Maybe this should be filed under answers to “Ben, what can we listen to while we’re waiting for you to drop a new record?”
I am someone who for a long time abandoned radio as I found I wasn’t enjoying much of the talk and I wasn’t discovering much new music that I liked. I found new music via researching musicians I liked – who worked with who and what else have they done?.. via social media and via friends.
I ended up coming to podcasts as a way of making some of the chores in life more fulfilling… a bit of entertainment during those tasks where the brain has a lot of slack. Some of these are (inevitably :) ) music related and some are not. I’ve documented them here in order of discovery, according to my memory and app of choice.
(Incidentally, if you’re using an android device for managing and listening to Podcasts, Podcast Republic is excellent).
Tiny Desk Concerts – Hopefully you’ve come across NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts before… if not, go and check them out! They are a wonderful archive of intimate live videoed performances by artists well known and less well known. And it turns out they are available as an audio podcast too. Some of my favourites so far – Thundercat, Andersoon .Paak & The Free Nationals, Erykah Badu, Tedeschi Trucks Band, H.E.R., DakhaBrakha.
The Third Story features in depth interviews with creative souls who’ve found a way to make a living doing what they love. Lovingly curated by Leo Sidran, these interviews are a real goldmine… scan down the list of names and I’m sure you’ll find some familiar names, maybe some not so familiar, but here in these charmingly meandering conversations are some real insights into the relationship with craft, the luck, the hard work, the hard earned wisdom. I’ve particularly enjoyed the interviews with Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, David Garibaldi, Jack Stratton and Jesse Harris so far. Any Vulfpeck obsessives will be happy to find he’s interviewed most of the band.
Song Exploder again I think is a goldmine for anyone who writes songs or makes records… these interviews feature musicians taking apart their songs and recordings and revealing how they came to be.
The Life Scientific is broadcast on BBC Radio 4… I accidentally caught some of it one day and, wanting to hear the end, I discovered this wonderful collection of interviews with leading scientists about their work.
Grid Kids hosted by musician Nicholas Semrad features interviews with other musicians encouraging them to share their experiences of the creative process and the music business. I’ve particularly enjoyed the interviews with Louis Cole, and with Tim Lefevre and Rachel Eckroth.
Short Cuts is another BBC programme… but very different to anything listed above. It’s an unpredictable collage of sounds and short documents presented by Josie Long. I find some hit or miss, but they’re often thought provoking and always quirky. My favourites so far have been Mistaken Identity and The Watchers.
Lastly some unattached episodes I’ve enjoyed…
This interview with Richard Julian
This episode of A Grey Matter – “The Science of Musical Creativity”
…and this is niche interest – the Pods and Sods network posted 3 episodes of interviews with people who worked with and/or were influenced by the late great Allan Holdsworth. Very variable quality… but some gems in there – EM46, EM47, EM48.