The Curator Podcast

The Curator Podcast

United States

The Curator is a podcast about passion and creativity. Host Mark Fraser talks to some of his favourite artists to find out where their passion and drive comes from, to find out where their creative lives began and to figure out why they love doing what they do. Featuring interviews with musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, actors and comedians from all walks of life to find out one simple thing: what spark ignited that fire in their bellies? New episodes every Thursday.


46 - Our First Birthday! And a Word on the Future  

So, this week The Curator Podcast is one year old. I'm not gonna say too much in this blog because I say a lot in the podcast. Here's the facts. The podcast is one year old! After episode 50 I'll be taking a break and moving to a season based format. And each episode will be fortnightly. Thank you to everyone that has helped out, donated their time, listened to the podcast, spoken to me about, been interviewed and helped arrange guests. Every single one of your is a wonderful human being and you made this worthwhile. Here's to another year! If you stick around to the end you will finally get to hear the song I use for the intro in its entirety. I used it cause I really like that riff at the start...

45 - Vinnie Caruana  

I am continually surprised that none of the people that I’ve met whose art has affected my life in significant ways are unpleasant. I always seem to expect some kind of aloof quality in the people I meet whose work has impacted me. It’s always wonderful to realise that they are just human like you or I. We put such people on a pedestal; they become more than human because they possess a skill which is unique. So far, everyone I've met has been lovely. Don’t tell me that you’re not the same. Art which we find monumentally influential affects us for personal reasons. Our heroes become legend to us because their creative output has an ineffable quality which transcends speech, it speaks to us deeply, intimately, profoundly. Sometimes it only resonates with you at a specific point in your life, and as you grow older the influence fades. Some of these influences change into nostalgia. Some are timeless. Vinnie Caruana, like Jim Adkins, Dan Andriano, Ian MacKaye and others before him, sit in that timeless category for me. This is discussed in the podcast, but ‘Forty Hour Train Back to Penn’ was a seminal record for me. As someone who had grown up thinking that pop punk was just The Offspring, Green Day and the like, and had subsequently developed an aversion to pop punk after listening to Rise Against, The Movielife seemed like the perfect bridge between those two punk worlds - more aggressive pop punk, which had more emphasis on the punk than the pop. And that’s what I think nails the singular genius of Vinnie Caruana and Brandon Reilly. Their talent lies on taking a lot of that punk rock edge and adding some layers of melody and hookiness to it. That in itself is not a new thing, or even a unique thing, but their songwriting style is vastly different to anyone else's. It doesn’t feel like it’s aping mid 90s pop punk, it feels like a more melodic version of bands like Lifetime or Kid Dynamite, but it still has lashings of influence from great pop songwriters . It’s easy to see why Drive-Thru records found them appealing, but to me it always felt like they didn’t quite belong there. Then there’s the evolution. Vinnie’s style changes and matures a lot as his career continues. I am the Avalanche leans much more toward melodic hardcore territory than The Movielife ever did. Peace’d Out is more straight up hardcore and their EP is still a favourite of mine. His solo stuff hews closer to pop more than anything, with many songs on Survivor’s Guilt skewing more power pop than anything else, but it still has that unmistakable, undeniable Vinnie Caurana songcraft. I loved talking to this guy. So humble and thankful for what he’s been allowed to do, and he seemed like a genuinely happy dude. I hope you enjoy the interview.

44 - Stafan Babcock from PUP  

Some people may remember the amount of “hype” there was around PUP’s first record away back in 2014. It took me a while to listen to it because for some reason I remember it taking ages to get released over here in the UK. I finally managed to hear it when I found the whole thing on YouTube. It took a while to land. I don’t think I was in the right place to appreciate it at the time, but it did worm its way into my head and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. In fact, it was Dan Ozzi’s review over at VICE which really made me listen to the band a little harder. Then it was a cover of “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” for the AV Club when I properly realised I loved this band. Why it took me until 2016 to see them is anyone’s guess, but there it is. Their new album drops on May 27th 2016 and it’s pretty fucking good. I’ve had it for a few weeks and I’ve grown to adore it. There will be reviews, lots of reviews I suspect, which will laud the band on this is a natural progression, that this is a band operating on the next level, and all of it is valid. But honestly, fuck all that. Listen to the damn record. Make up your own damn mind. If you like the band, you’ll probably love it. I recorded this interview immediately after Modern Baseball, and Stefan was very generous with his time. He probably regretted it immediately afterwards because when we got back to the venue they were just setting up to go on. Anyway, the interview that follows is awesome. It was a nice relaxed vibe, and you can tell that he really, deeply loves what he does. You can also tell he’s thought about the band and his life intensely over the past couple of years. I hope you enjoy the episode.

