Kevin Michael Grace contacted me a while back about doing a segment for his podcast, Grace & Steel. He and his partner, Kevin Steel, do a weekly podcast where they will often interview someone for an hour or two. I’m a listener to their program, so I was flattered and agree to do it. I’m also a believer in the adage, “support the media that supports you.” One way to help to turn the tide in this fight, is for our team to universally no-platform the media of the bad guys. I may be a bit player, but I can do my part.

Anyway, another reason for agreeing to do this was that I have been thinking about doing a podcast, but I was unclear about what was involved. Frankly, I was not sure I could talk coherently for 30 minutes or more. Listen to a podcast and they cruise along effortlessly for a full show and it always feels like they could do so much more. On the other hand, you can stand in front of a crowd, giving a speech and five minutes feels like five hours. I was not sure if I could actually talk about enough things to fill a podcast.

What I learned is a good interviewer can keep you talking for as long as he likes and Kevin is a good interviewer. The real challenge, besides the content, is the technical aspects. In order to not sound like you are in a well or a steamer trunk, you need some equipment and software. Cheap equipment and cheap software means the audio sounds weird. It’s also why many video podcasts look like hostage videos. The sound is bad and the people are looking at their screen instead of the camera.

In my case, I relied on the microphone in the laptop, which probably costs fifty cents for the Chinese manufacturer. The result was a I sounded a little muffled and nasally. I think if I was going to try my hand at this, I’d want to invest in the proper equipment. I don’t know this for certain, but my guess is there is a lot more to it than just the microphone. I just got a taste of what is involved to do it properly. The big shot podcasters who actually make a living at it probably have studio quality gear and know how to use it.

In order to do a first rate podcast, you need to invest in a high quality microphone and you need to learn how to use software to mix, edit and touch up the final product. Grace & Steel uses a method where I recorded my end of the conversation and Kevin recorded his end. After it was over, the other Kevin mixed the two, filtering out the bad parts and strange noises. That’s the other thing I learned. There is a lot of work involved in producing these things, if you want to do it right.

As far as the interview, it was more of a conversation and we could have gone on for hours. Kevin is an interesting guy with a lot of time in the ideological trenches. He has read and interviewed the big shots in conservative media so he knows the terrain. One of the many knowledge gaps between those inside conventional politics and those outside, is that the people outside know there is a rich and dynamic world outside conventional politics. The people in the bubble don’t know what they don’t know.

Anyway, here is the final product. Enjoy.

56 thoughts on “Zed2K

  1. The podcast was very easy listening. I had it playing last night while working late. The dose of sanity is encouraging for those times when I wonder if it’s even worth bothering with the extra work. In a way similar to your blog posts, your manner of speaking is clear and to-the-point. Get that tip jar up, “it’s only fair”.

  2. Friend of mine is one of the “voices”…there are about a half dozen of them that are the ones you hear on movie trailers, commercials (he was “America Runs on Duncan” among other things and did a mean set of Simpsons voices). His trick when on the road and needed to record a quick spot? Take a standard roller bag suitcase, empty it, put it on the hotel room desk on top of a doubled over towel with the microphone inside. Said it worked as well as his 100k home recording studio.

  3. Absolutely loved the conversation Zman and i hate everything. Can’t wait to hear more.

  4. Fascinating stuff, and interesting to hear your voice.

    The interviewer would certainly benefit by speeding up his ponderous delivery. And more than that, he should learn to listen respectfully. He constantly cut you off and talked over the top of you.

  5. Before you buy any equipment, Adam Curry from the No Agenda podcast (and inventor of podcasting), will soon (may 1st) launch a kickstarter for an “USB audio device, no bigger than a book, is the first device specifically made to optimize human voice recording for podcasting.”

    And that guy is very anal when it comes to audio, No Agenda is probably the best sounding podcast out there, second to being the best podcast of the multiverse.

    He also recently made a No Agenda Episode 903-See The Sausage Being Made video, recording his desktop during the show, where you see how the levers of podcasting are pulled! No post editing, it’s all in real time, almost unbelievable.

