Making Of: Off The Record


Off The Record is the next podcast for our Making Of feature. We had the change to ask Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo questions about the show and they let us know what to expect for 2015. Check it out below! 

Let’s start with the basics, how did you guys meet?

Zack: I met Jesse when I was young, without facial hair, and without a blink-182 tattoo. I was 16, and it was the summer that Man Overboard released Real Talk. PropertyOfZack was in its first year of life, and Jesse had taken notice that I started posting about the band. The first time we met was at Fireworks’ headlining tour with The Swellers, Man Overboard, and Transit. That will end up being one of the most important shows I’ll ever have gone to.

Jesse: Yes, where as I hadn’t gotten my first grey hair yet. I noticed Zack posting about Man Overboard and recognized his site as having a good tone and a lot more passion about music than most others around. Zack came by my studio while we were recording some Man Overboard stuff and the fact that he could hang out and not be a total geek (while still being a geek of course) was real cool and left a great impression on everyone. Over the years we always stayed in touch and I began writing for POZ and it grew from there.

What are you involved with other than Off The Record?

Zack: I am best known for writing PropertyOfZack, which is over five years old now. I also am a manager for Synergy Artist MGMT and focus on Knuckle Puck, Have Mercy, Light Years, and Real Friends. I co-own a record label called Bad Timing Records with Thomas Nassiff. I am also the Label Manager of Jade Tree.

Jesse: I am most known for recording bands like The Menzingers, The Misfits, Man Overboard, Basement, Transit, Animal Collective, etc. at my studio Cannon Found Soundation. I also wrote a popular book on the music business called Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business. I am currently writing another book, LOTS of articles and producing, mixing and mastering far too many bands in 2015.  I should probably also mention I am going to collapse somewhere in that workload.

Who came up with the initial idea for the podcast?

Zack: I believe this was me. I had wanted to start a podcast for truly nearly a year. I just could not figure out who to do it with. I got frustrated one night and started thinking about potential co-hosts, and felt like a moron when I didn’t think of Jesse immediately.

Jesse: Yes, Zack approached me about it and I was immediately in. I had taped numerous podcasts before that and always scrapped them when I was unhappy with the results. Zack came up with the idea and much of the direction. We taped our first episode and it immediately worked, unlike all the others I have worked on. I recently threw out 10 episodes of my other podcast whereas I am really psyched on every episode Zack and I do together.

How do you decide which topics to talk about? Do you plan ahead or does the music news throughout the week help dictate what will be covered?

Zack: A little bit of everything. I, throughout the week, save things to talk about via Instapaper, or drop suggestions in the show notes. When Jesse and I pop on Skype, we talk for anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes about what we want to talk about, and then go from there.

Jesse: We have a Google Doc where we will paste ideas and occasionally something will come across the web that will blow our minds and we will text or email the other person. We try to plan a nice variety for the show each week and put a lot of thought into not making each episode too focused since we know not everyone who listens cares just about punk or promoting their band.

What is your current set up for the podcast? Is that what you started with and do you have any plans to upgrade the hardware or software you use?

Zack: Jesse and I both got Yeti mics to have the same setup. We both record on our iMacs or MacBooks. I’ll let Jesse talk software. I recently got a boom mic, some acoustic proofing, and other goodies.

Jesse: Yes I bought the mic Zack has despite owning 45 microphones in my studio, I wanted our sound to be consistent. I occasionally improvise when I forget my mic at home and have to record at my studio on one of my real nice microphones. We both tape into Audio Hijack and then I edit inside Pro Tools HD. I feel really good about our setup except when we get bad Skype connections. Can we upgrade the Internet?

Are there any plans to have guests on the podcast in the future?

Zack: We had one guest over the summer. It’s something we may do again.

Jesse: We talk about it a lot, but then there’s always so much to talk about and we get so many users questions it’s hard to keep up.

Can you talk a bit about what goes into making the podcast each week (scheduling, show notes, etc.)?

Zack: We usually record on Mondays or Tuesdays and release our episodes on Wednesdays. Being consistent is important. We originally started posting the podcast on Tuesdays, but transitioned to Wednesday. Show notes are important; they’re where we keep track of any talking points and links. It shows up in your podcast listening app as well. I hope to be more diligent on show notes in 2015.

Jesse: It can be real tough to find time that works for both of us. I can’t tell a band to wait while I podcast if they’re in the studio and Zack has tons of meetings and big-shot-suit-type-work. I don’t think we’ve taped at the same time two weeks in a row over the past few months. It takes me about an hour and change to edit and mix each episode after it is taped. I try to get rid of every long pause and the pauses when we go to Google something. As well, finding the time to read all the articles and sort through what is boring and what is new and fresh can be over an hour a week. Trying to squeeze that into a 60+ hour work week can sometimes be overwhelming but when we tape the podcast I feel really good about it. It’s a good break every week and we have a lot of fun taping.

Since you guys cover music tech, what are some of your favorite music tech items that you own?

Zack: That’s an interesting question. I’ll let Jesse just nerd out.

Jesse: I got a Music Hall Turntable this year and it has really upped my listening enjoyment. I also moved to a new apartment where I have a desk that I can put my Genelec 1030s on the table and really hear details of a record. I love my Apple TV so that I can pump some bad dance music through the apartment before I go out. I can’t live without Rdio’s new releases page or checking Hype Machine every week to find new music.

What are some of your favorite podcasts to listen to?

Zack: I’ll just list a few: Roderick On The Line, The Talk Show, Accidental Tech Podcast, The B.S. Report, and StartUp.

Jesse: Rachel Maddow, Serial, Desus vs. Mero, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show. Also if you like ours you’d probably enjoy Bridge The Atlantic, Pop Cultivation, Nothing To Write Home About, 100 Words or Less and The AbsolutePunk Podcast.

Can you share anything about what’s coming up for the podcast?

Zack: I think we’re just hoping to be better, and even more consistent in 2015. I feel like we’ve really hit a groove over the past few months, and I hope to keep it going next year.

Jesse: Zack and I both started other podcasts. I do interviews on creativity on my other one and I am hoping with us both having other outlets we can keep focusing on what we do well. I think our rapport and humor just keeps getting better. I would like to talk about Taylor Swift way less too. Thanks for doing this, the questions were really fun to answer!