Press Play on #PDXmusic Podcasts: Dan Cable Presents, The Future of What, Klyph Notes and Tour Punisher

Vortex Music Magazine

Explore the stories behind the music—and the music biz—with some of Portland's best podcasters.

Gold Casio's Ela Ra and Dan Cable: Photo by Carson SmithGold Casio's Ela Ra and Dan Cable: Photo by Carson Smith

Dan Cable Presents

GENRE: Weekly in-depth conversations and live performances from independent artists in the Northwest music scene
NOTABLE GUESTS: Gold Casio, Haley Johnsen, Tribe Mars, Salvatore Manalo, Rare Monk, Blossom

As he passes the 150-episode mark of his "progrum" (an homage to his grandpa and a bit that's become a standard sign-off for the show), Dan Cable reflects: "One of the fun things at this point is that I am starting to have return guests, and because I've already developed a relationship with those people, it becomes even more of hang and a free-flowing conversation."

To be fair, Cable keeps the show pretty laid-back regardless of how many times he's hosted a guest, and that's part of why the show appeals to both casual fans and obsessives. "I thought it would be awesome to give some of the lesser-known independent artists the opportunity to sit down and have candid conversations, to share the stories behind their music," he tells.

And though Cable does indeed host a lot of local artists at all levels (he names Autonomics and Rasheed Jamal as some of his favorite guests), he doesn't shy away from courting touring and national acts. He cites Noah Gundersen's visit as a particularly special moment, and his excitement is palpable when he says, "KT Tunstall did the podcast! Such a mind-blowing moment for me to be sitting down on a couch next to this Top 20 Billboard chart artist."

If he sounds a little awestruck, it's for good reason: "I started this as a musician myself, and more importantly as a music fan, so there is a long list of my favorite artists that I would love the opportunity to chat it up with." We're just lucky that he's nice enough to share these informed but informal conversations with us on the progrum. —Katey Trnka

Portia Sabin: Photo by Will WattsPortia Sabin: Photo by Will Watts

The Future of What

GENRE: Demystifying the music industry for artists and fans alike via interviews with pros in all areas of the biz
NOTABLE GUESTS: Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Portugal. The Man, Jealous Butcher Records, Larry Crane, KEXP, Pitchfork

Portia Sabin, president of indie label Kill Rock Stars as well as industry advocacy group MusicPortland, kicks off every episode of The Future of What with Delta 5's "Mind Your Own Business," both because it's a great theme song and because "it perfectly encapsulates [her] message to artists,” she explains. “You need to mind your own business, pay attention to your music as a business, because it is one."

Not surprisingly, most artists don’t get into music to manage a business, but it's increasingly essential for those entering the field to know how to advocate for themselves, especially when money is involved.

It doesn't help that the music business has a fairly unsavory reputation, Sabin acknowledges. But she's looking to fix that: "I work in the business and know hundreds of people whose sole desire is to help artists make a living." People like Michael Huppe (SoundExchange), Molly Neuman (Songtrust) and David Lowery (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker) all understand industry issues well and can really articulate them in a way that artists and music lovers can understand. With TFOW, she aims "to bring that reality to people’s attention and to help people understand the industry better in general."

Both Sabin and producer Will Watts have noticed that their audience skews toward younger musicians, and topics such as when to hire a manager and how to deal with press have been introduced to fulfill their needs. But the audience for TFOW is fairly broad, especially given its regular broadcasts locally on each Monday at 1pm, and episodes covering topics from addiction and recovery in the music community, to tapping into crowdfunding, to music licensing have appealed to both fans and professionals. Whether aspiring or established, artists are leveling up and learning the right way to tackle the less glamorized—but crucial—parts of the job. —Katey Trnka

Klyph Notes

Cliff Stanford: Photo by Miss Lopez MediaCliff Stanford: Photo by Miss Lopez MediaYEAR FOUNDED: 2014
GENRE: Catalyzing Portland’s vibrant hip-hop community by talking with its pillars and up-and-comers
NOTABLE GUESTS: Cool Nutz, Myke Bogan, Vursatyl and Jumbo The Garbageman (Lifesavas), Mic Capes, Wynne

For over 20 years, Cliff Stanford (aka DJ Klyph) has steeped himself in the roots of the Rose City’s hip-hop scene, championing and exposing arbiters of the region’s burgeoning hip-hop family, even while the rest of the world is still kind of like: Portland has a hip-hop scene?

