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Twitter-user-about-town Harry Evans has recently started the podcast Common Ground, where he interviews up-and-coming New Zealand creatives in depth – including musicians like Seth Frightening, Skymning, and Tommy Ill. It’s great – check it out at harryevans.podbean.com.
What inspired you to start Common Ground?
I used to do a radio show with my friend James Gibb and it was really fun. I stopped doing that in 2012, and had occasionally thought of doing another show, but the low listenership of the VBC made it feel pointless. I also started listening to more podcasts in the last year, one of which was this interview show based in LA called ‘Bullseye’ which is hosted by this guy Jesse Thorn, and he is always really well prepared and asks great questions. I also grew up obsessed with movies, music and reading and did drama at school, but never really felt like I wanted to write about any of that – but did want to have some form of output. As a result of all of these things, it occurred to me that there wasn’t a long-form interview show, focussed on the arts, by someone my age. So I started one.
Is there a void you feel you are filling? Does New Zealand’s creative scene talk about itself enough, or in the right ways?
I guess I have to primarily do the show for myself, because if I hoped that it would be really popular or whatever I would just get disappointed. I do think that there isn’t a show like Common Ground in NZ right now. I think my age and the fact that I do go to heaps of gigs and shows mean that I have the confidence to feel like I know enough to be able to talk to these people about what they do. I think there is a lot of talking like little interviews on websites or whatever, but you never learn anything from these. I think that the conversations due to the length of around an hour can be far more informative than a few-line interview [Shhhhhh]. I don’t expect many people to be interested in every episode, but I feel like if you like the arts in NZ, there will be at least one episode that will interest you.
What do you do to prep for an episode?
I generally am familiar with the person already, so it might be just reading interviews they have already done to make sure I don’t cover the exact same things, although sometimes that is inevitable. If it’s a musician like Daniel or Tom, I will listen to their music in the days coming up to the interview to jog my memory or think of questions. For writer Ashleigh Young, I read her book of poetry. I just try to make sure I am as organised as I can be within the time, and write some topics I can refer to during the interview if I lose my place, but often they flow quite well anyway. It’s a great show to do the dishes to.