43 - Modern Baseball  

It’s difficult to release a podcast when you’re on the road. I tried, I tried so hard. I even wrote the following blog post: “Hello. A little late this week cause I'm on the road with False Hopes (do check us out). More notes to follow but things you should know about this podcast: Modern Baseball are great This interview is a ton of fun But I wish it was longer. I hope you enjoy it!” And I edited the podcast. I spoke about being on the road during the episode. I’m now home from tour, and the podcast is going out as it was last week. Just to highlight my ineptitude. I talk about touring with Modern Baseball. How being on the road a lot kind of freezes real life. There’s also a really cool moment where we talk about the realisation that being a musician is just what they do now. And it’s a nice piece of reflection. There’s some audio issues towards the end when the doors opened and the music began to play in the venue. I wanted this interview to be much longer but I forgot my shotgun mic and it’s a total pain to edit around music so I had to cut it short. Modern Baseball create emo that’s very much in the vein of older emo bands, and there’s an emotional honesty and rawness to their music which you can tell is just part of who they are. That openness and honesty which is displayed in their music is demonstrated in this interview, and it’s always a treat to find out that someone’s as genuine as their music implies. It’s those kind of moments which makes me want to keep doing this podcast. I hope you enjoy this episode.

42 - Acey Slade  

There was a two week gap. It is a gap no more. I lost my voice, you see. You can hear it going a little bit in the interview. By the end of that night, my throat was finished, and for week afterwards I was a hoarse, croaky mess. But we’re back in action now. I have noticed that inconsistency has decimated my podcast listening figures. So if you could share this I would be forever in your debt. On this episode I speak to the one and only Acey Slade. He has been in many bands over the years, most famously the Murderdolls and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. He was also in Dope, Trashlight Vision, Acey Slade and the Dark Party, and now he’s a one man army. Something of a nomad, you could say. A musician without a place to rest his head. Constant movement seems good. Being a hired gun is more fulfilling in the long term, I think. You can always go back and focus on your own stuff, and your own vision, but people trust you to help realise their vision. It’s that trust which I find fascinating. Bands are tight knit units, and it’s difficult to enter into one of those situations as a new guy. I have a colossal amount of respect for those who are able to do that and keep doing it. I used to play Murderdolls songs with my first ever band when I was 16. That’s a good 14 years ago now. Acey may not have directly played on the first Murderdolls record, but he was there and he lived it. When I saw them live, he was the guitar player. He was responsible for transmitting that music straight into my brain. It was a formative influence but an important one. That’s why there’s a Murderdolls song in this episode. Billy Liar helped me set up this interview. I had such a good time chatting to both of them. Some cool hangs afterwards too, although I did get a sense that I was outstaying my welcome. Sometimes I forget that I’m socially awkward. Afterwards, when I reflected on the interview and the time we spent together after it, I began to realise that perhaps the medication I used to take for anxiety had more than just the obvious effects, but also much more subtle ones too. I don’t feel like I need it anymore but I do feel like part of me has changed since coming off it. Maybe that’ll go away. Or maybe that’s just who I am. This episode is a diamond, I think. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed it.

41 - Ross Barber-Smith from Bridge the Atlantic  

This interview was wrought with issues from the start. Ross and I had a really good chat and then the batter died on my trusty H6. Luckily I had a spare with me, but the recording was corrupted, so we had to start again. Which we did! And all was well! There’s quite a bit more ambient background chatter than I thought, but you can still hear us and that’s what matters. This week’s guest is Ross Barber-Smith from Bridge the Atlantic. He was one of the very first people who actually liked this podcast when it began back in May/June last year and he’s stuck with the show ever since. It’s also cool because he’s Scottish and has a very awesome podcast of his own, which I urge you to check out. My interview with Ross is slightly different than what I usually do on here. We talk a lot more about podcasting because, quite frankly, I love talking to other podcasters and there aren’t that many of us that do the creativity thing the way that we do. We get a bit technical but it’s not too heavy, so I think it makes for a really interesting listen. We also talk a bit about podcasting burnout. Which I plan to cover extensively later on in a blog post. Ross’ own story of how he got involved in music and everything that happened in his life which led him to Bridge the Atlantic is fascinating, but for me the best thing about this chat is how goddamn inspiring it is. He’s done a lot, made a bunch of friends all over the world all down excellent social media management, having a podcast and just generally being one of the nicest guys on the planet. I hope you enjoy this interview. It’s a cracker.