    • Also worth pointing out is the No Agenda ShowNotes Archive.
      Where they archive EVERY article or clip played on the show.

      And No Agenda shownote search, to find stuff in that archive.
      This is unparalleled in the podcasting world, talk about thorough!

      Something i learned from the last show was that during WW1: “Up to 20k newspaper columns a week were drawn from government CPI releases, Woodrow Wilson, the great Democrat, wanted strict censorship, while George Creel said this would be a great mistake, what we have to do instead, is supply all of the news, everything anybody hears about the war, has to come through the Committee on Public Information, Creels argument is that I’m giving you all the facts (carefully edited facts), and you are free to reach whatever conclusion you will.”

      To paraphrase a clip from a documentary they played.

      Add the CFR and it becomes clear that it really was a war of choice.

  6. Great to hear the voice that pushes the pencil. I would, in this case, have preferred an interview to a conversation, but it’s his show. Grace gave off the vibe of needing to demonstrate he belonged in your company.

  7. Was interesting to hear your voice. Was expecting more John Wayne perhaps :-). Have to agree with another poster listening to your conversation did seem a little NPR-ish.

    What made it stranger still was the two of you trying to establish “street cred “. Just sounded funny. Two intellectuals going back and forth about the ghetto.

    While I won’t compare Boston ( which doesn’t seem to be one of your favorite places ) to bigger cities like Baltimore, living on welfare and growing up in the housing project has a universal misery.

    Most blacks I meet immediately dismiss me as some silver spoon suburbanite. If we have any prolonged interaction they find out my background and their attitude improves.

    But I never volunteer my past. Inner-city poverty is something you survive. As you know there is no glory or romance to it. Would certainly not want to do it again.

    Great blog. Enjoy reading it every day. Keep up the good work !

    • I was the first born, my parents starting out, living in the poor part of town, watching every dime. I always felt poor because of that. I was talking about this once with my brother and he laughed at me and said we were middle class. I guess it all depends on timing and perspective. Things got less tight by the time he was old enough to notice. But part of me still feels poor to this day. and I’m in my early 50’s.

  8. Speaking of tip jars, I hit Steve Sailer’s once a year for fifty bucks. He’s more than worth it, and worth supporting. I’ll bet there are a lot of people here who would feel the same way about your blog. Tim

    • More power to people like you, but if I gave $50 to every blog I enjoyed, the wife would kill me. That’s where advertising comes in. Tasteful ads are fine in my book. I would disable the adblocker for those. But disgusting, low class ads like you see on Gateway Pundit, I have no guilt in blocking.

  9. Great podcast, I found this site while reading James Lafonds, find it entertaining that my two favorite news reports of the day, plus articles for thought, live in Baltimore. Thanks for the effort, Ishmael.

  10. I must confess, hearing George Will and K. D. Williamson labeled as “gold-plated phonies” warmed the confines of my little black heart.

  11. I look forward to listening to this. I like your blog a great deal, and the podcast that Kevin Michael Grace and Kevin Steel put out is by far the best of its kind on the Alt-Right.

  12. Tremendous job, Z-man. I hope you take the opportunity to be interviewed with some regularity in the future. Grace spoke roughly half the words said, which for my tastes is way too much for an interviewer, and he interrupted you to ask a lot of orthogonal questions when you had only been setting the stage for an involved answer.

    It’s a weird sort of rapid fire questioning that drags on for the duration of a feature-length film. That’s their style, though, and some people prefer it.

    Speaking of, for those expressing frustration with the length, try listening at 1.5x speed if you haven’t before. You’ll probably be glad you did. There’s a lot of mental bandwidth that goes into assessing non-verbal communications, especially in a give-and-take, but that’s not necessary for flies on the wall. Speaking at 1.5x would be taxing for most people, but listening at that speed is not. I can’t do it at normal speed anymore, it feels like a remedial high school class.

    • re: “1.5x speed”

      Apple’s Podcast technology also supports 2x speed. It took me a while but eventually 2x clicks in. I use it in my car driving ( Audi interface to iPhone ) and walking ( iPhone ). Hope the Z-man publishes on iTunes.

