Tue, 19 January 2016
In Episode #37 I was joined by John Seabrook, author of The Song Machine: Inside the hit factory. John is a writer for the excellent The New Yorker where he writes about "... the intersection between commerce and creativity in the fields of technology, design, and music."
The Song Machine is brilliantly researched and Seabrook takes us on a journey from the heady days of record breaking album sales right up to the current era of Spotify and the artist as performer, not creator, of hit songs. Performers aside, there are two constants as we journey through the hit factory; songwriters, and producers. The role of both has evolved dramatically to give us the type of hyper-produced pop music that currently dominates the charts.
As John himself puts it: "... modern pop [produces] industrial-strength products, made for malls, stadiums, airports, casinos, gyms and the Super Bowl halftime show. The music reminded me a little of the bubble-gum pop of my preteen years, but it was vodka-flavored and laced with MDMA."
During our conversation we discussed:
I came to John's book as someone who hasn't engaged with pop music for almost 20 years. One of the achievements of The Song Machine is that Seabrook manages to dissect the pop industry without judging it, an objective stance that seemed to rub off on me. My youtube playlist is now full of Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, Adele, and Ke$ha and while this is slightly embarrassing for a 39 year old man I've also just discovered Kendrick Lamar, something that wouldn't have happened had I not read the book.
Enjoy the episode. Dave
For full episode notes please visit the inspireland podcast blog.
Wed, 6 January 2016
In this episode I was joined by filmmaker, teacher, and personal friend Frank Berry. Frank's latest award winning feature film, I Used To Live Here, is an examination of the phenomenon of suicide clusters told entirely using a cast and crew from an area affected by one such cluster.
Our conversation included;
Frank was a thoughtful, sincere, and inspiring guest.
Visit inspirelandpodcast for the full episode notes. Enjoy. Dave