40 - Muncie Girls  

The struggle to write interesting, engaging questions for your guests is real. You need to do research, read between the lines of things they’ve said in the past, pay close attention to their music, lyrics, and the overall aesthetic of their art. You need to spend some time in worlds that they are creating. People may wonder why I only speak to artists that I’m a fan of. The reasons seem fairly obvious to me, but perhaps they may not be to others. I think it’s unfair to interview people whose art you are unfamiliar with. I’m not here to fill column inches, cash a paycheque or do what my editor wants me to do (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It is, in my opinion, somewhat disrespectful to chat with someone about what they do without at least being aware of how they operate or what they produce. To do this, sometimes it means listening a bit more closely to artists I like but whose music I haven’t spent a lot of time with, or maybe it means reading their work a little more closely and sometimes that means distancing myself from whatever massive emotional connection I have to an artists’ creations. Yet the most obvious reason to me is that I only want to speak to artists whose art I have reacted to, and lived with for a while - artists’ whose work is interesting to me, basically. People love talking about their art and why they create it. It’s natural to want to discuss what you do because by throwing your art into the world you want to know that it is being received and understood, that people are responding to it. One thing I have noticed over the course of the past 40 episodes is that people approach the dissemination of their art in different ways. Some push hard to get it noticed, others are just glad that someone has noticed; some are fervent in their approach, others more measured. The biggest lesson I’ve learned though, is that the creative process and its genesis has wildly different origins for each individual. The goal of this podcast is to try to understand the creative process, to curate these experiences and create a repository for them so that others can at least know that the creative struggle is real. Everyone who creates art does so for very specific reasons, and seems to do so in a very different way. And it’s fascinating. It’s what keeps me going. Enough nonsense. On this week’s episode I have a thoughtful and engaging interview with Muncie Girls. It’s my third full band interview and it’s a goodie. We talk about all the things mentioned above, and how the band has grown over the years. They're really fun, interesting, thoughtful people and I had a good time talking about them (and subsequently almost being kidnapped in their van). Enjoy!

39 - Paul and Tom from HECK  

These blogs are getting harder to write. Show notes are, podcasters are told, vital to a good podcast. People will often read the blog with the hope of getting a feel for the episode. Furthermore, the show notes often make up the description within iTunes (or whatever podcast player you use), so apparently it's good practice to have the show notes give a little more information than the episode can provide. I get wary about saying too much in these notes. Inevitably you end up covering some of the same stuff that’s been recorded. On this episode I sat down with Paul and Tom from HECK. We talk about their new album ‘Instructions’ in rather a lot of depth, and just by discussing it we venture into territory which has been touched upon in other interviews the band have done, but haven’t really been explored in any proper fashion. To hear them talk passionately about their debut album and their band’s future is simply wonderful. Not least because the name change from Baby Godzilla to HECK had a significant effect on the band, even throwing their future in to jeopardy. Line-up changes and name changes often have a habit of killing bands. It can be hard to find a way forward when everything you’ve been working towards starts to quickly look like it's about to unravel at the seams, and for HECK this was compounded further by the very bleak realisation that they would need to recapture at least part of the fan base that they had worked on building for years. Bigger bands can often get away with it, but for small bands who are just gaining a name for themselves it can be heartbreaking. I’m hesitant to say any more about it because they do talk about it quite extensively and it makes for a really fascinating listen. During the interview my band is mentioned. It’s not a deliberate plug or anything, it just sorta happens. I apologise if that offends you. (Although you’ll probably like us if you like HECK, so listen here.) About ten minutes into the podcast Raketkanon start their soundcheck, so just bear that in mind when you listen. It doesn't effect the quality of the episode, but there are some things I'd probably have edited or cleaned up which was just impossible to do with music in the background. I hope you enjoy the episode!

38 - Jamie Sturt from Atlas : Empire and Hello-Fi Podcast  

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the Hello-Fi Podcast and on this episode, I return the favour. This is technically part two of that exchange, because the Hello-Fi interview came first, but the way these are coming out means that it’s actually part one. Or part 1.5, if you will. Interviewing someone after they’ve interviewed you is a weird experience, because it kinda feels like you’re often covering the same ground. Yes, hopefully we’ll have some amount of audience crossover but on the whole we have two distinctly separate audiences, so somethings are going to get repeated because of that. On this episode I speak to Jamie Sturt from Atlas:Empire, This Silent Forest and Hello-Fi Podcast. It’s a really warm conversation, this one. I think that’s because it kinda felt like we’d already been “in the trenches” so the rapport was already established, and the conversation flowed easily as a result. It’s also one of the longer interviews which I know you guys prefer and that I certainly prefer doing. The truth of it is that we could have went on for much longer, but time was running short because the interview was conducted in a recording studio and the arrival of a band was imminent. I’ve been a fan of Atlas : Empire for a long time. I even put out their second EP ‘Somnus’ on Cold War Legacy Records (WHICH IS NOT DEAD, JUST SLEEPING). Jamie’s had a colourful and interesting life, so it was great to hear him talk about that, his creative pursuits and all the things that make him the musician that we see (or rather, hear) before us today. I had a lot of fun chatting to Jamie. I hope you enjoy the episode.

