It looks like Arkells member Max Kerman might be singing “Oh, The Boss is Coming!” a little more frequently in the near future. Or at least, that’ll be the case if the new podcast he’s executive producing takes off in the vein of Serial or Radiolab.
Mike on Much stars writer, producer and director Mike Veerman — along with Kerman and their cohort Shane Cunningham — as they conduct long-form interviews with celebrities, musicians, actors and writers. It’s one of the latest additions to Much’s new Digital Studio platform, but so far it has featured the likes of Lights!, Shawn Mendez, Tyler Posey and Annie Murphy. This coming Wednesday, they unleash an in-depth chat with Josh Groban.
According to Veerman and Kerman, this gig is all about throwing away conventional interview styles and really digging in à la Q or WTF with Marc Maron.
“We try not to ask too many of the questions the guests have heard before because I know from being in the band it’s kind of annoying to answer the same, ‘How did you get the name Arkells?’ over and over again,” Kerman says. “So we try to hit them with questions that have to do with their past. The thing with the podcast is you don’t need to be pushing whatever they’re doing promo for at the moment. You can sort of go a little deeper than that.”
“That’s a big one with Max,” Veerman adds. “Josh Groban or somebody like that comes in, and I’ll be like, ‘Maybe I should put in something about the record.’ And Max is like, ‘No.'”
As a result, this Wednesday’s release features Groban talking about everything from getting his pilot’s license so that he can fly himself to his own shows to Chicago Hope and The Dark Crystal.
“There’s something about the long-form interviews that are disarming for guests,” Kerman explains. “I know from experience if you’re on a commercial radio station and you’re talking a mile a minute for like a three-minute spot between songs, you don’t really feel like you’re having a conversation with someone, you’re blurting out catch phrases or something.”
Kerman says he knew that Veerman would be the perfect man for this gig given their long friendship together. When they’d catch up after tours or hang out for lunch, Veerman would not only be a great ear, he was also able to capture — and hold — the attention of the room. In the coming months they developed something that’s a passion project of sorts, something they’re willing to try out just because it’s fun rather than the fact that it could potentially turn a profit.
The only problem? It’s been terrible for their friendship.
“When it comes to the stuff that Mike, Shane and I talk about, we try not to talk about it beforehand because there is a natural reaction that you have when hearing something for the first time,” Kerman says. “There has been a few times when Mike, in our day-to-day, has told us a story that I was like, ‘Oh that would be killer on the podcast.’ But then we try to retell it it just doesn’t have the same effect.”
“The magic’s gone,” adds Veerman with a laugh. “It’s taken away from our friendship because we now avoid talking to each other so that we can be authentic when the tape’s rolling.”