      I also was turned off by Grace cutting the Z-man off repeatedly

      Dan Kurt

  13. I listened to this after lunch; don’t tell my boss. I expected more reverb on your voice, or maybe some of that vocoder processing to give you that just-came-down-off-the-mountain tone. Actually, your voice sounded very familiar for some reason.

    After reading your blog every day for a coupla years it was interesting to hear you conversing out loud. But in my view Kevin interrupted you way too much. Maybe it was supposed to be a conversation and not an interview, but I was more interested in what you had to say. It also seemed that he was trying a little too hard to appear learned. Tough audience, heh!

    Your Essential Knowledge series does influence your readers, I believe. I’m knee-deep in the first Foote book and also have Ben Franklin’s autobiography on the book pile.

    Thanks for what you do. If you start up a tip jar or subscription, I’m in.

  14. I also liked the crack about how so many of these uberlibertarians rely on government largesse for their living. Let them try dog-eat-dog for a little bit and then let’s come back and talk.

  15. I enjoyed your comments about the job interview where you were asked whether you had ever been fired or been in a fight.

    In the civilian commercial world, my bosses would talk a lot about the times they’d gotten fired or run a company into the ground. In government work, they spend a lot of time talking about their “successes.”

  16. Listened (and enjoyed) as I was driving across Michigan and Indiana. I like Grace’s style- it sounded more like conversation. As for a podcast idea- perhaps a round table with some of the more erudite commenters?

  17. Great show, but I have to take minor exception about the comments about IQ.

    In this recent story about a study that came to the conclusion that as a whole the oldest child in the family on average has a higher IQ than his younger siblings, the study speculates that this is because the mother tends to be more involved with the first born.

    Both you and the interviewer stated that you came from lower middle class and poor backgrounds. I would bet that if any of your elders were tested, they wouldn’t rate so high on the IQ scale either. Yet by all accounts, both of you seem intelligent. The reason I point this out is that there is a difference between the raw matter you are born with, what can be captured by testing, self-discipline and what you pick up from being around others in the same strata and I think it is important to point this out.

    I grew up as a child of immigrants, so at least part of my experience was lower middle class further hobbled by language and culture. I performed very well on standardized tests but got bored easily. Make of this what you will, but I think we need to make this distinction.

    I always find your comments about the financialization of the economy insightful and have made similar observations about the strip-mining that goes on. You are spot on there.

    • With regard to IQ, environment matters, but genetics matters at least as much, perhaps more. Dozens of twin studies prove this.

      Unfortunately, our current social and political setup operates on the assumption that environment is everything and that heredity doesn’t matter.

      It is hardly surprising, by the way, that someone who performs well on standardized tests–which is just your long-winded way of saying “smart”–would be easily bored.

      • I’ll tell you what. I was a bright kid and had a freakish memory (I emphasize the word “had”). Then I finished my edufication and got out into the real world and met people who are off the charts intelligent. I not only don’t feel so smart anymore, I realize there are other qualities that are just as, if not more important. Qualities such as persistence and that leadership intangible that people like Trump have to push things through and get things done.

        • Your feelings and anecdotes are irrelevant. On average, smart people make more money. On average, smart people go to jail less. On average, smart people are less likely to get divorced. On average, smart people even live longer. High IQ correlates across the board with good outcomes. Anyone who is reasonably familiar with the subject understands this.

  18. You should most certainly do a podcast. Not many people have plenty to talk about as well as a good voice for radio. The interviewer did a good job of keeping the conversation moving but he interrupts far too much.

  19. I listened to the whole 90 minutes and enjoyed it. But, that’s a big chunk of time and I don’t see myself doing it regularly. Thirty minutes would be more my speed….but then I don’t listen to podcasts and people who do might want the longer format.

    You mentioned growing up in poverty. Do you think that accounts for a good part of your realism? Most of the top reporters at the Times for example, come direct from the upper middle class and the Ivy League. Explains a lot.