37 - Kyle Burgess from We Came from Wolves  

Going to keep this blog short and sweet this week, mostly because the podcast itself is quite long – like, it’s over an hour long and I haven’t thrown out one of those bad boys for a while. On this episode I sit down with Kyle from We Came from Wolves to talk about creativity. And we go deep. It’s probably the most extensive conversation about the creative process that I’ve yet had on this podcast, drilling down into the reasons, processes, habits and drive of both Kyle’s and, bizarrely, my own. My modus operandi for this podcast has always been creativity. I always aim to act as a faceless proxy for you, hoping to make it feel less like you are eavesdropping on a conversation and more that you are having an intimate conversation with the guest. For the most part, I think I’ve succeeded. Sometimes I seep into the cracks, and when I give an opinion on something I’m always wary, because it’s unlikely that everyone who listens will agree with said opinion. This interview with Kyle goes in the completely opposite direction. We have a conversation about each other’s creativity. The focus is still very much on We Came from Wolves but there are moments where we just talk about stuff, and it really does come across like the microphone was simply eavesdropping in on a conversation. You can judge for yourself. There are a lot of highlights in this chat, so like the last few episodes I’m not going to list them. I’m simply going to let you hear for yourself. Enjoy the episode! Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here). We Came from Wolves - Butterflies We Came from Wolves - Where'd Your Love Go? We Came from Wolves - Ruiner I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode.

36 - The Van T's  

Interviewing an entire band can be fun if the setting is right. In this interview with The Van Ts I was quite lucky because the band had a dressing room which wasn’t particularly noisy. Some dressing rooms though…it’s like trying to do an interview in a building site. I’ve been trying to book these guys for a while. There’s something about their 90s vibe, the alt-rock flavoured grunge that they play which takes me back to my youth. There’s an infectious energy about their music, but also a sorta laid back effortlessness which brings to mind Dinosaur Jr in its approach – noisy, fuzzy but confident and assured. I could drone on about them for another 500 words but I’ll save you, and I, the embarrassment. One of my favourite things about the podcast since the start of the year is the greater focus on more local acts. I still love it when my favourite artists from outside of Glasgow come to town, but Glasgow is such a vibrant place and I can’t think of any city this size which has such an accessible group of talented musicians from across multiple genres. London is the obvious comparison, but given the sheer enormity of the city it could, I imagine, make it very difficult to find such a diverse range of artists in a relatively confined space. I recently interviewed Kyle from We Came from Wolves (interview coming next week, incidentally) and he commented on how The Van T’s name seems to be everywhere right now – it’s true. It’s cool that they’re not aware of their own growing hype. I think they’re poised to capture the zeitgeist and I can definitely see them going far. So yeah, I hope you enjoy this interview. They’re cracking point and were up for a bit of meaningless banter and that’s what this podcast ultimately provides – meaningless banter with a side order of exploration of the creative process. Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here). The Van T's - Growler The Van T's - Another Sun I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode.

35 - Allison Weiss  

I feel like the apologies are coming across as hollow. Maybe I should move the publishing day to Fridays. Although, there is then the issue of clashing with That’s Not Metal podcast but hey, it’s not like I’m even in the same league as them anyway, eh? Thoughts on this would be appreciated. Moving the day that is, not on the other podcast thing. They’re in a league of their own. Interviews have been falling on Thursday’s a lot of late – I actually have another next week – but the fact still remains: I should be more prepared and have stuff ready in advance. Foot is coming off the gas. Let’s put it back on and plant it on the floor. On this episode I have a wonderful chat with Allison Weiss, whose album ‘New Love’ was one of my favourite records of 2015. I had great fun chatting to her. She’s very accommodating, warm and friendly which is always a relief. To this day I still get nervous in the run up the interviews but Allison’s easy going demeanour helped put me at ease pretty quickly. I think the conversation comes across as very natural which, in this podcast game, is something that everyone who interviews people should strive for. I worry that talking about feminism comes off as a little awkward. I mention it during the episode and I’ll mention it here too – I was brought up by my mum, as a single parent. Yeah, my dad was around and stuff but I lived with my mum, brother and sister. I was brought up to believe in equality for everyone, it’s perhaps why I still lean far left politically. Women’s rights were always in the background as I grew up, mostly because I saw how women were treated by men and found it abhorrent. In university during both film and literature studies I was introduced to feminist literary and film criticism. The concatenation was complete. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist (largely because I’m deeply suspicious of men who use that label), but I would definitely classify myself as an ally. Which leads to the point of this tangent – I feel awkward when I talk about it to women. Even talking my sister or girlfriend about these issues leaves me feeling weird. I’m passionate about them, but I can never fully understand what it’s like to be a woman, I can never fully experience the misogyny women experience. When I see it happening, I call it out but I can never be on the receiving end. Sometimes that makes me feel like an imposter. Is that common? After the interview Allison was glad that I brought it up, which is somewhat reliving but I still feel it may have been slightly awkward. I hope you don’t find it off putting. Please enjoy this episode – it’s one of my favourites.

