(Last updated June 17th, 2020). June is Pride Month, a month-long celebration of all things LGBTQ and human and civil rights. So, how can we celebrate the occasion? By highlighting the top 10 most interesting and exciting LGBTQ podcasts and podcasters, those who are committed to standing for LGBTQ rights and highlighting issues that still affect society today.
Have you ever wanted to escape reality and forget about all the trouble that is happening in the world. Here’s the solution if you like comedy. Let me introduce to you ‘If I Were You’ with Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. They are two long time friends that like to give advice to listeners about areas they’re qualified to talk about and areas they aren’t. As they read the emails you never know what rabbit hole the guys will go in with their personal stories. Jake and Amir come from a comedy web series called Jake and Amir that started on May 23, 2007 and they played as themselves. The comic duo might be a little too explicit for the ears but hey it’s comedy we all need a laugh.
On their latest episode called Raven Nest Jake and Amir covered apologies, dream homes, and slots. Here are questions and topics they got asked during the show.
- Do you care about your school reputation?
- How can I get back to the serial toilet destroyer?
- How do you embarrass a serial toilet destroyer?
- Dream Homes and living in Raven Nest.
Do you mind introducing yourselves?
Ilya: I’ve been in the band since we decided to form it together with Grant, during our school years. At first I was excited to play guitar, and was deeply influenced by David Gilmour, but since we never did find a bassist, I tried it out and have enjoyed it ever since then.
Grant: I’ve been playing drums for 7 years, and it is quite funny how I came to it. We decided to form a band and I simply said “OK, I’ll be the drummer”. At school I had met my first drum teacher, and now drums are my life.
Anton: I tried singing out when I was 12. At that time I started playing classical guitar, which I had received from my father. He was my first guru to the world of music, and he taught me to play guitar and piano. At that time I wrote my first songs.
How did Stoneberry start?
Ilya: Stoneberry finally gathered over 4 years ago, but since we came up with the spontaneous idea with Grant to play musical instruments at school, we went through years of looking for members. I became acquainted with our guitarist Fedya in University and after we were three, Anton found us on the Internet.
Anton: Yeah, the guys tried several vocalists but it all came to nothing. I had also had a band at school, but it broke up as I was looking for a new one. After some unsuccessful attempts to form my own band, I saw they were looking for a vocalist. Since then, we’ve been Stoneberry.
How would you describe your sound? Who and what have been your personal influences?
Grant: Our music is a mix of different genres, because every one of us has different musical influences and frequently they are dispersed. But our compositions are the intersection of our musical tastes. As for myself, I was influenced by my first drum teacher, who gave me my first boost.
My influences are absolutely diverse, for example I like bands such as Gretchen Parlato and Animals As Leaders. But personally, I’m more inspired by individual musicians such as JP Bouvet, Ruslan Gadzhimuradov, Steeve Gadd, Aaron Spears etc.
Anton: I agree that in Stoneberry we can combine all of our ideas and influences, and that’s why I think we always vary in musical genres, play with song structures, apply new instruments, etc. This musical flexibility allows us to create something very exciting and unusual, and it could be why it’s attractive to people.
As for personal influences, I enjoy classic, unfading bands and solo musicians – and there are too many to list, but I also always try to find new names. The latest that have impressed me were soul singers Lianne La Havas and Rhye. My vocal style is mainly formed on Thom Yorke, Neil Young and Jim Morrison.
Ilya: We can’t describe our sound as a certain genre and though, as Grant said, we listen to different music, we can still correlate with each other. I’m inspired by bands such as Pink Floyd, Dredg, Porcupine Tree, and the Russian band In A Nutshell.
You are based in Russia, but have you had a chance to bring your music abroad?
Anton: We haven’t yet had a chance to play abroad, but with the help of social networks like Facebook and mainly Last.fm, we can be heard in different countries and sometimes get feedback. I think that one day we’ll play live somewhere in Europe or wherever and bring our music to foreign audiences.
