Making Of: 100 Words Or Less Podcast

Up next in out “Making Of” feature is the 100 Words Or Less podcast hosted by Ray Harkins! Check out the interview below to find out what Ray does in the industry, how the podcast was started, and even get a look into what’s coming up for the podcast. You can check out the podcast at the official website here.

For those who may not know, let’s start with who you are and what all you do in the music industry?
A simple introduction is always necessary! I do many things in this strange musical landscape. My day job is the Senior Partnerships Manager at peta2, the youth outreach program of the worlds largest animal rights organization. In simplified form, I am the guy that gets bands, celebrities and companies to work with us on animal rights issues from animal adoption to veganism. I also help with No Sleep Records and growing their business from a consulting standpoint. I also help manage a producer named Beau Burchell (of Saosin fame) and finally, host of the independent music centric podcast called 100 Words or Less.

Where did you originally get the idea for the 100 Words Podcast and when did you get everything in place to start the show?
The idea of the show was born out of a previous show that I used to do with friends called First World Problems (if you dive deep into the 100 Words archives you will see those shows). It was a logistical headache getting 3 of my friends and guest together to speak about pop culture stuff peppered in with interview type questions. It was fun, but I knew I’d be able to be more consistent with the show if I struck out on my own. The episodes we were doing had a few month lull and I asked my friends if they minded that I broke out on my own, and the birth of 100 Words was there. That was close to 3 years ago now.

You recently did a behind the scenes episode with Tom Richfield, your producer. Was he your go-to guy as producer from the start? How did you two meet and start working together?

Tom is my hero. He got in contact with me close to a year after the show had existed, as I knew I couldn’t ask anyone that I knew to help me with this thing as I got it off the ground, but as the show grew it was apparent I needed help. Tom reached out as a fan of the show and offered his audio help, and the relationship blossomed from there. I shower him with free records, cash and whatever else I can get my hands on for his help. I’d move him over here to the US if I could and have him live at my house, but I can’t right now so I will only dream.

Does having a producer give you more time to focus on who to have as a guest and plan out the podcasts? Absolutely. Tom is the main reason that I’ve been able to grow this show as it’s really hard to pay attention to every single detail on top of editing and making the product sound good. It frees me up to pursue opportunities with the show I wouldn’t get to do if it wasn’t for his help.

This is more on the tech side, but what equipment do you use for the podcast?
It’s a pretty basic/barebones set up but for Skype/over the phone interviews I used a simple recording program that documents the conversation and turns it into an MP3. For “on the go” recordings I use a Tascam DR-40 and some Heil Microphones. My main concern is getting solid recordings that don’t impact the vibe of feeling like you are in some professional recording environment. I want people to be relaxed above all.

What’s the process like to get the podcasts posted?
It’s relatively simple. Record the show, send it over to Tom to edit/produce and then he sends it back to me so I can post it via a great service called Buzzsprout that helps us populate our show to iTunes.

Is there anyone who would be your dream guest on the show, but you just haven’t been able to schedule some time with or get a hold of?
I have been chasing down Tony Brummell from Victory Records for over a year now and he seems interested in speaking to me which is very flattering considering he simply doesn’t speak to the general public anymore from a press perspective.

What has been your favorite episode to record so far?
One of my favorites has to be my conversation with Davey Havok from AFI as he was so open to discuss anything about his life and share his views on many things that he openly doesn’t speak about. It felt very surreal to be in the Hollywood Hills, talking to such an influential figure in independent music about how much he hates “weed shops” here in California.

What made you decide to add a donate button to the show’s site? And what are some of the cool things people receive when they donate?
Donations are a simple way for people to contribute to something that they feel is valuable in their lives. It’s a simple way that most everyone who does something creative offers to people that listen to the show. It’s really rad the sort of communication I have with people who donate and then I become friendly with after the fact. Even people that give a few bucks, I kinda pester them after the fact because I am so grateful. People can get buttons/stickers of the show and even a chance to appear as a future guest.

To wrap it up, can you name some guests or plans you have for the podcast in the future?
I have a really special episode with Buddy Nielsen coming up shortly as well as a really in depth chat with Eddie Breckenridge from the band Thrice about so many different things. It’s great that people and friends are approaching me to want to appear on the show because they have something to say. I love that this thing has become a platform and that is very exciting.