34 - Calum Farquharson from A Sudden Burst of Colour  

Can the lateness of an episode ever truly be forgiven? I know how annoyed I get when my favourite podcasts miss a week or have an erratic schedule. Does it erode your faith in me and my ability to get the job done? Do you even care about the reasons? Answers on a postcard please. Or an email. Or a tweet. Whatever. I’d like to know. This is late because I did the interview on a Thursday again. I had originally hoped to have another interview the day after this one, but that fell through. I even talk about it in the podcast. In episode 33 I also spoke about an interview that I was scheduled to do but never happened. It sucks. I think maybe I jinx it by mentioning that it’s happening. Seems to be the case recently. But yes, I’m late again, and this was a conscious decision on my part. It was either a case that I had no content for this week or I had none for last week. I pulled the trigger and went for last week. Sorry. I had a chat with Calum from A Sudden Burst of Colour – one of my favourite Glaswegian post-rock bands. I really love straddling different genres with this podcast because I like more than just punk music, so it was ace to sit down with another instrumental type dude. He’s a really articulate and smart guy, which is probably a good description of A Sudden Burst of Colour’s music, too. We had this chat in the Crystal Palace in Glasgow and it was going so well until some parents came in with their kids and sat next to us. You can hear the exact moment in the interview and that’s why it’s shorter than normal. Again, there’s another apology for you. Highlights include Starting with the goal of being a wedding band and evolving Having different musical tastes Trying to force yourself to listen to certain music because your band sounds a certain way How your tastes change as you get older Being a producer and how hard it can be distance yourself from the music But at the same time growing to hate the music because you’re working on it And loads more Was great to chat to Calum. I can’t wait for their new EP. I hope you enjoy the episode. Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here). A Sudden Burst of Colour - Reborn A Sudden Burst of Colour - The Fall I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode.

33 - Justine Jones from Employed to Serve  

The Curator Podcast: Episode 33 - Justine Jones from Employed to Serve It can sometimes be stressful when trying to arrange interviews. Some people are funny about doing podcasts. Some people feel that doing a “wee” thing, like an interview for this podcast, isn’t a particularly good use of their time. I think both of these things are fair enough. If you’re going to get interviewed by The Guardian or Kerrang! Magazine then it makes way more sense to do that than it does to do this. Plus, it’s not like I’ll ever get Dave Grohl or something on here, is it? Obviously it’s more irritating when someone just doesn’t like doing podcast interviews, yet it just reminds me how lucky I’ve been to talk to some of the people I’ve spoken to;  people who have reputations for being choosey about what they do have chosen to speak to me, and that’s very cool. I suppose what I’m getting at is that I’m still super thankful for people taking time out of their day to have a chat with me. And even more thankful to you guys for sticking with me. BUT HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THIS WEEK’S EPISODE?! Well, I had some issues trying to book guests this week and then two came along at once. Only, both came along at the end of the week. My original intention was to interview Justine, get home, edit it and upload it, then get it out into your ears by 11.59pm on Thursday. Sadly, that didn’t happen. So, I’m sorry for being a little late. Nothing pains me more than being late. Seriously. What transpired though was a really good interview, and I think it’s worth waiting a little longer for. Employed to Serve are a mathy hardcore band of the kind I find myself increasingly drawn to as I grow older, and it was awesome to speak to another woman for this podcast when I’ve been struggling to find people to come on. Highlights include: Wetherspoons and beer Rider beers and general drinking on tour When Justine realised she was creative And when she realised she wanted to be in a band Some influences in ETS’ sound Deftones and musical evolution Why math-type music is perhaps getting more popular than before Sexism in the music industry Our favourite albums of last year Sometimes the best parts of the conversation happen after you switch off the microphone, and you’ll just need to take my word for it when I say that we say we continued chatting after I stopped recording. ETS are a band that is only going to grow, in my opinion, and I’m glad I got a chance to speak to Justine before they get even bigger. They absolutely nailed it at the show later that night and I highly recommend getting along to see them if you can. Oh, and I’m sorry for the drunken story ramble at the end. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I’m prone to flights of fancy. I hope you enjoy the episode.