    Enjoyed particularly what you had to say about cheap finance money being used to bust out small businesses. That really could explain a lot about what’s happening in this country, and surprise surprise, you never hear a politician mention it. Watching all the small businesses in my small town get replaced by a few franchises and nationwide storefronts has been a bit dispiriting.

    • I do think growing up poor forces a sort of realism on you. I think you experience, at an impressionable age, people in their rawest form. This seems to be a common experience with people who come from poverty. It’s also why the formerly poor are not sentimental about the poor.

  20. Speaking of soldiers & letters, it reminded me of the civil war letters (youtube) standup routine by the late (OD) comedian Greg Giraldo, it makes your point:

    “Let’s face it, our reading and writing skills in our country…every day there’s a story in the paper about how shitty our schools are. They just keep getting worse, all the time. I read a book, it was filled with letters that soldiers in the Civil War had written to their girlfriends back home. Most of these guys had never even been to school, but every single letter in the book was incredible. Every single letter was like: (in southern accent) “My dearest Hannah, this morn finds me wrecked by the fiery pangs of your absence. I’ll bear your cherished memory with me, as I battle the forces of tyranny and oppression.” Now, think about what the typical letter from your average modern-day soldier, to his girlfriend back home in like, New Jersey’s got to read like: (in New Jersey accent) “Dear Marie, it is hot as fuck out here. It is hard to fight these sand monkeys, wit your balls stuck to your legs. It is very, very hot out here because I am in the dessert. What else did I wanna aks you? Oh yeah: DON’T FUCK NOBODY TIL I GET BACK.””

  21. ZMan – I thought you did a great job. I appreciate it was Kevin’s show, but it did get annoying how he would ask you a great question, let you talk for 30 seconds and then pop off about something that may or may not have been germane to the story you were telling. You did a nice job staying on track and moving from one subject to the next. I think it would be interesting to hear you do some of your own podcasts. I’d be far more interested in hearing you develop your thoughts, and ramble as you need to, as Dan Carlin does.

  22. Great conversation always goes by too quickly. You two could have easily continued for another hour at least.
    As a current resident of NYC for 30 years and formerly of Rochester, New York, your perceptions of and experiences with the black community resonate with my own almost completely.
    Despite what most folks in the rest of the country may believe, I have encountered more honest race realism from average New Yorkers, including blacks, than any other part of the country, by far.

      • It seems self explanatory…and I’m not being snarky.
        Honest as in uncensored opinion, and race realism is the understanding that group differences exist and many stereotypes about various ethnic groups have a basis in reality.
        I’ve worked, and socialized, with a lot of working class black people in NYC, and once they’re comfortable with me, they let their true feelings about other black people fly. And don’t get me started about what Dominicans and Puerto Ricans think about blacks.If you want to hear some “hate speech”, spend 8 hours a day with a crew of Domincans and PR’s. Let’s just say they don’t mince words and it would make your average white liberal weep, which might actually be a good thing if your average white liberal actually spent any time around poor and working class blacks and latins.
        Alas, white liberals specialize in keeping their beloved POC at arms length at all times.
        White liberals like to be around “diversity”. They like to see it and live near it, but not directly interact with or engage with it in any meaningful way. I spent 15 years living 2 blocks away from the projects, and working in landscaping with many blacks and latins of various descriptions, and I had no choice but to engage with “diversity” all day every day and learn to deal with it.
        In my experience, most New Yorkers have a clear perception of group differences and aren’t afraid to let you know about it if given the opportunity.

  23. I particularly appreciated your discussion of financialization’s impact on society. The enormous impact of a pure fiat monetary regime on our economy and culture since 1971 is seldom discussed in depth, maybe because it’s a hard concept for many to grasp. But there is no question that it has enabled the state and it’s handmaidens to do enormous damage to our society over the past four decades.

  24. Great job Z. I hope you follow through and decide to publish your own podcast. I will definitely be a listener. I learn a lot from you.

    Q: Why do the neocons insist on the “invite” portion of the “Invade the world, invite the world”?

    A: They hate Whites more than their Semitic cousins, and see us as their biggest foe. It’s the only way to balance that perplexing equation. No one holds a grudge like the tribe.

    • His first guest could be James LaFond, who is also from Bodymore!

