/ Magazine / March 2019 / Five Things I learned by recording my first podcast

By Edward Bartlett

When I arrived at John Reynolds’ (aka Bass Exotic) apartment on a beautiful sunny afternoon for the interview, I had one major thought on my mind:

Don’t. Get. To. Know. John.
At least... not until the tape was rolling. Our mutual friend, Arash, offered this advice. The feeling of spontaneous discovery would make the interview more exciting and relatable. So as I set up the equipment, fighting every urge to ask questions, I mentally reviewed some of things we had in common.

We had met at a house music party months earlier - but my memory of that night was just a blur of dark shadows and colorful projections.
Having thrown warehouse parties in my past life in Baltimore, I was curious to see how things were done in my new town of San Diego.

A good party has a surreal feel, and I love learning the art behind the magic - how organizers decorate and light a space to create a unique atmosphere. This interview was an opportunity for me – not only to get to know one of the best magicians in San Diego, but also to learn the art of podcasting. I’d like to share what I learned to help make your first podcast better.

1. Take the time to get the technical issues right.

Test everything: the location of the microphone, the settings on the microphone, the computer software. Do sound checks and listen closely to that audio. Eliminate ambient sounds: turn off loud appliances, close windows, keep pets away, and be aware of people who may enter the space.

In the first few minutes of recording, keep an eye out for anomalies. On our first take, I peeked at my GarageBand software and noticed it was recording about five seconds of audio, erasing it, then recording five new seconds. Turns out it was in some kind of loop mode. You don’t want to record an entire podcast and then realize you need to do it over again!

2. Be aware of filler speech: “like,” ”umm,” ”you know…”

Many of us have this habit; I’m no exception. It’s not an issue in normal conversation, but it’s annoying to hear on a podcast. Consider recording a mock podcast with a friend to practice speaking more slowly and deliberately to eliminate filler speech.

3. Bring a soft cover for the table, such as a blanket.

This is for a couple reasons. A hard table adds echo to voices. Also, many people tend to touch the table while speaking, and all those vibrations get picked up loud and clear in the recording.

4. Decide in advance what sort of mood you’re going for.

Bantering and casual? Structured and informational? Neither way is more right, it just depends on what you’re going for. I didn’t think about this beforehand, so when the interview became more conversational, I felt unnecessarily awkward.

5. Don’t be nervous!

It’s not as scary as it seems. Pretend that all of one person will ever listen; that takes the pressure off. Don’t hold back just because you don’t want to produce something crappy. If you don’t believe me, listen to Joe Rogan’s first-ever podcast. It’s bad. Record something crappy, learn from it, and keep recording!

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