32 - Chrissy Barnacle  

One of the best things about coming across a new artist is the way that they broaden your horizons and push your music tastes in new directions. I can’t profess to being much of a folk fan – at least not of the traditional kind – but the genre itself fascinates me. This episode features an interview with Glasgow folk singer/songwriter Chrissy Barnacle. I was drawn to her music mainly because of her long standing association with various other DIY artists in and around Glasgow, and ever since absorbing the honest, ethereal beauty of her music, I find myself itching to discover more music in a similar vein. One person and their guitar is often more punk rock, more honest than any other kind of music. This is great, because all it takes is one song to show you something a new side to music that you haven’t heard before. It’s also time for me to start pushing the boundaries of this podcast, bringing in new voices and different styles of music. Rooted in punk this podcast certainly is, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. And it shouldn’t be. Diversity of voices, experiences and sound is what makes music so exciting to me. Hopefully you agree. Alright so I conducted this conversation after a failed attempt in pub. That particular attempt was quickly foiled by a pub quiz host bellowing his introduction into a roomful of disinterested patrons, so the second attempt took place in a quiet café. Quiet in the sense that there weren’t many customers; the interview itself is anything but quiet. Yes folks, I made a boo boo and recorded the interview directly under a speaker which was pumping out loud music. I’ve done my best to minimize the impact the music has on the interview (big thanks to Todd Jordan from The Bitter End podcast for helping me out. Again) but it’s still there. I just hope you agree with me when I say it doesn’t affect the sound quality of the interview too much. Chrissy had all sorts of artists on her list of “songwriters I look up to” which I hadn’t heard before. I’ll be checking them out for sure. I hope you enjoy the episode.

31 - Fraser from The Murderburgers  

It’s great to get back to some semblance of normality after the Christmas break. I feel like I’m enthusiastic about the podcast again. Which is in no small part down to this excellent interview with Fraser from The Murderburgers. If you like punk rock and you live in Scotland then there’s about a 90% you know who these guys are. They play everywhere and are on the road all the damn time. They really embody the DIY punk spirit that the whole ethos of “punk” was built on. The fact that they do it with catchy pop punk really is just a huge bonus. I’d been trying to arrange this interview for a while, as Fraser would no doubt tell you, but it took a while for the stars to align, as it were. It was definitely worth waiting for, I think. Highlights include: Restlessness and not staying in one place too long leading to wanting to be on the road a lot The difficulty of finding a balance between touring and doing normal stuff, then eventually giving up on finding the balance Getting more enjoyment out of life by doing band and label stuff Having bad luck in the band Including bad luck on their recent UK and European tour Van issues and a dodgy car dealer Andy from Palm Reader saves the day! Sharing musical gear First musical moments Getting involved with DIY punk and staying involved Using booking agents and booking your own tours The weirdness of “competition” between The change in music over the years Evil pay to play Pop punk and the difference between Screeching Weasel, Teenage Bottlerocket and more sorta Four Year Strong kind of stuff Why the band is still a "we" and not a solo project despite having so many lineup changes and Fraser being the songwriter Wrestlers in Space! And lots more Last week’s interviewee Billy Liar and this week’s interviewee Fraser are really good friends, so it was kind of serendipitous that I was able to interview them both back to back. They’re both cut from the same cloth too, in terms of their approach to music, their dedication and their ethos. Perhaps the next time I talk to them I should interview them together… I hope you enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed the chat.

30 - Billy Liar  

I’m glad you’re still with me. The last episode was a blinder, and despite having a two week break it still seems people are digging the podcast. Thank you for sticking around. We’re back to normal this week and it's episode 30. Bloody hell. On this episode I speak to Billy Liar who is among some of the most talented singer songwriters in Scotland right now. I’d never met the guy before, but it was great to hang out and shoot the shit with him. He’s a very lovely, intelligent and thoughtful guy. I'm a big fan of punk infused folk, or folk infused punk, or whatever you want to call it. So having a Scottish take on it certainly warms my cold little heart. This interview takes place in a pub in Glasgow’s city centre, meaning that the whole chat is sort of enveloped in the sort of low mummer of hundreds of voices speaking at once. I like the ambience it gives. We had a couple of pints and decided to talk about music and creativity. I found it fascinating. I hope you do too. Highlights include: Always wanting to play music and writing songs before even realising he could play songs Forming his first band and playing shows in school, community centres and church halls Seeing The Offspring for the first time The dangers of comparing your life to someone else as everyone grows old and grows away from music AFI and Caffeine and how that opened up punk for both of us Caffeine’s DIY CD and Billy’s first experience of a DIY band Why he went solo Approaching every recording differently, and not trying to write into a genre How it’s taken a while to get to the point where other people are asking him to do things Waits, Cash, Springsteen and musical storytellers being an influence The influence of authors on his songwriting process First songs being influenced by conversations on MSN Messenger Finding a balance between songwriting and storytelling in music Creativity as catharsis – the need to get certain feelings out “I don’t believe in a soul really, but it do believe it’s possible to write based on the influences in your life if you manage to get onto that perfect wavelength where the thing comes through you.” Writing more stuff based on characters His new split with Paper Rifles and the reason that came about During my Christmas break I toyed with the idea of doing this podcast in seasons, ending season one with episode 30 and then picking it up again later in 2016. I’ve decided against that – for now – but I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Would seasons be better?  It does take off the pressure of having to churn out content week after week… Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here). Billy Liar - All I've Got Billy Liar - Words Billy Liar - Change I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode. Links All of Billy's music is available on bandcamp and is, I believe, worth every penny. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

