Pod Bible caught up with Life In The Stocks Podcast host Matt Stocks to chat a little about podcasting, podcasts and well all things pod really.
If you could go back to just before you recorded the first episode of your podcast and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Headphones are essential! Perhaps not for your guest, but as the host you must always wear headphones to ensure the quality of your audio is suitable for broadcast. If you don’t wear headphones to record, you won’t know until you listen back, by which point it will be too late. If you can encourage your guests to wear headphones too, even better: that way they’ll be aware of their own levels the direction of their own voice in relation to the ‘sweet spot’ of the mic. Invest in a good pair and ALWAYS wear.
What makes a great podcast guest?
A great podcast guest isn’t necessarily the most famous person you can find. Obviously, having big name guests on your show helps with exposure as well getting other big name guests to agree to appear, which further helps with exposure, and so on. But if you want to capture something truly special and memorable, you need a guest who’s unafraid to be vulnerable and expose themselves. My dream guest is someone that’s been to the top of the mountain and the bottom of the gutter, and everywhere in between, and is willing to open up and share their stories, struggles & triumphs with the world. It always pays to listen to guests appear on other podcasts to get an idea of how friendly and talkative they are. As with everything, research is key!
What makes a great podcast host?
A great podcast host is someone who listens, first and foremost, to the guests on their show. Don’t interrupt. Don’t talk over them. The moment you start to think what you have to say is more important than what your guest has to say, you’ve lost it. And you’ve lost them. You need to invest in your guest. Show genuine interest. Compliment them. Make them feel relaxed and at ease. Then slowly, subtly – and most importantly respectfully – encourage them to talk about topics that are personal to them. If they like you and they trust you they will start to open up. Then it’s then your job to lead the conversation and take it to the places where other interviewers wouldn’t think (or dare) to go. Be brave. Be bold. Be original.
What’s been your worst podcast moment?
Am I supposed to name names here? Ha ha. I’ve been extremely lucky in my two-year podcasting career. Having already worked as a TV & radio presenter and music writer for seven years, I’ve encountered every kind of personality there is to meet. And I know the ones to avoid. So all my podcast experiences have been great. Bar one. I spoke to someone – who shall remain nameless – at the end of last year, and he was such a miserable git I refused to put the interview out. No one ever needs to hear it. I still like his music though. Thankfully, I’m able to separate from the art from the artist.
What is it about podcasts that appeals to you?
As a host, it’s the sheer flexibility. You can say what you want and you’re not constrained by time or advertisements, as was – and continues to be – the case with commercial radio. As a listener, I suppose it’s the same thing: the free-flowing format and opportunity to just get lost in interesting conversations. In today’s bite-size obsessed, ‘content’ driven world, podcasts are a rare and special commodity. I’d be lost without them.
What annoys you about podcasts/other podcasters?
I guess the only annoying thing with podcasts now, as is the case with music and streaming services, is the market is completely oversaturated and for some people it can be difficult to find something that they’re into – just as it can be difficult for hosts like me to find their audience. There’s so much competition. And it seems to be the same select few podcasts that get recommended by the mainstream media over and over again, so a lot of the more underground but equally brilliant podcasts get overlooked. Thank god for the Pod Bible! (What a kiss ass! Ha ha.)
Is there anything you found annoying as a podcast listener… but then understood when you started making your own?
Not really. If I find something annoying I just switch off. Life’s too short. I wish more people did that, rather than feel the need to express their grievances online all the time. Like those people who hit the thumbs down button on YouTube videos. Why bother? Just watch something that you do like, you sad twat!
Which one podcast episode of your own means the most to you?
There’s quite a few podcast episodes that hold a special place in my heart. There’s been tears and moments of profound human connection on several occasions, and in some cases I’ve made some genuine friends for life through podcasting. But hands down the Life In The Stocks episode that means the most to me is Episode 010 with John Lydon from the Sex Pistols & Public Image Ltd. He’s my hero. And I was so nervous going into the interview (for the first time in a long time) because I’d heard so many horror stories about how difficult he can be with journalists. I thought he was going to eat me alive and I’d come away hating him. But he was an absolute sweetheart. We really hit it off. We sat out on the balcony of his hotel room drinking beers & smoking cigarettes (you hear me pinch two fags off him during the course of our conversation), and he opened up about his childhood, his relationship with his ex-Sex Pistol bandmates and all sorts of stuff. It was one of the best days of my life and the proudest moment of my professional career. They say don’t meet your heroes – I say get better heroes.
Which one podcast episode not of your own means the most to you?
Can I say a podcast episode that I’ve appeared on as a guest, as a shameless plug? Ha ha. If so, then I’d have to say Mark And Me Episodes 46 & 47, starring yours truly. Mark interviewed me on a day off from tour last year and he caught me in a particularly reflective mood. We went DEEP. I even cried. I wasn’t my finest or proudest hour. But it felt like therapy and it was great to get some things off my chest that I’d been holding on to for a long time. I always enjoy being on the other side, too. I value the experience of being interviewed and I always try to apply it back to my own approach as an interviewer. Always learning. Always growing. Because we can always be better. Aside from that, basically any episode of Mark Maron ever gets my vote. He’s the true podfather in my opinion, and a constant source of inspiration for me.
Go and explore Matts fantastic podcast here www.acast.com/lifeinthestocks