Do you find audiences abroad take in your music differently?
Grant: Perhaps, yes. Foreign music sets a high standard for composing and performing, and it’s really hard to gather pace with it. Plus, in developed countries people are more accustomed to these higher music standards. In Russia there are fewer professionals and it’s easier to amaze the audience, although people are still not as eager to discover something new.
Anton: However the situation is changing nowadays and the new modern tendencies are beginning to penetrate Russian music markets, too.
Are you touring now, or will you be touring soon?
Ilya: No, though we have some local gigs booked in Moscow and in the suburbs. We are currently concentrating on preparing studio recording sessions for a new single – the starting point to our first LP. After that I think we’ll plan a tour in Russia and enlarge our audience.
Congratulations, guys! We wish you all the best!
Here at Spreaker we’ve had a recent major influx of users, and we’re thrilled about it!
Let’s give a warm welcome to the new Arab users giving us some heavy play.
We’d like to thank you personally, and we’re excited to hear all your upcoming creations, thoughts, and opinions. So far we’ve discovered some great content made by you, and we want to share it with the whole community.
Here are some sweet treats for your ears:
DJ Moa Teck keeps the beats thumping with electronic pulses mixed with traditional Arabian touches.
Amr puts you in a State of Trance that will get your booties moving on the dance floor.
And this is just the beginning, we can’t wait hear what else you guys have to offer! Tell us about your other shows – send them over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We decided to bring the guys from OccupygeziRadio, the voice of the Turkish protests, up to the mic today for an interview. The young trio is London-based, each with his or her own experience of how the horror has started, their worries and fears, and the goals guiding them to create the show. From London to Istanbul, Occupygeziradio is constructing a connecting bridge of stories and human acts. Here’s what these guys told us:
Where are you based and how do you contact people from Turkey?
Cagla: We’re based in London. And using our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we’re calling people to be volunteer for English interviews via Skype. Also, all of our friends are helping us contact people who want to share their own words. There is great teamwork and communication with them.
Why did you choose to do a live podcast?
Ege: Because the media’s response in Turkey was unbearable. I felt I couldn’t breathe, literally.
Cagla: On the 1st of June, we organised a march and protest in Hyde Park. But when we went back home, I felt like we needed to do more. Because of the media ban, people were so desparete there. We thought we needed to share all those stories with the rest of the world. I asked Aybuke to find out, how we could create an online radio. So she created the account, and ever since Sunday morning, our full-time job is this radio.
Aybuke: On the second night of the events, I had a call from Skype from someone I do not know, and found out that he was was trapped under police attack, along with his friends, two of whom were wounded. He said he could not reach out to anybody and his battery was dying. So, I shared that on our social media channels, and some help was directed towards them. They were rescued in the end, you can also find his recording on our broadcasting channel (Ozkan, 19). After that, my friends here contacted me saying they are planning to create an online radio and broadcast calls with individuals in Turkey. This is how it started…and they have been taking calls and broadcasting continuously ever since. All the young people who use internet the most are out on the street, some of them are sharing videos, some of them are doing live broadcasts of the terrible scenes with mobile cameras. We thought that it would be easier to call people and listen. When we considered the fact that government based internet providers have prohibited access to Twitter and Facebook, which is used in Turkey now as a communication channel to direct lawyers and doctors wherever needed, the only option left was talking on the phone.
Do you think that newspapers are giving a distorted version of what’s actually going on?
Cagla: As we all know, even the journalists have their own ideas and own ideologies. So how can you expect any comment to be objective? The only true scene is the individual’s story. This is what I believe.
Aybuke: Oh I really do, especially in London. I was reading the Metro newspaper yesterday and could not believe it. It was showing all those peaceful protesters as a threat to governmental party buildings and the Turkish Grand National Assembly, indicating that the police are trying to protect the president’s house, etc. Those protestors are cleaning the whole area first thing in the morning until the next attack. No one has lost cell phones, and if someone finds a cell phone, they do everything they can to return it to the owner. You cannot expect any dangerous attack from the original peaceful protesters. I call it “original”, because there are provokers doing crime for sure, but, thanks to Hayden Smith today, he made it clearer on Metro news.