29 - Ian MacKaye  

I’ve written, deleted and rewritten this post a number of times both in my head and on the page, but everything seems inadequate. Let’s start with the facts – on this episode I have founder of Dischord Records, activist, musician, producer, composer and archivist (among other things) Ian MacKaye. If you’re reading this then there’s a really good chance that you’re a fan of or at least understand the influence Ian has had on music. Dischord Records and the Washington DC hardcore scene not only influenced punk music, but the effect it had on music at large is still apparent to this day. Some of the biggest and most well-known names in rock music that have emerged over the past 30 years were either involved with or inspired by what Ian and his friends created in Washington DC in the 1980s. That’s really all the introduction I can give you because there is nothing more I can say or contribute that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. There are books, documentaries and films dedicated to that scene and its impact (and indeed to Ian himself). Anything I write in this tiny space is bound to miss out some important detail. The narrative of that scene has been relayed a thousand times, and will no doubt be relayed a thousand times more. I hate to wheel out the old “once a lifetime opportunity” cliché but being able to chat with Ian MacKaye was certainly one of those. Ian has done his fair share of interviews over the years and in his own words, from the email correspondence we had before the interview, “the talking about the done has been interfering with the doing”. I’m still trying to figure out why he decided that it would be a worthwhile thing for him to talk to me, but I’m ever so glad that he did. This interview is as close to unedited as it is possible for it to be. My aim was to find out more about Ian’s musical philosophy because given the monumental impact he’s had on music I was intrigued to see what powered that, and if he ever stopped for a moment to think about the impact his achievements have had on the world. His intellect is stunning. He’s polite, quick, lively, opinionated, wise and he does not suffer fools lightly. There are even a couple of moments in the interview that he takes me to task for some of the things I said to him – the way I phrase a particular question, or if he disagrees with something I’ve said or some of the thoughts I have. I appreciate that. This is a man who has lived twice the life I have in years, but at least ten times the life I have in experience. It was an absolute honour to talk to him. Highlights include: Learning how to say MacKaye properly when he was in Scotland Coming from a family of writers and archivists The foundation of punk being angry The way that lead to violence at shows Some cool Minor Threat and Fugazi stories How he never really reflects on what he's done The role of Dischord being an archive label The difficulty for musicians touring America these days And much, much more that I don’t want to spoil for you Needless to say, I was humbled by the experience of chatting to him. He’s like a wise punk rock sage. He said that if I’m ever in DC that I should swing by Dischord house and pop in for some tea. I plan to do just that. Towards the end of the interview my mic cuts out and it switches over to my voice recorded on his end. I'm sorry for that, but it's still a great chat and you can still hear me. I hope you enjoy this episode.

