With almost 50 episodes under their belt, Liverpool based duo Sodajerker has become the go-to podcast (and itunes recommended, at that) for aspiring songwriters. We snuck in between Johnny Marr and Neil Finn…
Founded last year by songwriters Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor, the Sodajerker On Songwriting podcast has welcomed guests from, Ben Folds Five to Neil Sedaka. The connecting thread? They all know their way around a good tune. Yep, even “Weird Al” Yankovic…
“We met as kids at school in Liverpool around 1990, and started creating our own material pretty much right away,” they tell SevenStreets, “making demos together on cassette using an unwieldy Amstrad four-track. Later, we formed our own band called Santa Carla, and that’s where we cemented our enduring fascination with the craft of songwriting.”
The short answer is: no-one else was doing it. Or rather, there were a few other songwriting podcasts, but none that featured long-form interviews with renowned songwriters giving insights into their process. That became our ‘hook’. The format of the show was inspired by popular US podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron and The Nerdist. Those two really set the bar for the medium, and we’ve actually been fortunate enough to share several guests with them, including Harry Shearer and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.
How easy has it been to attract guests?
It varies, to be honest. Sometimes it’s as straightforward as exchanging a couple of emails (or even tweets!), but securing other guests has required some protracted negotiation, due to the often intense schedules of the artists in question. It can be pretty frustrating at times, but our patience has generally been rewarded.
What’s the response been like?
Incredibly positive, actually. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of downloads to date and have been featured on popular sites like Boing Boing. We recently discovered that the podcast is mentioned a couple of times in the new novel by American bestselling author Nicholson Baker, Traveling Sprinkler. Apple have been big supporters too, featuring us regularly on the iTunes Podcasts homepage in the UK and Europe. One of the most satisfying outcomes is the many wonderful emails we receive from loyal listeners who really value the show.
What nuggets particularly stand out?
There have been so many highlights, but one particular stand-out moment was having Andy Partridge of XTC (a hero of ours) pick up his acoustic guitar during the interview and demonstrate how he came up with the intro to ‘Senses Working Overtime’. Sitting down in person with the reformed Ben Folds Five was pretty special too. And it was nothing less than a privilege to have Disney legend Richard Sherman talk us through writing the songs for Mary Poppins. Doing the show has basically been one big exercise in wish fulfilment for a pair of songwriting nerds like us.
Who’s on your fantasy programme?
It would have to be a melodious double-bill of Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach. Both have evaded our clutches so far, but hope springs eternal!