In Dan We Trust: Behind The Sounds
Written by Dan Croxford on January 27, 2014
Good morning, good day, good evening and/or goodnight… purely depending on what the current time situation is right now whilst your reading this (thought I may as well cover all areas). My name is Dan and as you may or may not know I produce and present a weekly radio show entitled ‘In Dan We Trust’ here on Radio Warwickshire. The synopsis of my show essentially would be, something along the lines of, ‘A chance to enlighten your musical brain with some brand new music from across the globe whilst also throwing in some timeless classics too. Dan brings you into his world for an hour, allowing you to experience the kind of music that makes him tick.’ Well, that’s what I put on my bio page anyway.
I thought that some people out there might be interested in seeing what actually happens behind the show, how it’s rigged, how it’s produced and how… well… it’s presented, so every week I will bring a documented version of different aspects of my show! As a quick notion, and to back myself up, I’m not a professional in any of these areas. I have a passion for radio and audio production, and studied it for many years at college, and yes now incorporate it into my actual job, but I’m no “Doctor of Radio”. I will purely be letting you see how my show, In Dan We Trust every Friday from 8pm on Radio Warwickshire, is created. So… where do I begin… Breakfast. I kid!
The key to my show is to bring new music to the listener’s ears. This means I scour the internet and magazines each week in search for a new sound produced either by a new artist or one we’ve come to love already. I search through such websites as; YouTube, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, last.fm, nme.com and, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, MySpace. These websites, as I’m sure a lot of you are aware, allow aspiring musicians to upload their sound and share it with the world, sometimes allowing users to download their tracks completely free of charge. Another bonus of researching online is that normally, 9 times out of 10, if you are listening to a certain artist the website will also recommend you others artists in that genre! Facebook is also becoming a very nice source for brand new music and a way for me to engage with the artists. I’ve been lucky enough to talk to artists from all over the world and interview them for the show thanks to the messaging services provided by Facebook.
Compiling all my findings from all these different media sources can be very tricky. Not to choose between the bad and the good, because normally I have a respect for every song, but deciding which tracks go into this weeks show. So, how do I pick the songs I play? Well, firstly I have my intro song, the infamous Cut Chemist – ‘The Audience is Listening Theme Song’, which starts every show off, giving the show somewhat of an identity. I then try and kick the show off with a powerful, fast paced yet engaging song, whether it be some dubstep or some heavy rock… This really gets the show going, pushing the pedal to the floor. These two songs are the easiest to choose from, in my personal opinion, a. because the Cut Chemist song is a permanent feature so it’s not being changed and b. my iTunes library is full of fast paced, engaging, songs.
Every week I compile a playlist on my iTunes of all the new music I’ve found and want to play on the show at some point, and to fine tune these down into a small collection that will actually be played out ensures that I have to follow a few simple steps/rules:
1. Is it relevant at the moment?
Example: Daft Punk – ‘Get Lucky’, it’s not a new song, so should I be playing it out on this weeks show? Yes. The Grammy’s have just happened and Daft Punk won Record of the Year and Best Album of the Year (I’m writing this on January 27th). So this allows for cultural relevance, meaning as it’s a talking point I should probably play it.
2. Would both myself and my nan like this song?
Basically, does the song cater for everyone’s needs? I say everyone… everyone is a very broad term. I really mean would other people appreciate the song as much as I do? I judge this by linking friends and family to the songs and getting their opinions on them (different people each week as to get a contrasting taste). If a certain track is preferred over another, I tend to pick it for that reason. However, there are some tracks that I occasionally put in the show because… well… I can.
3. Will it fit into my hour slot?
It sounds a lot simpler than it actually is. One of my all time favourite songs is The Sugarhill Gang’s – ‘Rappers Delight’ however the full song is a whopping (yes I said whopping) 14 minutes and 35 seconds long. This meaning it would take up a quarter of my show! I could put that into the show very easily but I personally would prefer to play more songs per show. So I have to calculate how much time each song will accumulate too all together, including my vocal parts, to round it off to a nice hour.
The pace of the show can determine placement of a song. I don’t like placing too many rock songs all together, the same with acoustic or dubstep. I like to mix the show up so you’re introduced to something varied and new at every opportunity. The only time I would really compile a lot of songs from the same genre simultaneously is if I were to do a specialist show, for example; If I were to host a jazz show, I would obviously play copious amounts of jazz music, same for a rock show or a hip hop show. However, as my show is very mixed I like to keep it that way.
Now come’s the tricky stuff. Editing a naughty track, and by naughty track I mean a track with word’s that I’m not allowed to type on here or are allowed to be said on the radio! Word’s like… I wouldn’t do that. When I come across a track I want to use in my show that contains swear words I use a programme called Soundtrack Pro (others are available) to allow myself to cut the naughty word from the track, reverse the sound and stitch it back in again. This allows for the song to play as normal but the naughty word plays backwards, not being a naughty word anymore, just a mish mash of sound. However, sometimes certain words can’t just be reversed, normally due to you still being able to understand what it says, and I HATE these words. From a production point of view these are a nightmare. The only realistic way around them is to ‘silence’ the word, meaning there will be a moment of silence where the naughty word should be, making for a rubbish sounding edit.
I use Soundtrack Pro to compile all the songs and record vocal tracks into my final show. This is going to get geeky now, apologies. Once everything is stitched together, leveled correctly I can finally export my show into a nice little .mp3 file and send it over to Clay via Dropbox. The show then gets put out and the process starts all over again.
This is just a small insight into a small piece of production into the show. As I said previously in the next few blogs I will enlighten you into such things as; vocal recording, my radio setup, portable recording, pushing boundaries and editing.