It’s been a while since our last Making Of feature, but we’re back now with Evan Lucy, who hosts the Voice & Verse Podcast. If you’re into artists like Andrew McMahon and Dashboard Confessional, this is definitely a podcast you should check out. Read the interview below to get to know more about Evan and the podcast!
Before we get started on the podcast questions, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get into the music industry and what do you do other than Voice & Verse?
I suppose I sort of fell into the industry. I started playing music when I was 13, and soon thereafter realized I was likely not going to be a part of the next great rock band. I was always good at writing throughout school, so it made sense to marry the two and start writing about music. From there, I went to the University of Missouri to study journalism and started writing reviews and doing interviews for the student newspaper. One thing led to another, and now my work has appeared everywhere from Billboard and Spin to Alternative Press and Rhapsody.
My full-time job isn’t writing about music – actually, it’s quite the opposite. I work for a digital fundraising consultancy, primarily working with political candidates and nonprofit organizations, but I still do a lot of music writing on the side in addition to hosting Voice & Verse and my other podcast, Simpler Sound.
What made you decide to start Voice & Verse and how did you come up with the name?
Talking to artists is always fun, but most of the question I have aren’t necessarily the most interesting for someone to read in a feature story. As a musician myself, I’ve always been fascinated with songwriting. Naturally, that led me to want to know more about how my favorite songs took shape, from the initial spark of an idea to the finished product. So I decided I would start a podcast to have a platform to ask these questions. It started as a bit of a selfish endeavor, just solely a way for me to scratch the itch, but it’s evolved into something that I think a lot of people seem to enjoy.
The first episode taped was with Nick Santino, formerly of A Rocket To The Moon, in November 2013, and the show launched in January 2014 with Joel from Good Charlotte as my first guest. The name was actually the hardest part. I probably went through 50 or so names before finally settling on Voice & Verse. I’ve always been a big fan of alliteration, and it just sounded right.
There’s been a lot of speculation on how people should and shouldn’t record podcasts, especially in the tech industry. What is your set up like to record and edit your shows?
I’ll admit my setup is pretty primitive, but it works for me. Most of my taping is done over Skype, which I then pull into GarageBand to edit. In terms of microphones, I like the Snowball, made by Blue. It’s a versatile little mic at a good price point, and it’s also compact enough to travel with whenever I have the opportunity to tape with a guest in person.
How do you go about choosing who you will interview? Do you seek out guests or just record episodes as you get the chance to talk to musicians and others within the industry?
I knew it was important to start strong out of the gate with great guests people would love to hear from. Fortunately, I’ve been able to build a great rolodex of band members, managers, and publicists over the years, including a lot of amazing folks who were willing to help out and be my guinea pigs early on – people like Joel, Brendon from Panic! At The Disco, Mike from MxPx, and Will from Cartel. Booking guests is a combination of reaching out to artists specifically and sorting through pitches to see who would be interesting. Plus, it’s a great way for me to talk to artists and songwriters I’ve somehow never been able to over the years.
Can you give us any info on who some future guests will be?
Oh, giving away secrets! I’ve got the next five or six episodes planned out and don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say I’m looking forward to taping with John from The Maine. The new Maine album is really great. I’m also excited about chatting with Alex from All Time Low in the coming weeks about their new record.
Hopefully, we’ll be doing a lot of 10-year retrospective episodes this year, too – chronicling classic albums from a decade ago. There are so many great albums from 2005, like Acceptance’s Phantoms, The Receiving End of Sirens’ Between The Heart and The Synapse, Thrice’s Vheissu, and Panic! At The Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. I imagine you might see episodes centered around a few of those albums in the coming months as well.
Do you have any plans to change up the podcast in the future?
I think the podcast will be an ever-evolving thing. One thing I’d really like to accomplish is to highlight the amazing songwriters who aren’t necessarily performers. I recently had Sam Hollander, who was hugely instrumental in the late ’00s emo/pop-punk scene, on as a guest, and it was one of our best episodes.
Being a professional songwriter is tough work, and often times these musicians have the greatest stories. Many of them have even made it a full-time gig after being in a band for years – someone like Tim Pagnotta from Sugarcult, who just worked on the incredible new Walk The Moon album and has also written hits for Neon Trees. I want to include as many of them as possible and also really diversify in terms of genres. I would love a scenario where I can bring on a country writer one week, a metal musician the next, and a pop artist immediately after. I really want everyone.
What are some of the goals you have for the podcast? Any certain number of episodes you’d like to reach or any guest you’d love to have on the show?
My only real goal is to keep having fun with it. There’s so much to learn about songwriting – no two people go about it the same way, and that’s the beauty of the creative process. The show will break 50 episodes by the end of the year, which will be a huge accomplishment considering I knew nothing about podcasting going into this.
In terms of dream guests, I’d of course love to sit down with Mark Hoppus or Tom DeLonge; Blink-182 was the reason I started playing music, so to see it all come full circle would be incredible. Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies is another songwriter who’s work I’ve long admired, as is Aaron Marsh from Copeland, who has a very intimate approach to the craft. Butch Walker, too. What a songwriter.
Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know about the podcast?
Thank you so much for listening. I had no idea anyone would ever care about this, so to see people excited about nerding out with me over songwriting has been very fulfilling. You can stay up to date with the show at voiceandversepodcast.com and on Twitter @voiceversepod. Feel free to send in suggestions for guests you’d like to hear on the show, too! I’m all ears. And thanks for the great questions; this was fun.