Our Podcast Spotlight feature is all about shining a light on the podcasts that we think you should be listening to. There’s a new breed of social commentator documenting our culture, using platforms like Soundcloud to share their perspectives and reach the masses. These voices reflect us and that’s why we think it’s so important that we use our platform to give them a platform. Welcome to the first ‘Podcast Spotlight’.
We love a good old honest conversation. And that’s the tagline for OFF THE CUFF, the podcast hosted by Fols Forever and Mr Vans. These guys were early on the podcast game, launching back in early 2015 and setting the trend for the current wave of podcasters to follow. We featured OFF THE CUFF in our ‘Talk The Tings: The Rise Of The Podcast’ article back on March and we continue to be massive fans of the show.
Brutally honest and unfiltered, the duo have conversations about current social issues focusing on music culture and host insightful interviews with an array of special guests. With a new episode each week, OFF THE CUFF offers that definitive social commentary on the thriving scene and culture we now have in the UK.
We sat down with Fols and Mr Vans to find out more about their inspirations, ambitions and plans for the future.
What motivated you to start the podcast OFF THE CUFF podcast?
Fols – There was not too much representation in the podcast form in the UK. I was a fan of shows like Brilliant Idiots in the US and wanted to create something of our own. We are fans of conversations and fans of the culture, we don’t work in the industry so so we are in a good place to create something from the fans’ perspective. Also, when we started the podcast there weren’t many platforms that showed insights from behind the scene and this is why we wanted to start inviting and interviewing guests. I studied Journalism at University and while we are still finding our way professionally we wanted to start up or own thing.
Mr Vans – As Fols said, we are fans of the scene. I liked watching interviews that have a conversational format so wanted to create something like that. There’s a lot too talk about in the UK scene now so are able to record weekly and have extensive conversations about what’s going on.
What can people expect from OFF THE CUFF?
Mr Vans – There’s no limit or restrictions in what we can say. It’s what people talk about on a day to day basis, there’s no filter and that’s why people can relate to it. We have no rules, even with guests we try to take them out their comfort zone.
Fols – Unfiltered raw and brutally honest conversation. We aren’t boxed into what we can talk about so the conversation can flow. Sometimes you’ll get an insightful conversation with a guest and sometimes it will be a more light-hearted discussion. The Podcast is basically the conversation you might have in the barbershop or group chat, its cheeky sometimes but everyone knows they have those conversations anyway.
Who has been your favourite guest so far and why?
Fols – RS. We didn’t know him before we got him down for the show but he was very honest and engaging. Also, it helped us to come out of our shells, prior to that we hadn’t had too many guests so we were testing our own skills. It showed us where we were at in terms of doing interviews. Kenny AllStar was a great guest too, the conversation was so natural and spontaneous.
Mr Vans – RS was my favourite guest too. I reached out to him as we have a mutual friend and he was really responsive. He was very professional and punctual and down to earth even though he’d just got 300k views on a youtube video!
The two of you are obviously a great team… how have you come to work together so well?
Mr Vans – When you step into a studio environment it takes some getting used to but our chemistry is shining through and we’ve grown over time. At the beginning we weren’t completely sure how to execute our ideas but now we are a lot sharper. Our intros are clean and concise and the dynamic is becoming more seamless. We sometimes have a difference in opinion which makes it more interesting.
Fols – We made sure we listened back and learnt from our previous episodes to improve. Now it’s a lot more natural and its literally just a conversation but it’s recorded. We used to agree on a lot but naturally when you get comfortable you are able to disagree a lot more. We’ve also got better at marketing, we’ve stepped up our branding so it all looks professional.
What are your plans for the future, where do you want to take the podcast?
Fols – Overall we want to work on building the brand. We want to do live recordings of the podcast. All our episodes are are now on itunes so we want to spread our content and build our numbers, analytics are important. Hopefully the podcast will act as a shop window and open doors for other things like hosting musical events.
Mr Vans – We want to solidify the brand, and us as a duo and individuals. We want to sustain our numbers every week. We have joined an affiliate programme with Shear & Shine so there will be more of things like that to come.
Where do you see the UK podcast ‘scene’ going in the future?
Fols – Podcasting is the new radio, we live on our phones so people want to listen to content when they want on platforms like Mixcloud and Soundcloud. Everyone is taking in a lot of visual content. People are taking charge of their content so there will be more networks like the ‘Shoutout’ network.
Mr Vans – It will just continue to grow as the demand is there. People want social commentary and people want to hear what people are saying about particular issues.
What other UK podcasts do you listen to?
Mr Vans – I listen to Tea & Biscuits, Melanin Milleniuls and No Carbs After 7. It’s good to hear other people’s perspectives on issues. I like to listen to a lot of content when I have the time.
Fols – I have to shout out Jukebox recordings, that’s the home and that’s where a lot of people record. In terms of podcasts I have to shoutout Halfcast and 3 Shots of Tequila which are both raw and uncut.
These days a lot of people are juggling their dreams with studies, life and/or a 9 to 5 grind. How do you stay motivated to keep doing OFF THE CUFF?
Mr Vans – It’s not easy to stay consistent but at the same time this is not just a hobby, we take it seriously. There’s been times when we couldn’t record on our regular slot so we’ve rearranged for times late at night knowing we have work early in the morning. One time it was so late that our producer fell asleep! We have ambition and we want to take it to a certain place so we have to keep on pushing. It’s not easy to be consistent but we make sure we record weekly.
Fols – This isn’t a hobby so we just have to make it happen. To keep motivated we have to remember why we are doing it and understand that we need to be punctual and consistent. We have a fanbase so we need to consistently feed them with content.
What advice would you give to people wanting to start up their own podcast?
Fols – Just go out and do it, there’s no reason not to! Have the right people around you and utilise your strengths. Visuals are important so try to use them where you can. Use all the tools and social media outlets available to spread your work.
Mr Vans – Believe in what you are doing. Believe in where you can take it. Without belief there’s no point, there will be no enthusiasm or no love put into your product which will show. The belief brings confidence which is important.
Make sure you check out OFF THE CUFF, every Thursday on itunes and Soundcloud.