A Q&A about me, conducted by me.
So back to iainsights then is it?
What prompted that decision?
New year, old me!
Does that mean a change to the content?
Nah not really. I’m still going to be me talking about music I love, but also 2021 is going to be about me focusing more on my writing so I might use it as a little pocket for that.
I think it’s important for newcomers to this site to understand what its purpose is. Can you explain that a little?
This website exists purely and fundamentally to showcase new music. It looks at new music releases and cherry picks the best ones. That’s pretty much the whole thing.
And why should anyone listen to your recommendations?
A fair question – I am only one infallible music lover with subjective tastes after all. My thinking is that everyone discovers music in one way or another, and a lot of people don’t want to do the legwork, so in a way I’m doing it for them. Sure, my tastes are specific and favour certain genres and artists at times, but I listen to a lot of new music every single week and I like to think my taste is fairly general and commercially oriented. I try to create a mix of names people might not know with recognisable headliners.
There’s just so much new music out there – where do you find it, how do you narrow down recommendations?
I’ve struggled with the exact format of posts for a little while. First of all I would skim through all the major new-music-friday playlists an compile anywhere between 30-60 songs that sounded like they might be worth a deeper dive and I would write about them all. That was just messy and I ended up criticising loads of songs I’d only heard once, if even that. So I decided to cut it back to the songs I actually liked. I always aim for ten new songs a week – and there is always at least ten pretty good songs every week that I would playlist.
I noticed you’ve shifted from doing weekly roundups to monthly Top 20s. Why is that?
It’s pretty tiring to spend your weekends pouring through songs to pick the best ones and come up with interesting things to say about them. I’ve been doing it for so long I just felt like I needed to give my mind a break to think about something else. I still make playlists of the best weekly songs to inform the monthly Top 20.
Do you find it difficult to rank the Top 20 every month?
The ranking is more for clicks if I’m honest. My general standpoint is that individual songs shouldn’t really be pitted against each other. It feels too political. Songs all exist for very different purposes and trying to shoehorn in reasons why a pop banger is better than an acoustic ballad is comparing bicycles and caravans. So when I choose the Top 20 it’s really a case of how do I feel in that moment, and a week later I will think ‘why was that at 18 when it was the best one of all’. I try to include a disclaimer that I love every single song that makes those lists.
What are your ambitions for this website?
First of all, for people to think of it as a website rather than a ‘blog’. Other than that, I’d love one day to expand it and bring people in to write about music they love. I’ve got a ton of ideas templated and detailed that could be easily implemented but I’m too burned out for that at the moment, and it’s not like this makes me any money so I don’t really have a budget to bring in other voices. Hopefully in the future that will all be a possibility.