From a very young age, I’ve taken great joy in listening to music and sharing it with friends. Science has proven what many of us already know – that listening to a special song at the right moment can trigger the brain’s reward mechanisms just as powerfully as can any other natural or chemical source of pleasure. For me, a profoundly pleasurable musical experience – the sort of big moment that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and a warm feel-good flush wash over your body – is truly transcendent.
Of course music can also serve just as powerful a purpose when it sits in the background, setting the mood and framing a broader experience. Consider how the soundtrack to a movie provides emotional guidance for a scene, or how music at a moderate volume in a lounge or living room creates ambience to underpin spirited conversation or quiet contemplation.
My aim with this podcast is to alternately present music capable of creating both of these types of moments. As such, it is best enjoyed with a proper sound system or good quality headphones and an active imagination.
I have shared my version of appropriate music for moments both big and small with many wonderful people over the years. From handing out mixed tapes in high school and CD-R compilations in university, through to my time behind the counter at Vinyl Warning and playing radio shows and DJ sets at house parties, bars and clubs, I’ve always been a fan of musical show-and-tell. Some of my strongest friendships have been forged through sharing and experiencing music, but as we get older we seem to spread ourselves out both geographically and in terms of our priorities. The easy weekends of getting a group of friends together to play tunes for hours on end have become fewer and further between.
And so, in a virtual sense, that’s what this podcast is. It’s a chance to present some of the music that I like both old and new, mixed live by hand and presented as the sort of set I’d play in a casual environment to a small audience of good friends. From a technical perspective, I’m presently mixing on a Native Instruments Kontrol S4 MK2 + X1 MK2, a Stanton ST150 with an Ortofon Arkiv elliptical cart, a Roland TR8, and a Cyclone Analogic TT303 running through some outboard effects. Sync between Traktor and the external gear is kept tight by an Audiowerkstatt MIDI clock shifter, and source material is mostly FLAC and vinyl.
It’s called Music For Small Audiences, and if you’re reading this, then I made it for you. You can find it on the iTunes store here. Alternatively you can stream or download each episode right from this website just by clicking on each episode from the front page, or find me on Mixcloud. It’s for your enjoyment, but it’s also to spark a dialogue with you – so let me know what you think of what you hear!