. With that said, don’t be afraid to abandon them if an interesting conversational avenue opens up.
"Preparing ahead not only gives you more confidence as the interviewer but also boosts your guest's confidence. They’ll appreciate that you respect them enough to have prepared questions, rather than going through the motions" states Elliot. Planning will also elevate your content in post-production; have playlists ready to use, templates of how the show should fit together, and an easy set-up, to help keep the time focused on making your show.
Keep Interviews Short and Focused
“A big learning for me in the early days was to keep the interviews focused,” says Elliot, “you can record lots of long rambling chats, but afterward you have to go back through and edit them down!” Save yourself a lot of time by keeping the initial interview duration shorter.
Use Mixcloud Stats to Learn About Your Audience
Hosting a a music podcast is made very easy on Mixcloud. For one, you edit clips of songs into the podcast without worrying about copyright infringement. For two, it gives creators access to a toolkit that helps in understanding your audience. You can see where they’re tuning in from, or for how long; this can help you better pick your guests (maybe choose an artist from a location you’re very popular in) and the optimal length of your podcast.
Most importantly, enjoy what you’re making, it can take up a lot of time, but if you enjoy it you’ll give it the time it needs and the show will be a whole lot better for it.