“I do smile that the Portland scene is still a little bit of a hidden gem,” Stanford says, “but I love the fact that this allows me to use my platform as a vehicle of education and introduction.”

The conceptualization of Klyph Notes stemmed from the candid bonus conversations Stanford engaged in with guests after the broadcasts of his show Welcome to the Neighborhood—every Saturday from 8 to 10pm.

“I felt like these were conversations I wanted to share with my audience—longform interviews that didn't fit the format of WTTN,” Stanford explains. “Giving folks a personal look at the artists and getting to know more of their stories.”

Stanford’s passion for offering a platform where local hip-hop artists can relate their stories is palpable during his episodes—he’s typically giddy with enthusiasm about esoteric details of the music. Stanford says he’s been working to fine-tune live video streaming for Klyph Notes on his YouTube page as well, “to provide listeners and fans the opportunity to interact with my guests, ask questions live during the interviews, and be an active part of the podcast.”

Don’t get it twisted: The exposure of Portland’s hip-hop scene can legitimately be linked back to Stanford’s efforts through his empiric media reach with the radio show and podcast—plus, for the past two years, he’s curated Mic Check, a quarterly regional hip-hop showcase at the White Eagle. He agrees that ignorance to the scope or size of the scene is changing thanks to outlets like his and others in the community.

“There's such a growing number of opportunities to [build] awareness now,” Stanford says. “I'm grateful that I have access to so many of the best representatives of the scene and that they're gracious enough with their time to share their stories.” —Ryan J. Prado

Tour Punisher with The Domestics: Photo by Ray RudeTour Punisher with The Domestics: Photo by Ray Rude

Tour Punisher

GENRE: Honest, hilarious and absurd real-life tales of touring by bands who’ve seen it all
NOTABLE GUESTS: Chris Funk and Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists), Murder By Death, The Domestics, And And And

Countless rock and roll biopics have subsisted for decades on the premise that artists on tour are essentially golden-god royalty, forever partying on rider booze with free drugs and a line of adoring fans awaiting their every utterance. Tour Punisher is here to inform you that everything you think you know is wrong... mostly.

Produced by Ryan Sollee and Ray Rude, of longtime Portland dark folk crew The Builders and the Butchers, along with pal Noah Dunham, Tour Punisher aims to set the record straight.

“I think too many people have misconceptions about how glamorous life on the road is,” Rude explains. “The truth is that the road can be completely punishing; however, because of that punishment, we end up with some highly hilarious stories.”

The hilarity factor can’t be overstated as hosts Sollee and Dunham navigate candid exposés with guests who’ve decided at some point in their project’s existence to take the show on the road. There’s an intimate underbelly to the conversations that allows the comfort of relaying potentially embarrassing, crass or sexually explicit tales, which typically result in studio-wide belly laughs. Whether it be regaling stories of awkward sleeping arrangements, shady venue dealings, or actual tips on how to survive touring, Tour Punisher has you covered.

Given the potentially libelous territory, and the fact that the band hosting as well as the bands being hosted are still active touring projects, there has been some concern with outing, naming or shaming other bands, sound guys, managers or bookers during recordings.

“It was one of the first things we had a meeting about,” Rude reports. “We are adopting an ‘on the record’ mentality; if you say something on mic, it might be in the episode. So it’s up to the guests on the show to decide who they are comfortable talking about or naming.”

The podcast is entering its second season soon and Rude expects the scope to branch out more from just musician experiences.

“We're hoping to have other touring people on the show—stand-up comics, roadies, athletes, drag queens, animal trainers... whatever!” —Ryan J. Prado

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