The Monday Graveyard at 100 - Music Discovery

The Monday Graveyard has hit episode 100. Listen to the show here. This is part of a series of posts about the show in celebration of the 100 episode milestone

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One of the things that most people ask me when they talk about the show in my real life is “How do you find enough music to keep playing new tracks each week”. It is actually quite easy, for me – I have a job that allows me to listen to music daily and almost all the time, giving me around six to nine hours of listening time a day, depending on the work, around four days a week. This means that I have about 36 hours of music listening time each day, including the car. Now, some of that is reserved for podcasts like Wikishuffle, 99 Percent Invisible, the Wittertainment Podcast, and any other podcasts that I find in the week, but also for some BBC Radio 4 listening and some non-MG music listening. For example, in the past week Deftones has been on heavy rotation thanks to their new album announcement.

My personal discovery of new music was something that I wrote about for a blog that started up in 2012 called Opinionehted that has now died and vanished into the ether of the dead internet. It was a post that, then, was tailored for an audience of new music hopefuls, not someone doing a weekly hour-long podcast about a specific musical genre or genres. My listening habits have changed a lot and I thought that it might be prudent to explain a little behind the scenes of the show, with a post about how music comes to me and how a show is built.

Building a Show

Building a show normally starts with playlists. There are four places playlists live for me; iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, and my notebook. Yes, I have a real life hard bound notebook that I use to note down songs and tracks. This migrated a little bit to Google Keep a few weeks ago, but I reverted back to the hard paper version because I thought it was nice to have a real thing. There are therefore multiple sources for music that ends up on the show, and the sources normally end up being used to get details of the release and such. Once the playlists are settled down, I start to thread them, like knitting, into a few shows that make coherent sense. This is why, normally, I end up with three or so playlists and shows ready to go each week, with the choice of which one to record being mostly chronological. If I have had an idea for a themed episode I’ll start building that a few weeks ahead of time, dropping songs into them to build up a playlist. This is why stuff like the Gameyard ended up two shows – half way to the first show I realised that I’d bookmarked 100 minutes of music, which is two shows easily. This happens a lot.

Once the playlist is sorted I’ll go and start drafting the final running order. If this is in Spotify or Google Play Music it’ll be done by listening to the playlist over and over again, shifting the playlist endlessly around until I come up with a running order that feels right, whatever that means. 

Once the shows are "set" I'll record the show using Audacity. I did, for a while, trial Ableton and also Audition but the ease of Audacity sits best with me as a input method working seamlessly with my mic set up. 

Theset up for the show is a Scarlet Solo DAC plugged into my Macbook. I have a Rode NT1A microphone with their pro pop shield and a standard mic stand (that I actually bought for my wife several Christmases ago). The shows are now recorded in my front room which appears to give the best audio quality. 

As for discovering music it comes from loads of sources.  

  1. Spotify and Google Play Music. These services are plugged into my playlisting and it is easy to follow the artists the recommend in genres and related to artists I already play.  
  2. Pitchfork, Drownedinsound.com and others. These give me goodtips on new music. One in particular, Articulate Silences, Ambient Sounds is cracking and a read it all the time. 
  3. Bandcloud mail out. I signed up to this last year and used it as inspiration for the Bandcamp.com centric shows. If you're a fan of my show you should be getting that mailer each week.  
  4. Promos and labels. I have managed to get labels and artists to get in touch with me. They send me their albums over all the time and it gets overwhelming but is something I'd never say no to.  Most of what gets played is either bought by me or promoed to me, which helps with the show.  
  5. Finally, personal recommended tracks. I have a group on WhatsApp for this with friends of the show, and regularly check out other podcasts to steal their shout outs, but a personal rec always works wonders.  

So there you go. A wee rundown of how the show works.