How do you try to amplify Turkish voices on the web?
Ege: To reach out as many people as possible. Also we’re contacting international media through their email addresses, telling about our radio and why we’re doing this.
Aybuke: I have seen some graphics on the overall usage of Twitter in the last 5 days showing increasing usage in Turkey. The silencing of Turkish media has led us into using all kind of online communication tools. Spending all day on those channels and trying to stay united is what we are trying to do. With the great work of my friends doing all the broadcasting, online radio is helping a lot.
Have you contacted any organizations or journalists to inform them of your podcast?
Cagla: Actually not directly, but I am using my own Twitter account to tweet them about our radio channel. Also, what we realized on the second day of the radio, giving the entire link was too long. Then Ege created www.occupygeziradio.com and processed Spreaker’s link there.
Aybuke: We are spreading it through Twitter and Facebook and unfortunately Turkish media has been silent until now, only Halk TV is broadcasting. It is penguin documentaries on Turkish TVs. Protesters brought teddy penguins with themselves to Gezi park, to attract their attention. Yesterday, when protests were directed to media buildings, some channels had to give it on the news. But newspapers, they are all about magazines etc. So we did not have any collaborating media or individuals working for those media channels.
Have you had any bad experiences in the last few days? Threats, offenses?
Ege: Just one anonymous stalker.
Cagla: Me, personally; I feel so much fear sometimes. Because I have no idea what’s going to happen to us really. This is my human reaction, not political one. Also, I am not any political party member. Just non-politically minded. But, because I’m using my own Twitter account to reach people, that is making me afraid sometimes, but when I receive texts from my own boyfriend or from my best friend, I just forget all this fear. And keep having interviews.
How are you going to plan activities for the upcoming days?
Ege: The goal is clear, spread the voices in Turkey internationally. The radio will be on as long as they have things to share.
Cagla: For two days, we cannot concentrate on anything else but radio, which is the same feeling as all Turkish people all around the world. Now, we’re following social media, trying to learn what’s happening there and trying to reach people who want to share their words.
Aybuke: More than a plan, we expect something from our president. We expect him to listen to us and take this act seriously instead of blaming and calling us “looters.” He should be sending peaceful messages and should give some hope, as well as any kind of solution to this. And most importantly, he should immediately pull back the police force which is getting worse and worse each day, using unheard of chemicals on people.
What message would you like to share with the community?
Cagla: There can be political ideas and this rage must come to an end as soon as possible. But these individual stories, how they are going to forget this? The foreign student in Ankara, how he is going to forget the screams? Or last night, someone died in Hatay. What about his mother? I cannot understand. Maybe I am too emotional, I don’t know. Just share this podcast with the entire world. They will understand.
Aybuke: I know that some “more civilized” parts of the world have gone through all of these many, many years ago. We have gone through a great war 90 years ago to protect our country, but this is the first time we are in a war to protect our freedom and free will within the country. My message to the Turkish community is that they should continue to keep this peaceful, and should stay away from provocative acts. Sooner or later, the government will take it into consideration. And I’d like to congratulate them. On the other hand, my message to the rest of the world; those who have experienced this hundreds of years ago, why don’t you help us survive this with your experiences, and today’s communication/information technologies, why choose to neglect and ignore? And those who have not experienced this, one day it will hit you too… Stay with us, support us, and you’ll learn how to keep your future safe.
To contact contact the trio and share their stories and comments, just follow these links for their Twitter accounts. Good luck guys!
Cagla Cakir: twitter.com/caglacakr
Ege Akpinar: twitter.com/egeakpinar
Aybuke Kini: twitter.com/aabuke