28 - Ewan Grant from WOMPS  

The Curator Podcast: Episode 28 – Ewan Grant from WOMPS Ah, dear listener. I apologies for missing a week. I feel terrible about it. The fact that I didn’t post an episode on my regular schedule has kept me up at night ever since. I value you. I value your time, your attention and the fact that you choose to make me a part of your day. Let me explain what happened in the hope that you might be able to forgive me. Usually I like to have an interview or two in the bank for eventualities such as this, but I left myself short on content. After I conducted this interview with Ewan I formatted the SD card in my recorder thinking that I had removed the file, then I promptly took a week off and went to Marrakech for my 30th birthday. When I returned the interview was nowhere to be seen. I started to make plans with Ewan to re-do it. Then I ran some recovery software on the SD card and managed to retrieve the interview. The crisis somewhat averted, I decided just to treat the missed episode as a holiday week and return to my regularly scheduled programming the following week. And so here we are, back on track with an interview I once thought lost but has now been found. And it’s a really good interview! I sat down with Ewan in the 13th Note Café in Glasgow, the lovely staff there allowing us to sit in their restaurant type bit to have a chat. Ewan is a lovely guy and I had a really good time talking to him and talking about all things WOMPS, Algernon Doll, Steve Albini, Black metal and feminism, amongst other things. Highlights include: Wanting to be a footballer but not liking the lad culture Skateboarding leading to guitar playing Being in hardcore bands as a teenager and losing those people he played with Expressing feelings of loss through songwriting “You can only feel sorry for yourself for a certain amount of time” Algernon Doll being terrifying Moving from WOMPS to Algernon Doll The influence of Elliott Smith Not searching for a songwriting partner but finding one anyway Songwriting influences – John Lennon, George Harrison, Frank Ocean, Danish Post Punk Not being able to mention good Paul McCartney songs Separating art from the artists (specifically talking about Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Lostprophets and Burzum) Some black metal discussion and Deafheaven Recording with Steve Albini and how he feels about being asked about it a lot Being put up by Steve Albini when stuck in Chicago for the second time Getting a pass from Partisan Records and how Steve’s attitude helped them move on The advantage of having a booking agent instead of booking shows themselves Having a team of women around them How the punk scene is trying to avoid misogyny but shows are still 90% male in attendance Is the indie scene better for women? Lots of love for Make that a Take and Book Yer Ane Fest How the DIY ethos is still important Getting involved with Damnably Ewan’s worked very hard over the years and it’s brilliant to see that it’s now paying off with WOMPS. Their sound has definitely evolved from his older solo stuff and I’m really excited to hear their album next year. I hope you enjoy this episode. And I hope that you forgive me for being a week late.  

27 -Astronautalis  

I’ve waxed lyrical on my love and history with hip hop a couple of times recently, so there’s no need to go through it all again. Andy Hepburn, known as Astronautalis, has been one of my favourite rappers since I heard him on the P.O.S. album ‘Never Better’. His style, delivery and the literary intelligence of his lyrics appeals to the writer in me in ways that a lot of rappers really can’t match. Upon landing this interview I did a whole bunch of research and found out that he’s related to the 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn, Better known as Mary, Queen of Scots’ third husband. I won’t bore you with the details of the history and why that’s so interesting to me (it’s covered in the podcast) but suffice to say, the Scottish history geek in me was happy to have a chat about all of that with Andy. He’s probably one of the coolest, most laid back people I’ve spoken to so far and this chat is one of the easiest I can remember. Honestly, if you don’t love him already I guarantee that you will after this episode. Highlights include: Being in a Yahoo Newsgroup about James Hepburn Getting teary eyed about Scotland Some history about Mary, Queen of Scots, James Bothwell and the oldest house in Glasgow Why he started to look into his heritage Making the conscious choice to write lyrics based on historical fiction Coming from a line of storytellers and seeing himself as an oral storyteller It was kind of like making a reading list It was rappers who were storytellers that drew him towards hip hop – Lord Finesse, Big L, Slick Rick and Ghostface and underground New York hip hop Battling is not art, it’s sport. It’s not about creativity; it’s about making fun of someone. It’s also about being precise at a thing and really good at a thing. It’s a weapon. But Andy was going to theatre school – battling and studying performance weren’t gelling for him It took a while to let the art knowledge and theatre training to bleed into his music Theatre informs his performance – he is playing an elevated version of himself Seeing the live show and the album as two different things – shows should be parties, albums are made to be absorbed Both punk and hip hop have a need to throw a party, even if the music isn’t about the party Yet there’s also an angry energy which drives the music Moving to Minneapolis because of the hip hop scene Being a rapper for 20 years The way he’s incorporated many different literary techniques into his lyrics How Shakespeare opened his eyes to the sheer complexity of writing And the way Shakespeare essentially gave him a new appreciation for art Becoming a better songwriter as time goes on and taking the influence of pop rap to make things more elegant The lyrics and the music need to combine together to do the job What the vibe of the new album is about Using different vocal styles and developing a new language for each album Making music more simple than ever before And being very proud of his new album I’m continually blown away by the generosity of the people I’ve interviewed – they really don’t have to give any time at all to some idiot with a microphone but I’m so glad that they do. Andy was an excellent guest and given his storytelling background, you can quite clearly see the raconteur at work in this interview. I hope you enjoy it. It’s one of my favourites. Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here). Astronautalis - The Wondersmith and his Sons Astronautalis - Sike! I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode. Links Go follow Astronautalis on Twitter and like him on facebook. His new album will be out through Side One Dummy next year. His website is also brilliant. Image by Marcus Junius Laws. I make no claim to the copyright. See the original here.

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