with Nadav Carmel (host of Phoning It In) December 5, 2005
I first found out about Nadav & his show Phoning It In when he did sessions with Rivulets & Darren Hayman (Hefner). The premise is simple enough, rather than bands coming in to do radio sessions, Nadav calls them up & they play over the phone line for thirty minutes. Most, if not all, of the sessions are archived on their website. He started the series on BSR in Providence.
QRD – How did you come up with the idea of doing radio broadcasts with the artists calling in over the phone?
Nadav – I was lamenting that the Mountain
Goats were bypassing Providence on tour, and hence would never play
on BSR. And it just clicked: “Wait a second, John Darnielle used
to record into a boombox.…”
QRD – How have you been able to get somewhat renowned artists to agree to do the lo-fi recordings?
Nadav – Luck? That so many people I admire have been on the show has been giddily astounding. And of course asking nicely, sometimes a couple of times…. A lot of people have been really into the idea, but occasionally it takes persistence.
QRD – What phone positioning seems to work best for the recordings?
Nadav – Being on the other end of the line, it’s hard to tell. A few feet away, depending on how loudly you play? You’d think speakerphone was made for this, but it’s actually been really unreliable.
QRD – What type of artists/music would you like to try to do in the Phoning It In format that you haven’t yet done?
Nadav – Definitely hip-hop. More psych and noise. More pop. More of everything, really.
QRD – Since leaving Providence, what do you see as the future of the show?
Nadav – My friend Carrie is helming the show at BSR for the time being. I’m trying to get on the air here in Boston; but failing that, I’d like to set myself up to do this independent of a radio station, a la No Love for Ned. I think the hardware setup would be easy; it’s digitizing the recordings, finding server space and building a website that I’m not sure of. If anyone has any tips, please get in touch! And look for plenty of surprises in the future.
QRD – Are most of the artists surprised by how un-edited the broadcasts are?
Nadav – That’s my fault. The official “first season” (Mountain Goats through Woelv) was recorded live on-air (with a few exceptions), so it wasn’t an issue. After I knew I was leaving town though, I went a bit nuts and did a ton of recording while BSR was off the air for the summer. But mostly people know what to expect.
QRD – What are some of your favorite moments from the show?
Nadav – Oh wow, too many to list. The entire first season. Darren Hayman’s “Gabriel in the Airport” (“It’s about Peter Gabriel, in an airport...”), Billy Childish, Rough Bunnies, and especially Erin Tobey, just to name a few. If I listed all of my favorites, it would be most of the show's roster! And I stick my foot in my mouth in just about every show.
QRD – Anything else you’d like to say?