      Having a familiar topic to talk about is good to ease into the pod’ craft.

  25. Z, I found your voice, pace of speaking, and not surprisingly, your vocabulary, to be excellent. Kevin, however, could stand to speed things up a bit. The drawn out and pedantic questions compelled me to say goodby after about 50 minutes.

    • Agree Chazz.. Good grief, could Kevin be any more NPR-ish in his speaking diction? Slow, thoughtful questions… seemingly deep, but pedantic really ( like Chazz said!). ( Charlie Rose comes to mind too.) I’m not going to hate on him after just one listen… The pacing was a slog for this Texan. heh.

      Z, enjoyed getting to hear you and especially your insight on writing and commenters! .. and I wish you well with your endeavor to persevere.. (and the podcast). Wish you the best. ( and no disrespect to you Kevin if you read this! )

  26. It was interesting to hear your voice. Not exactly what I was expecting, but not incongruous, either.

    I’ve given a couple of interviews on podcasts (and once for a television show). Never listened to them myself. Can’t stand the sound of my own voice.

    Speaking of which, the somewhat lugubrious delivery of the interviewer kept reminding me of someone, but I couldn’t quite place it. But then it dawned on me. He sounds a bit like Studs Terkel!

    • I listened to a minute or two and I thought I sounded a little weird, but it is hard to judge. I very rarely listen to my recorded voice. People who know me report that I sounded like I had a cold. They also say I am much louder in person.

      Googling around, it does appear that the quality of the microphone makes a big difference. The cheap mics tend to make people sound like they are inhaling helium. Maybe it is harder to pick up lower tones and requires better gear. I don’t know. That’s a whole area about which I know nothing.

      • I once recorded some audio tapes, reading books to listen to while driving and working. Practicing and paying attention to how I sounded had a profound effect on my speaking ability & confidence. Well worth the time.

    • Kevin is based in Canada. I’m not sure if he was a radio/TV guy, but he wrote for newspapers so he may have been a regular on radio.

        • Ah. That would explain the A/V knowledge.

          It’s a funny thing. There’s not a lot of crossover between Canadian and American media. When I lived near the border, I’d get Canadian Radio and TV. I never saw people do both sides. We also get more BBC content than Canadian content.

  27. My fastest 90 minutes in the last few years. Thank you for doing it.
    I could comment on a lot, as the discussion was wide-rangeing and terrific. I choose the ghetto, of which I have some experience. Here is a passage from my novella, Breathe in Grace:

    Eva lives in East Tremont, which is, I feel safe in saying, one of the worst neighborhoods in the country. It’s all five and six story tenements, no trees, garbage in the streets, with gangbangers, drugs, and fear everywhere. The last time I was at her apartment, there were two black kids taking turns whacking an ATM machine in front of her building with a sledgehammer on the sidewalk in front of her building. This was in broad daylight. People passed them like it was nothing, which is the best strategy to have if you live there. Don’t notice, or, if you do, look away quickly, or better yet, cross the street. Fast. Everything is nothing until it happens to you. When it does happen to you, you could easily be maimed or dead. Being able to, one, not notice, and two, run, are very important survival skills in the ghetto. If I were a television network I’d do a reality series where they drop a suburban couple in the ghetto and follow them as they try to survive. That’s just one of the many oddball things that occur to me as I breeze through my days and nights…

  28. If you’re going to actually be on screen, you need lighting too. I really like Brittany Pettibone and Tara McCarthy’s podcasts where they interview various Right wing and alt-Right figures, but they look like they’re filming it in a closet.

    • Agreed. I find it better to just listen to most of the video podcast. I can’t get past the weirdness of seeing people stare back at me like they are in a fishbowl.

    • Googling around, I found that you can get pretty good audio gear for podcasting for under $100, but the guys doing regular shows probably end up with $500 – $1000 in gear and software. Even so, that’s quite cheap compared to not so long ago. It used to be this had to be done in sound studios.

      • You didn’t sound bad at all. I listen to a lot of podcasts and have heard much, much worse. Glad to have heard such an interesting conversation!

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