A Hidden Trax Guide: How to Nail a Podcast Interview!

Our #hiddentraxchats are bursting with interviews – ranging from friendly conversations between pals, to probing discussions about emotive topics. A good interview can be the backbone of a great podcast, and getting the dynamic right between interviewer and interviewee is crucial!

We’re definitely still learning and improving. In fact, an interview can be so unpredictable and varied that we probably always will be!

So, we thought we would share some (hopefully) helpful top tips. We’d love this to start a conversation around interviewing, as it is something that we at Hidden Trax are truly passionate about. So do drop as a line with any thoughts, tips or advice you’d like to share!

1 – Do your research!

How will you hope to have a meaningful or insightful conversation with someone unless you turn up prepared. It is through research that we’ve been able to construct interesting questions and decide on a shape and structure to the interview.

When preparing for our ‘A Chat with Edinburgh’s Coffee Shops’, I met with Axel (our guest host) for the afternoon, to decide upon the perfect questions together. We used his incredible coffee knowledge, his familiarity with the guests, and my research into the coffee industry to write the questions. 

2 – But, also be ready to go with the flow!

Interviews in podcast terms are really conversations, and conversations are unpredictable, evolutionary things that dive off on tangents, take U-turns or simply take a while to get going. Because of these facts, we’ve found it is vital to be prepared to adapt your questions, think up new ones on the spot and generally go with the flow.

This couldn’t be better illustrated than with a story from the Festival, during our List Festival podcast recordings. Host and organiser Gareth, due to a hugely important personal emergency, was a couple of hours late on one of our busiest days. Our multiple guests – all Festival performers – were on a tight timetable, fitting in rehearsals, marketing and other PR commitments to their performance days. So, Hidden Trax employee Kenza decided to interview two of the Fringe Festival performers before they had to leave, in Gareth’s absence. 

She didn’t know who they were, what his questions were going to be about, what their show was about, or have a single question written down. She just had to totally wing a twenty minute interview on the spot!

But it went ok, and was still better than no interview at all! The ultimate going with the flow, we think!

3 – Put your guests at ease!

This is a big one. People can often feel nervous in front of a mic or in a recording studio – especially when they’re talking about something personal, often with total strangers!

It is crucial you make your interviewees feel welcome and comfortable. Make a joke, offer them a drink, tell them to make themselves at home. We were amazed at the difference in responsiveness when it came to interviewing a guest, when we’d been organised and un-rushed in the build up, allowing us to put all our effort into making the guest feel totally at ease. 

Make sure you’ve got some biscuits ready: sweet treats are an easy way to break the ice!

4 – Don’t be afraid to get out and about!

The studio is a great place to host a podcast interview, of course. But, we’d also suggest cracking out your Handy Recorder and getting yourself out into the world once in a while.

First, you might find yourself with access to guests who could not or perhaps would not have been able to make it to the studio. Field interviews take you to someone’s place of work, home or somewhere convenient to the interviewee. This can be dynamite when setting up the recording. 

Second, due to these types of settings – more often than not, the guest is far more comfortable and this creates a more natural conversation! 

And finally, there is an added audio interest when it comes to background noise; interviews done out and about do wonders for ‘painting an audio picture’. Radio production eat your heart out!

5 – Guide the conversation!

Our final tip is most useful when interviewing groups, but still helpful when you find yourself in a one-to-one situation. You’re hosting here, and you have to make it clear when you are hoping for answer and who you are hoping for an answer from!
Use your guests names constantly, use gestures to indicate who you’re speaking to, and have some phrases at hand to cover any awkward silences. 

This is your space and your interview, so whilst it is ideal when a guest runs away with the chat – you’re also in charge of keeping an eye on the time, making sure you get your key questions asked and making it clear who’s turn it is to speak!

A Hidden Trax Guide: How we found our Creators & became a part of Edinburgh’s creative community

Trying to break into a community in a city the size of Edinburgh can seem a daunting, or difficult task. A year ago, Hidden Trax kickstarted our hunt for local content Creators. We set out to build a community of passionate, engaging, diverse storytellers to produce our podcast adventures. 

But where to start?

Creative Edinburgh

We were incredibly lucky to start with the lovely folk at Creative Edinburgh. A vital organisation in the city, they strive to connect creative people and help them thrive. A special thanks to both Yasmin Sulaiman and Anna Gormezano Marks, who supported Hidden Trax in our early beginnings – making valuable recommendations and joining some dots between ourselves and Creators. 

Our Head of Ops, Kenza, has gone on to use the organisation’s mentorship scheme. This has been a hugely beneficial process that she’d recommend to anyone looking to structure their personal or business growth.

