In the last several months, I’ve started working at America Abroad, it’s a documentary program on public radio, hosted by Ray Suarez and a few other very talented people, and I’m the main producer.
What’s a radio producer do, exactly?
Well, I recruit reporters in places like Australia or Mexico or elsewhere, who actually go out and do the reporting, work with them and our editor to figure out what the story should sound like once they’ve done some interviews, I actually put the reports together in a rough form, I research issues and guests, and script interviews. I work with our web team to find interesting content that’ll fit the theme of the show. I try to make sure every last detail is right. And then I send it off to stations, which air the show once a month. It’s a hell of a job, and I learn a lot. I kind of have to if I want to keep up.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work again with my friend Bill to launch a new band. We’re calling it The Originators, and we sound a bit like this:
A while ago, my fiancee and I had a hot sauce party. We provided food and drinks, our guests brought a non Tabasco hot sauce, and everyone had a great time burning their mouths with capsaicin.
Then a couple of years later our friends decided to have a cookout and do the same. We showed up and tried out a bunch of hot sauces, and a conversation with a new acquaintance managed to get me into McSweeney’s (I’m the dude having a conversation with the author at the end of the first entry), an Internet humor publication I highly recommend. Just another oddly-appropriate-to-living-in-Washington story.
I’m starting work in earnest on a project I began gathering sound for a long while ago. I’m recording the stories of people’s recurring dreams and then using sounds to illustrate that dream, completely ignoring the visual aspect (after all, aren’t your eyes usually closed anyhow?).
A friend of mine recently asked me whether I thought dreams were trying to tell you something, or the brain babbling to itself. I’m not sure it’s either, I prefer to think that it’s our subconscious trying to put together the nonsense we live through, day-in, day-out, giving you a way to safely-though not always comfortably-act out things you couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t do.
This particular piece was originally produced for the DC Listening Lounge, which I’ve mentioned in the past, and it features my friend Selina, as well as Metro escalators, frying onions, and a bunch more stuff. Hope you enjoy.
My brilliant life partner Blair used to work for D.C. Arts Center, a nonprofit gallery and black box theater in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. In the past I’ve participated in fundraisers and other events at DCAC. In my latest piece to appear there, I basically nailed a MiniDisc recorder to a wall and invited people to sing their favorite songs into it. The Washington Post’s Mark Jenkins was kind enough to mention my piece as one of the few non-visual works:
The artists choose their own spaces, so intriguing juxtapositions — among Joe Nemeth’s bird paintings, Philip Yabut’s bird photos and Kara Davis’s birdhouses, for example — are the result of happenstance or collusion among artists. Political iconography abounds — President Obama, Lenin and three presidents who have their portraits on U.S. bills appear — but the commentary isn’t pointed. Conceptualism is rare, although A.C. Valdez invites visitors to sing their favorite tunes into a vintage MiniDisc recorder, and Davis tweaks expectations by slapping a $92,000 price tag on a birdhouse titled “Wow — What a Deal!”
If you live in or will be in DC, please come out the evening of July 30th for SoundScene! It’s the annual interactive presentation by DC Listening Lounge, an audio art collective I belong to. There will be audio art, radio pieces, live bands, DJs, and more! Not only will I have work in the show, but so will lots of other brilliant audio producers from all over the region. See you there!