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The Michael Anthony Show: The Only Culture Podcast You Need to Tune into in 2023

With over five million podcasts to choose from, the domain of podcasting  is almost as oversaturated as the music industry in 2023. The insightfully observational podcaster, Michael Anthony, has proven to be a cut above the rest in recent years. Not only due to the guests he has been bringing onto The Michael Anthony Show since November 2018. Also from the candidly unfiltered conversations he facilitates.

After eking introspective gold out of the likes of Jaap Stam, Jake Bugg, Alan McGee, and Steve Van Zandt, for episode number 155, he sat down with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Michael Shuman. Shuman is best known for his role in Queens of the Stone Age and contributions to the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack in 2013, in addition to his successful side project, Mini Mansions.

During the wide-ranging conversation, they touched upon the inorganic nature of fame in the 21st century. Exploring the entitlement of music ‘fans’, who think they have the right to own and criticise artists after watching their every move. The conversation then veers into an exposition on how the necessary evils of social media take their toll as TikTok rewards viral fame and glosses over the phenomenal artists committed to creating great music. Those who reek of desperation while trying to top the charts cast a musky shadow over the limelight of the artists who see the allure of protecting their privacy.

Live Review: Blood Red Shoes / Ciel / Glu – Chalk Venue, Brighton 15.06.2022 – Backseat Mafia

When asked how QOTSA would fare if they rose from the underground in this era, Shuman alluded to the unlikeliness of the prospect due to the band’s proclivity towards longevity instead of immediate viral success. If that wasn’t enough depression fuel, Shuman also revealed that his side project, Mini Mansions, founded in 2009, much to the delight of Elliott Smith and The Beatles fans, wouldn’t be heading back into the studio. After apologising to his fans, the tone lightens as Shuman gives his witty take on the history of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. How the latter two proponents attempt to keep the unparalleled on-stage high going.

Michael Anthony also gives a fascinating take on how rock n roll stars point out inner conflict and human hypocrisy while participating in loveless physical friction after putting their pain on paper and refusing to let anyone in. Before giving an interesting take on how creative expression gives control over emotion. Following that, the hilarity of over-indulged self-importance is ridiculed. Conversations around death are mused. And Shuman shared his ethos on lifestyle moderation and his take on the hypocrisy of vegans doing cocaine.

Potentially my favourite part of the conversation, and something that every creative should note, was the conversation around Shuman’s single, MY DEMONS, which was put out under the moniker GLU. It is a massive departure from his work in Mini Mansions and QOTSA, with the rap-style versing and the increasingly more vulnerable lyricality. Moving away from the abstract meta lyrical stylings of Mini Mansions, Shuman came into his authentic own in the flow of the new wave genre-obliterating earworm. Describing the track as the most honest thing he’s ever done. He threw away any creative façade and shame around his anxiety and psychologically entrenched trauma to exhilaratingly liberating effect.

Michael Anthony then comments on the beauty of music fans’ tendencies to attribute artists’ creativity to their own experiences and how everyone sells something, no matter what trade they’re in. For musicians, that is connectivity, universality, and the ability to expose beauty in the most tragic facets of life. The relationship between obsessive thoughts/OCD and production guilt for artists was also tracked, which is sure to be music to the ears of everyone with a shred of ambition about them.

Michael Anthony’s compulsion to push past the banal and into the bigger questions is fascinating beyond comparison. While dull minds like Joe Rogan allow the genius of his guests to steal the show, Anthony knows exactly which existential buttons to push to reach illuminating insight.

It is remarkably rare for me to find a voice that fascinates me to such a degree that I am lost in thought, and I can feel the boundaries of my perceptions shift. Yet, this conversation resonated as a slice of philosophical vindication for every dim view I hold for the industry. While simultaneously shedding light on arenas I never knew were darkened. I’m officially hooked. As everyone who wants to understand the artistic mindset to the nth degree should be.

Stream the podcast episode with Michael Shuman on Spotify and Apple now.

Follow Michael Anthony on Twitter and Instagram. 

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Austin Seltzer shows us his consummate class and clear vision

Sitting down us with and sipping on a cuppa coffee, Austin Seltzer tells us more about his LA state of mind and all those achievable expectations. Mixing it up and showing love for those who have helped him along the journey, we find a self-aware soul who believes in the power of AI.

Q. We appreciate your time. Please let us know where you’re based today and what is your favorite meal in the whole world.

A. Thanks for having me! I am based out of Los Angeles, CA, and I honestly have to say that my favorite meal in the world is the one I haven’t had yet. I feel like I really live my life in a way that always seeks something better or more enjoyable, especially in food and coffee. I want to be on a lifelong adventure to find new things that interest me. That said, I am a massive sucker for buffalo wings (Ye Rustic Inn) and an unmatched bowl of ramen (any of the Tsujita spots).

Q. You seem to have such a genuine connection with so many incredible artists. Please tell us more about who you enjoy working with and the vision for the music you mix.