Creative Circles

Through our connections with Creative Edinburgh, we became regular attendees of their monthly Tuesday morning event, Creative Circles – a coffee and cake networking meet-up. We attended the sessions at both Codebase and Custom Lane, and we were even kindly offered the chance to pitch Hidden Trax to the attendees!

Through these mornings, we bagged a host of our Creators, as well as recommendations for great contacts to help us develop our content. We also ate our weight in flapjacks. 

Creative Mornings

Thanks to the entrepreneurial force to behold, Briana Pegado, we were also invited to speak at Edinburgh’s branch of Creative Mornings.

Creative Mornings is a global breakfast lecture series, connecting creatives and hosting inspiring talks along the way.

We were over the moon to get the chance to speak to the Edinburgh members about Hidden Trax at the beautifully reclaimed Old Dr Bells Baths on Great Junction Street. Again, this event led to the recruitment of a handful of new content Creators!

We can’t wait for the next event. 

The List Magazine

Over the Festival, we were lucky enough to produce a four-part series of festival edition podcasts in collaboration with The List Magazine, Scotland’s largest arts and entertainment guide. 

A huge thanks to both Arusa Qureshi, the magazine’s current Editor, and to Gareth K Vile – the theatre editor, for helping facilitate this series.

Gareth’s phenomenal theatre and festival contacts enabled us to bag over ten separate guests, and his interviews covered everything from LGBTQI+ Theatre to the Fringe of Colour movement. 

What a great way to cover the Edinburgh Festival. Here’s to the same next year!

EH-FM

Kenza has been involved with this community radio station – based up at Summerhall – since its conception. The station has rapidly become a pillar in Edinburgh’s music scene, and was another important part of our creative puzzle. 

A big thanks to Jamie Pettinger for his help in broadcasting some of our content on EH-FM, helping us reach a wider audience and promoting Hidden Trax to a valued demographic.

Codebase

And last, but the opposite of least – we can’t not mention the lovely folk at CodebaseHQ. Being based in this thriving tech & creative hub full of hundreds of innovative startups and creative businesses, has been integral to our growth. We’ve felt welcomed and supported by the entire Codebase Team – as well as the businesses we work alongside.

Thanks for giving us such a vibrant, diverse and inspiring work home! We’d recommend Codebase for anyone looking to break into Edinburgh’s creative or tech communities in a heartbeat.

If you’re looking for any help when it comes to connections in the creative community, and think we could be of help, then please get in touch.

We’ve been inundated with support, and believe in passing it on.

‘Now the Scottish EDGE semi-final dust has settled……..’ Hidden Trax Reflects

This time last week we were just a few hours from pitching in the Scottish EDGE semi-final. We were practicing fervently. Nervous and excited, we quizzed each other with mock questions, timed our presentation repeatedly and tried not to drink too much coffee. 

It went well – we thought. We said the final word of our three minute pitch as the buzzer went off. Perhaps there were one or two points that we wished we’d included during the panel’s questioning – but the seven minutes flew by, and there was nothing we couldn’t answer. 

So, when Friday afternoon arrived, along with an email from Steven letting us know we hadn’t made it through to the final, so did a pretty crushing sense of disappointment. As with most things in life, we tend to be far more disappointed when we’ve tried our very best at something and felt we couldn’t have given it more. That is perhaps because there is nothing else to hide behind. It is easy to not try, and use that as an excuse when things don’t work out. In the end though, we’re glad we gave it our all. It’s meant we’ve looked back on our efforts with pride. 

We’ve been bombarded with the usual kind words of encouragement and well-meant platitudes. In the moment, this feels cliched. But soon afterwards, the truth behind statements such as, ‘it was a worthwhile and beneficial experience’ become easier to acknowledge. 

Now a week has passed by and the semi-final dust has settled. It feels a fitting moment to begin to reflect on what we’ve learnt from the process, and to thank EDGE for the opportunity and their valuable feedback throughout. 

Preparing for the semi-final has pushed us to stop burying our heads in the sand when it comes to the more challenging areas of our business; something many startups are probably guilty of. We’ve left with 100% increased clarity around some of our weakest areas.

In preparation for our pitch, we were lucky enough to practice presenting at both Harper Macleod and Johnston Carmichael. A huge thanks to both organisations for their time and feedback – the sessions were invaluable in improving our pitch, and for their general ideas about Hidden Trax as a business going forward.

The considered feedback from EDGE after our application submission, and then again after the semi-final has been another hugely helpful part of our overall takeaway from the process. We’ve felt supported, encouraged and constructively challenged throughout. 

In hindsight – we can only be thrilled we embarked on this journey. We’ve ended it as a better business than the one that sent off an application form at the end of August.

 

EDGE – we’ll be coming for you again in the New Year – and we can’t wait!

Thanks for the opportunities, and for all your support!

Hidden Trax 

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