New Media Pioneer: Dave of Dave‘s Lounge Podcast
Dave‘s Lounge is a weekly podcast that showcases the best in chillout, trip hop and downtempo music found on the Internet.
Q: How long have you been broadcasting?
A: I did some college radio back in the early 90s, but I didn’t really do my own show again until I opened Dave’s Lounge in 2005.
Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?
A: Wow, that’s a really open question. There are lots of things that make a great song, but for the most part, it just needs something to hook the listeners. Cliche as it sounds, the hook does bring you back. That hook, however, could be anything — a catchy chorus, a solid guitar riff or keyboard pattern, a quality sample loop, or even just a certain vibe that makes the listener want to listen multiple times.
It’s a different sort of hook for every genre. The thing that makes people want to listen to Thievery Corporation is different from what makes people want to listen to, say, B.B. King or early 80s Michael Jackson. But there’s always something there to catch people’s ear, and sadly, I don’t think I can describe it any better.
Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?
A: I got into trip hop in the mid 90s after being a total hip hop junkie for much of high school and college. It takes that feeling you get when you find the perfect 2 or 4 bars of a record and make something entirely new with it, and it combines that with a melodic element in a way that just works. I first heard it in 1989 when Fresh 4’s cover of “Wishing on a Star” was in heavy rotation on my local R&B station, and I figured all R&B was going in that direction — except I didn’t hear that sound again until 1995, when Portishead unleashed “Dummy” on the world.
Trip hop and downtempo electronica can be very versatile as a genre, so much so that people try to split it into a hundred subgenres. But it all works for me, and even though it’s mostly designed for a chilled out mood, a good song can get me pretty excited. (Not that you could tell from my podcast voice, of course…)
Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?
A: I try not to concern myself with specific laws, really, though I keep an eye on them. I just abide by some very basic rules for my show. I don’t play music from RIAA labels, and I avoid cover songs (although I’ve inadvertently broken that rule once or twice). I stick to legal outlets, like the Podsafe Music Network and IODA Promonet — which are excellent resources for podcasters seeking music — and anyone who emails me and asks me to consider their music will get a listen, provided they fit into the genre of my show. (Punk rockers and bluegrass fiddlers who try to be my friend on Myspace get on my tits. A little research never hurt anyone.)
Most of all, though, I only work with people who want to work with me. If I don’t have permission to play your song, I’ll email you and ask permission. 49 times out of 50, the artists will grant it, because they want the exposure. If they don’t reply, though, I respect it and move on.
Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts have the same power?
A: In theory, yes. In practice, it’s a little trickier. People do buy music they hear on my show, and I’ve made it as easy as possible for my listeners to do so, but it does seem like many people just listen to the podcasts themselves and leave it at that. Why buy the cow, y’know? It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for me, too, because I want to put out a great show each week, but I also want people to go out and support these musicians, because they help make my show what it is. (This is one reason why I don’t ask for donations on my show. It never felt right to me to take cash on the backs of other people’s creations.)
Still, what makes a good music blog or music podcast is the unified voice behind it. Here’s one person saying, “This is a great song, and you should listen to it.” It’s the reason certain DJs are so popular in electronic music: they have a good ear for good tunes. It’s easier than ever to get music out there, but because there’s so much of it now, we still need the gatekeepers and tastemakers to guide us to the good stuff. That’s one part of the music business that won’t go away any time soon. We’re just seeing a slow transition of those gatekeepers from radio and TV to the Internet.