A. One of my favorite things in life is connecting with people on a much deeper level. I like to have artists and creatives over to the studio to have a coffee and chat about life, their inspirations, aspirations, and everything in between. I feel like the people I can connect with at this level are the ones I end up doing the best work for, and we tend to continue to work with each other. Art is all about vulnerability. If we can be vulnerable in a conversation, I know that we will also be able to be vulnerable while working on art together. I believe this is why I genuinely connect with the artists I work with.

I have a very clear vision for the music I mix. I go into the process with the idea that I will let the music tell me exactly what it wants to be on the first listen-through, and then I spend the rest of my time on the mix trying to reach that goal. I don’t generally listen to the reference track more than once. I understand exactly what the track wants to be from that listen-through, and I trust my instincts and the song’s production, story, and rough mix to get me there. My ultimate goal is to have my mix elevate the track to a level where the artist and their team feel like the track is everything they wanted it to be and that the listener continues to come back to listen again and again.

Q. You have an upcoming music business podcast on the way. How did this start, and what are your hopes for the future?

A. I do! The idea for my podcast has been in my mind for years now. As much as I wanted to start it years back, I needed to elevate my mixing platform to a point where it could sustain life and reach the guests I would like to have on. The premise of the podcast is to have prolific guests who have reached a level of success in the music business where they can reflect with me on their past so listeners can get a glimpse into their psyche, mindset, some of the pitfalls and wins they have had along the way, and other informative insights into what it takes to be successful in the music business.

My hope for this podcast’s future is to release weekly episodes while continuing to elevate the production quality, questions, and listener base to allow me to bring on more prominent guests while maintaining my primary career and passion – mixing incredible music.

Q. When did you first know if you wanted to be a mixing and mastering engineer?

A. I first knew I wanted to be a mixing engineer while writing and producing music with my buddy Jason Smith back in Dallas, TX. Even though I was in the band in middle and high school, I never learned to properly play an instrument that could play chords. I played the Bassoon, a wildly cool sounding instrument, but one that could only play a single note. While producing music with Jason, I realized quickly that my strengths weren’t in the actual writing of music but more in understanding the sonics and how sound could fit together to make a complete picture, or in this case, a well-produced and great-sounding song. I would study mixing techniques daily from as many internet places as possible. It wasn’t easy to find great information when I was learning. YouTube was entirely just misinformation or about learning to mix using analog hardware, which I didn’t have access to at the time. It was much more about trial and error.

Q. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard a song you’ve mixed?

A. Cinematic and energetic. I have a knack for making the music I mix sound larger than life. When I say cinematic, that’s what I mean. I can make the music feel like it wraps around you and is more 3D than the demo. While some may say that is the point of mixing, what I am describing is more than just elevating a track – It’s part of my secret sauce. It might come from my immense love of video games and their ability to immerse you in a world. I also think it has to do with years of creating music for this world called Azurelah with Jason Smith – a world in which we were telling a story through music and concept art. I always aim to captivate the listener in an immersive way – no Atmos required.

Q. Finally, what hopes do you have for the future of humanity?

A. I think, at this point, it goes without being said that Artificial Intelligence will take most jobs in the next ten years. This week, most tech headlines are about 10,000+ people being laid off from Google, Microsoft, etc. All those job salaries and more money are being put into Artificial Intelligence research and development. I hope we can somehow figure out some form of Universal Basic Income that works to compensate for the displaced jobs that AI will create. Massive corporations will be able to lower their overhead tremendously; simultaneously, they will be able to churn products out faster and more efficiently, doubling down on how many workers are displaced. Since there is no way to stop this from happening, I believe the US government and other countries’ governments must figure out a way of compensating all humans, or else we will have a catastrophic economic meltdown.

Listen up on Spotify. See more on the IG page.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Took My Shot: Big Lou is living with that groove all day on ‘As A Crew’

As he introduces us to his mindset and motivated team after a long time to mediate on the possible outcome through the journey awaiting, Big Lou steps up big time and urges us to do everything ‘As A Crew‘.

Big Lou is a Saint Martin (Sint Maarten) born and raised motivational speaker, Go Produce podcast co-owner and hip-hop artist who now lives in Canada. After starting businesses before as he looked for his true purpose, he realized at the age of twenty-six, that actually being a rap artist is what he truly desired.

As he lived his life following his curiosity he quickly made a lot of mistakes. He knew at this point that he was on the right track because it is in failure where you learn most effectively.” ~ Big Lou

With a fresh flow and pack full of expressive raps that are so energetically interwoven, his reflective mind so clear now after not thinking that this was possible before. His thoughtfulness has comprehended what needed to happen, as he sounds totally captivated by the moment and won’t ever let this slip away.

This is a song that captures the qualities, ideas, and energy that I have as an individual and I am positive that it will set the right tone for my career.” ~ Big Lou

As A Crew‘ from the London, Ontario-based indie rapper, keen observer and podcast owner Big Lou, is the big welcome party that we all needed after that long vacation away, that actually turned into a reoccurring nightmare. His mind is made up and it feels like he is making up for lost time, as his highly enthusiastic energy comes to the fore on a promising debut track. Big Lou is ready for the next stage of the creative process, and we are joining him for a much-welcomed ride of discovery to the promised land.

Hear this audio on YouTube and see more on his IG music channel.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen